Tools for Trans Voice Training
A Guide To Trans Voice Training
For many trans people, their voice is a big source of gender dysphoria. Thankfully, there are plenty of resources both online and offline that can help one masculinize or feminize their voice. Learn the basics of trans voice training here and get started on your journey!
3 Reasons Why Trans People Do Voice Training
Before we get into the key techniques involved in voice training for FTM/MTF individuals, let’s take a look at some of the main reasons why trans people undergo the process:
Voice Dysphoria Is A Real Thing
Gender dysphoria is characterized as a feeling of distress or discomfort stemming from the mismatch between one’s sex assigned at birth and their gender identity.
For trans women, hormone replacement therapy can do wonders for changing one’s appearance and making one feel more comfortable in their own skin. However, HRT doesn’t affect one’s voice – the voice you have after you undergo puberty is the voice you’ll have even after taking estrogen.
For trans men, HRT can and will masculinize one’s voice to a certain extent. However, men and women are socialized to adopt certain speech patterns and inflection. Trans men may opt to undergo vocal training to adopt a more neutral inflection as well as learn to modulate the volume of their voices.
Voice Feminization Surgery Is Not Guaranteed To Succeed
Voice surgery can help feminize or masculinize one’s voice, but it’s a high-risk procedure that produces varied outcomes.
Voice feminization surgery involves shortening one’s vocal cords and narrowing the airway to produce a higher and breathier sound. This can leave patients at risk of experiencing difficulty breathing and developing throat infections.
Voice masculinization surgery, on the other hand, can lead to infections, bleeding, and the inability to reach high notes from the upper register – something that vocal artists and singers may struggle to adjust to.
Vocal surgery is also quite expensive, costing anywhere from $6,000 to $15,000. Vocal training is often considered an alternative by those who don’t have the means or desire to undergo surgery.
Voice Training Can Help Ease The Anxiety Of Being Outed As Trans
Personal safety is a major concern for transgender people, who face higher incidences of stigma, discrimination, and violence compared to their peers. As such, many trans people prefer to “pass” as cisgender, especially in unfamiliar situations. Voice feminization training is a great tool for helping trans women blend in and reduce their anxieties of being outed as trans.
Voice Training For Trans Women: How To Sound Like A Girl
MTF voice training involves a series of one-on-one and/or group sessions done with a speech therapist or vocal coach to work. In these sessions, you will work on the following areas:
If you want to learn how to make your voice higher, you have to understand what pitch is. Pitch refers to the “highness” or “lowness” of one’s voice.
Men typically have a lower pitch, clocking in at around 85 to 155 Hz, while women have a higher pitch at around 165 to 255 Hz. Vocal training involves gradually working towards speaking in a higher pitch.
Resonance refers to the “brightness” or “darkness” of one’s voice. It is often regarded as the difference between having a “chest voice” or the voice you typically use when speaking and a “head voice” or the range singers often use when trying to reach higher notes.
Trans women who have experienced male puberty tend to have a larger vocal chamber, which causes them to speak at a lower frequency. With proper training, you can learn to “pull resonance” from your chest to your head by adjusting how you use your mouth and neck muscles when you speak.
Intonation, Breath Control, And Articulation
As mentioned, men and women adopt different speech patterns growing up. Women are expected to speak in a more sing-songy way and tend to articulate their vowels and consonants more clearly. They also tend to speak faster than men. Men, on the other hand, tend to speak slower and more monotonously.
Voice Training For Trans Men: How To Sound Like A Guy
Like MTF vocal training, FTM voice training involves working with a speech pathologist or vocal coach to learn how to make adjustments to their pitch, resonance, and speech patterns. When learning how to make your voice deeper, you study much of the same focus areas as trans women do.
However, FTM voice training exercises differ in some key ways, including:
Breathing And Projection
Diaphragmatic breathing is a technique that involves engaging the abdominal muscles to help trans men project a deeper and more masculine voice. This technique gives you more vocal support and lets you speak more loudly without putting strain on your vocal cords.
This and other similar techniques are important because, when trans men undergo HRT, they may struggle to modulate the volume of their voice as their voice deepens and changes in resonance.
Have you ever noticed how some singers adopt a more upright stance when performing onstage? Posture can make a big impact on one’s voice. By making slight adjustments to your posture – such as straightening your back and pulling your head closer to your chin – you can deepen and strengthen your voice naturally.
The Bottom Line
With enough practice, you’ll be well on your way to achieving a voice that you can feel content and safe in. That said, vocal training is just one tool that trans people can use to ease their dysphoria and affirm their gender identity.
Voice training professionals across Canada