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A letter to a friend regarding voice therapy options

The below information focuses on making one's voice sound more female or feminine.

This said, while most people associate voice lessions with transwomen, many transmen can benefit from them too (as T doesn't expand your larynx, or make your chest bigger - it just thickens your vocal chords) as well as 3rd-gendered people. And certainly bigendered folks!


Here's what I've found.
I have been told the following. It may all be rumour and supposition.

The Transgender Health Care program is being run largely by one man who, as you might infer, is grossly overworked. This probably explains the lack of responses.

Shelagh Davies does not do group private lessons, only group public ones through Three bridges.

I have gone to see Shelagh Davies, and have her guide to voice lessons, which I would be happy to share if you want it, but see below. I recommend her as a voice therapist as she is quick to respond to emails, is a nice person, and makes good use of appointment time.


Here are the options that I would recommend to you:

A. Try to get into the Three Bridges Health "Finding Your Voice Program." Your best option might be to (1) resubmit your application, with a polite query as to if your first one was received, then (2) go to their Thursday night support group and ask about registering for the program.
- Good Outcome - you get free voice lessons
- Bad Outcome - you don't get any voice lessons, but might be able to ask other transwomen for help

and/or

B. Take a look at what you can get for free. There are some guides on the Internet. I think I sent you some links. Shelagh is okay if I give you copies of her voice information. In any case, you should, when you're ready, practice in front of someone now and then.
Good Outcome - you get free voice lessons, and this works well for you
Bad Outcome - you get free voice lessons, but either your witness is not the best judge of voices or you develop habits which a speech therapist would recognize as being bad for your long-term voice-health, and you'll have to re-train to lose them

C. Book an appointment with a voice therapist. There's a link below to the voice therapist index. Click on "Find a Private  Practicioner, then enter your area (Vancouver) and your specialty (Transgender) and go from there. I would recommend Davies, as she got back to me quickly with answers to my questions, and I felt that my time with her was well spent. She was also sympathetic to my desire to not spend oodles of cash, and to try to to cover all the initials in one appointment/assessment ($125 for the first; $90 thereafter).
Good Outcome - you spend a fair chunk of change and get good results
Bad Outcome - you spend a fair chunk of change and get mediocre results

D. Try the "Finding Your Female Voice" program online. I have no idea if it's good, or if it teaches good habits.
Good Outcome - you spend $5-100 and get good results
Bad Outcome - you spend money and get bad results which you later have to unlearn.

With the exception of one technique that moves your larynx (this is dangerous, cause it can interfere with swallowing and breating), voice surgery only adjusts your pitch, which, if you can learn to sing tenor parts, you can do on your own. There is someone in Vancouver who does crycothyroid work, where they tensen up the chords. THis is the best option, but I don't think you'll need it.

In any case, you will need some way of recording and playing back your voice. There are free programs for this with a computer (with which I have no experience) if you can get an old cheap microphone, you should be good. If you have 30 bucks, you can buy a voice recorder, but I suggest getting one with both a mike jack and a headphone jack, as the mike and speakers therein are likely to suck.

Good Luck,

- Sasha

P.S. I am planning a renaming ritual. I can forward you the details if you want 'em.


(voice therapists)
http://www.bcaslpa.bc.ca/index.php

http://www.tgguide.com/female-voice.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Formant
http://www.speech.kth.se/wavesurfer/documentation.html
http://mywebpages.comcast.net/wnor/lesson11.htm
http://www.tsroadmap.com/physical/voice/voice2.html
http://www.cs.cmu.edu/afs/cs.cmu.edu/project/fgdata/OldFiles/Recorder.app/utterances/Type1/harvsents.txt
Tags: services, voice
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