Learner Reflection & Practice
Concentrating on vocal production is individual. Using the voice to communicate ideas, to be heard, and to put meaning to feelings or concepts can be complex. Improving your Vocal Production or preparing your voice for a public presentation begins before the day of the presentation. The first step is to consider your voice and the voices of others.
Take a moment to think about how you listen when others speak. Does the quality, pitch, modulation or articulation of a particular voice affect your listening? Describe what you value in a good speaking voice?
Reflect upon how often you use your voice during the day. What are the demands on your voice? How would you describe your own voice? Observe your vocal placement and pitch preferences. Do you modulate using a variety of pitch changes or a limited range of pitch changes? Observe the different ways that you use your voice throughout the day. Do you swallow your words? Are you quiet or loud? Do you use soft palate focus? Take a few moments to vocalize and observe if you can feel vibrations. Is your voice resonating? And if so, from where in your body?
There is so much happening when we vocalize. Take the time to become aware of your voice and the impact vocalizing has on those around you and on you, yourself.
If you are on the phone or on a virtual platform throughout your day, what do you notice about the vocal production of those you speak with? How does your own vocal production adjust from speaking to people in-person, to speaking into the phone, to speaking in front of a device while there is also a camera transmitting your image? In a climate of texting with one another, how does the general decrease in daily vocalization impact your vocal capacity?
After all of this consideration, you can now begin to support your voice with exercises to build and improve vocal production. As you work the vocal exercises and begin to integrate the vocal practice into your everyday interactions, you will gain vocal confidence. Putting a purposefully placed voice forward to voice your communications and articulating clearly makes all the difference in a presentation. If you speak more than one language, you will recognize a difference in your vocal placement as you emphasize articulating with your lips when speaking English.
1. Practice the Tongue Twisters below daily.
Twenty Two Tulips Twix The Twill
Red Leather, Yellow Leather, Yellow Leather, Red Leather
Red Rugged Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers
You Need New York, Unique New York, You Know You Need Unique New York
Theopholus Thistle The Successful Thistle Sifter, In Sifting a Sieve Full Of Unsifted Thistles,
Thrust Three Thousand Thistles Through The Thick Of His Thumb
Which tongue twister is the most challenging? Practice that particular tongue twister daily.
After a few days, do you notice a difference in your articulation?
2. For this exercise, choose about 20 to 30 seconds of personal experience material or a topic that you know well and could easily present on. You can also use the introduction material you wrote down from the previous section.
Before each sentence or idea, find soft palate placement with the “Hung Ah” exercise and after vocalizing to the ‘Ahh’ then shift to speaking.
It might look something like this:
“Hung Ahhhh” Good Morning. My name is Kathryn Kellner.
“Hung Ahhhh” I am a communication strategist. “Hung Ahhhh” That’s a fancy way of saying I teach presentation skills.
It will feel mechanical and will require concentration. This exercise reenforces the soft palate placement pattern in speaking. It is the integration of the soft palate vocal placement into your communication that is important.
3. Recall the open mouth HUM exercise from the Vocal Placement Video. Use this vocal exercise to generate vibration. Start with the Hung and sustain a hum and drop your pitch and open up the soft palate with the Ahh. Put your hand on your sternum and upper chest to feel the chest vibration. You can play around with pitch and open into the Ahh. Notice high pitched tones vibrate more in your head and nasal cavities.
When you exercise your voice regularly, you expand your vocal capacity and set yourself up to be ready for vocalizing and articulating clearly for public or virtual presentations.