The Newsletter
 March 1st, 2008                                                                  Find your natural dynamic speaking voice and maintain it!
Vocal Tip of the Month!
Find your natural dynamic speaking voice on a laugh!  Yes, you read right. Laughing is not only known for its health benefits.  It is also beneficial to your voice.  Laughing naturally places the resonance of your voice right where they belong in the front of your face.  It engages your support and helps you relax.  Let your laughter guide you towards finding your healthy voice.  Try the following exercise:

Step 1
1) Stand up straight.
2) Breathe deeply.
3) Pretend to laugh as naturally as possible on the vowel "a" as in ah, ah, ah!  If this is difficult, you can also try to mimic Santa Claus' laugh on "o" as in ho, ho, ho!
4) Listen carefully to the sound of your voice and try to feel where the sound places itself.  Hopefully, you will feel something happening around your nose and cheek area; all around your sinuses for this matter.  The voice should be placed in the mask as discussed in the last February newsletter.  Laughing also engages your diaphragm and encourages correct support and breath management.
5) Breathe in and laugh again!

Step 2
1) Continue to stand and breathe deeply!
2) Now, say numbers from 1 to 10 between your simulated laughter.  For example, ah, ah, ah, "1", pause, ah, ah, ah, "2", pause, ah, ah, ah, "3", pause, etc...  

Step 3
1) Still standing up, take another big breath.
2) Count from 1 to 10 without pretending to laugh beforehand.  Maintain your resonance forward around your nose and cheeks.  

Remember: you only have one set of vocal cords and consequently only one voice.  The speaking voice and the laughing voice are the same.  Try to speak focusing your voice the same way you would laughing and it will project itself more easily without straining.  Good luck!
Interesting Facts

The human voice is one of the smallest instruments on earth but it amazes by its versatility and power.  It vibrates approximately 261 times per second to create (in conjuncton with the rest of the vocal box) a panoply of sounds like no other conventional music instrument.  Have you ever wondered what the vocal cords in action look like?  

   

Click on the links below to listen to some remarkable vocal prowess:

a)
Jaime Vendera breaks glass with his voice alone on Mythbusters.
b) Yodeling*
c) Tibetan voice harmonics**

d) Adam Lopez world record holder sings a C# above the piano keys.
e) Andre-Philippe Gagnon: a world-renowned impressionist and comedian

*http://www.yodelcourse.com/level10/level10.html
**http://www.healingvoices.net/music.html
What's Happening?
As some of you might already be aware, I started to write a book specifically to help teachers find and maintain their natural dynamic speaking voice last summer.   I'm happy to report that the writing process is almost over and I have already started editing.  I'd like to thank Meagan Ruszyk who has recently accepted to work with me on this project.  

In the last few months, I have met several singers that have also shown interest in my website and voice strategies.  Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to welcome them all to the discussion even though the newsletter is primarily addressed to teachers.  Singers: take what you can from this newsletter and sing your heart out!  

Please continue to e-mail me your feedback.  I enjoy reading your thoughts and answer your questions!
Relevant Links

Voice Yourself in the Classroom

Valerie Bastien

The Voice Connection
Inspiring Quotes and Stories...
To keep with the theme this month, I'll try to make you laugh with this video of myself singing opera with my late dog Neptune.  We had a special connection; I loved to sing opera and he loved to howl to accompany me.  This video is about 10 years old and he was only a puppy then.  Before you ask, I'd like to specify that he always shook his tail with excitement and sported a happy expression while doing this with me.  Everthing seemed to indicate that he enjoyed howling while I was singing and that I wasn't hurting his ears!!  

Me and my dog "singing"!

Enjoy!

Things to Note
If you like what I do, please do not hesitate to share your thoughts and feedback with me by signing my online Guest Book! You can also contact me directly at:

voiceyourselfintheclassroom@gmail.com

Have a wonderful month!

-Valerie Bastien