Find your natural
voice and maintain it!
|Vocal Tip of the Month!
|Your Natural Speaking Pitch
One of the most common problem with the speaking voice is to speak on a
pitch that is either too high or too low for you. With the voice
fluctuating back and forth during speech, it is important to find a
comfortable starting point where your larynx can sit in the back of
your throat completely relaxed in a neutral position (where a minimum of
movement is required to manipulate the vocal cords and produce sounds).
To find your natural speaking pitch, close your eyes and imagine
the following scenario in your mind:
You are coming home after a long day at work. As you open the
door, your senses are greeted by the wonderful smell of chocolate chip
cookies (or an apple pie or any other of your favorite treats!)
baking in the oven. Say "Mmmm" aloud with a touch of
surprise in your voice and rub your stomach at the same time!
Say "Mmmm" a second time as you walk towards the kitchen to
investigate what's cooking. In the kitchen, put on your oven
Put down the baking pan on top of the oven
and let the cookies cool down as you say "Mmmm" once more
as you impatiently
await the moment of indulgence. The time has now arrived.
Take the biggest cookie on the plate. Admire how perfectly
it turned out for a second: it has a flawless round shape and a
beautiful appetizing golden tan. Enthusiastically say "Mmmm"
and rub your belly in anticipation. Your mouth is salivating and
you can't resit anymore; take a bite. Wow! This is the
tastiest most delightful chocolate cookie you have ever had: Crispy on the outside and tender in the inside! Explode
in contentment with your loudest "Mmmm" yet! Come on; it's ok to
be a little greedy! Eat it all and take another one as long as you
happily keep saying "Mmmm" to express your appreciation!
|| mitts and pull down the oven
door. Here they are... Those chocolate
cookies look and smell absolutely delicious! Say "Mmmm" and
rub your tummy again! Take those fantastic chocolate chip cookies
out of the oven now; they are ready!
You might, wonder, "What do cookies have anything to do with my voice?"
Well, a lot! The way you said "Mmmm" is the pitch on which
you should speak. Try to be self-aware of what it sounded like
and maintain that level from now on when you speak. It should
neither sound unreasonably high, nor unreasonably low. This pitch
should more or less sit in the middle of your range and it should feel
very comfortable to speak on it.
Well, I hope this vocal tip was useful to you. I gotta take a break from writing now; I'm hungry!
The Adam's Apple
The vocal folds sit in the larynx in a "V" like shape with the wider
part in the back of the neck. They are held by the thyroid
cartilage, which is responsible for applying tension to
articulate the elongation of the vocal folds during sound.
It is composed of two plates that are joined at the midline at an
angle* of 90° in males and 120° in females. That
partially explains the difference in pitch that occurs after puberty as
the body of the larynx grows larger in men.
The prominence of the thyroid cartilage produces a
protrusion often referred to as the Adam's apple. Both men
and women have it, except that it is, of course, not as prominent in women
as it is in men. It got its nickname after the biblical story of Adam, Eve, the Serpent and the Apple
when Adam gave in to temptation and ate the piece of
forbidden apple the serpent tempted him with and the fruit got stuck in
The Adam's apple is helpful to monitor how much effort one puts into
his/her speech. If you see the Adam's apple moving up and down
continuously when you speak, you are probably not relaxing your larynx
enough. There should be minimal movement going on in that area
of the neck when you speak.
*Vocal Parts. Blue Tree Publishing Inc.
|Report Card Time!
I haven't been really good with posting my newsletters on time, that is
on the first of each month lately... I apologize. I just
got Internet connected at home again and my computer is almost fixed so
hopefully this won't happen anymore. Maintaining my website and
writing my newsletters from the public library has been quite
challenging I have to say! Report cards have also kept me pretty
busy this month as it probably kept you busy too. So happy report
card time everyone! Let your students shine and be proud.
Then, you can fully enjoy your spring break! Have fun!
Yourself in the Classroom
|Inspiring Quotes and Stories...
For our last Ontario Federation Day, I attended a workshop on
humanitarism and viewed the movie "Triage" about the Rwanda Genocide
based on the intervention of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Dr.
James Orbinski, head of "Médecins Sans Frontières"
(Doctors Without Borders). It was disturbing to see how many
entire people, the Tutsi, have had to endure to become nearly
completely wiped out because of ethnic beliefs. It was a very sad
and poignant movie.
After the viewing, Dr. Orbinski spoke to the audience about his
visions. In his speech, he said:
"To preserve your dignity, treat your enemies with dignity." That
touched me because it takes a lot of courage and selflessness
to do what he does and this is something I want to aspire to. The next
day, I brought this idea into my classroom. Peace starts in everyone's life with simple gestures and I hope to
teach my students the value of not lowering yourself to someone else's
stupidity. That is how I feel we can all make a difference.
As everybody was leaving the theater, I walked to Dr. Orbinsky and
introduced myself. In his eyes, I
saw the satisfaction of being able to help thousands
and women with their most basic needs and the dispicable
he witnessed in doing so. I thanked him for being such an
exceptional human being and for his work. He signed my copy of his book An Imperfect Offering,*
on which the movie is based, and I told him I would talk to my kids and
colleagues about him. I shook his hand but I wanted to give him a
hug so badly: I thought this man needed a hug and it haunted me for the
rest of the day... So instead, I'm taking this opportunity to say
thank you again for your kindness. You truly touched my life on that
Friday morning and I hope to meet you again and make it up to you!
In the meantime, can we please all have a virtual group hug now?!
*An Imperfect Offering by Dr. James Orbinski; buy it here