Within the transgender voice training community there is a strong focus on training the vocal resonance chambers. Scientific research tells us that shrinking your resonance chambers can create a more feminine voice, while expanding your resonance chambers can create a more masculine voice. Thus, the stress of many training methods is to place the greatest focus on resonance. At Seattle Voice Lab we wholeheartedly agree that resonance is a key component to your training, however, it is not the only element you will need to find a voice that is both unique to you and sustainable to use. At SVL we offer a fully comprehensive program that includes all of the techniques you will need to succeed- many of which are currently unaddressed or unknown in other voice training programs. Our program is not only backed by science, but has already helped 3000+ trans folks to find their true voices.

The instructors of SVL are passionately dedicated to helping you find your voice. In addition, we have another goal that is equally important: we want you to find your voice as soon as possible. We don’t want you to waste valuable time and money on techniques that lead you in circles, or simply don’t get results. Some voice training methods, while well intentioned and founded in scientific theory, may still leave you vocally frustrated because they simply do not cover the full scope of techniques needed for your success. In today’s blog we will discuss diaphragmatic breathing, vocal twang, and volume. Three vital techniques that are often forgotten (or even scoffed at!) in other trans voice programs.

Diaphragmatic breathing for trans female voices

Diaphragmatic breathing is a relaxed breathing technique that uses the diaphragmatic muscles to draw the breath in and expel the breath out, rather than using the neck and shoulders. Proper training of the diaphragm will give students greater control over their breath intake and air pressure, all while keeping the voice relaxed. Some trans voice training programs are staunchly against the training of diaphragmatic breathing because they believe you do not need increased control over your breathing apparatus to change your voice. SVL does not agree, and here’s why:

Feminine voices use more air than masculine voices. That means that in order to successfully feminize your voice you need to find a new way to compress your air. If you are not taught how to support this compression with your diaphragm, then it is very likely that you will employ the muscles of your throat to create this change. Using the muscles of the throat will create tension and will not adequately support your voice. This can easily result in a voice that is unsustainable as well as less feminine in tone.

So why do programs leave out breathing, and why do some trans folks say these programs have worked for them? One strong possibility is that these programs are created by teachers who already have strong backgrounds in singing. Diaphragmatic breathing is taught in nearly every western singing technique, so it is likely that these instructors already know how to instinctively use the diaphragm to support a feminized placement. And, because they themselves did not need to learn diaphragmatic breathing as a new skill to succeed in trans voice, they may not recognize that this breathing isn’t instinctive for untrained voices. In that same way, students who succeed in these programs are likely to have previous training as singers. 

Vocal twang for volume and resonance in trans female voices

Vocal twang is a key concept that is often missed or unknown in voice training programs, however it is key to attaining volume and consistent feminine resonance in your voice. There are two types of twang that will be used at SVL to train your voice: nasal twang, and aryepiglottic twang.

Nasal twang for vocal feminization

At SVL, nasal twang is used as a training component for your feminine resonance. The term is often associated with the bright, “twangy” sound that country singers are famous for, however it’s not only useful for musicians. In speaking, nasal twang can be used to add the bright, sparkly frequencies that are commonly associated with the feminine voice. The twang acts almost like an additional resonance space, enabling you to add a new set of frequencies, and also giving you greater tonal consistency. Achieving tonal consistency means that your voice will be able to maintain its chosen position as you perform different sounds (think of how many different sounds your voice performs in just one sentence of speech!). Without nasal twang, the voice may shift continuously during speech, meaning that your feminine tone may be compromised and your overall effort increased.

Aryepiglottic twang for vocal feminization

At SVL, we use aryepiglottic twang to add volume to your feminine voice. Being able to increase your volume while maintaining your feminine tone is crucial for comfort in the real world, yet surprisingly, many trans voice training programs do not include volume in their curriculum. Aryepiglottic twang creates a constriction in your vocal tract that enables you to produce a high intensity vocal quality with low vocal effort. This means that you’re able to increase your perceived volume without straining your voice or falling down into the chest voice (which could create a more masculine sound). At SVL, we believe this skill is crucial for using your voice effectively in real life scenarios. Afterall, sometimes you might want to be loud! With the proper use of aryepiglottic twang, you’ll be able to order a drink in a noisy bar or even yell in a voice that is affirming to you.

Volume to solidify and stabilize trans female voices

At SVL, volume is not only a valuable element of your vocal expression, but also an essential tool for solidifying and stabilizing your voice. SVL’s feminization training is essentially about learning new skills: you learn to move your vocal mechanism into new postures, and thus you learn to create new sounds. First you are given the freedom to explore and choose what type of feminine sound you like the best. Then, we help you to take your chosen feminine vocal posture and solidify it with volume. This creates two valuable effects: first, it stabilizes your new feminine larynx position. And second, it shows you how to sustain your feminine tone while speaking at a louder volume, which is crucial for success in real world scenarios. In this way, volume acts as the glue for the SVL method, solidifying and stabilizing your chosen feminine voice into a strong, sustainable, and emotionally flexible instrument. SVL’s emphasis on volume is unique. Many well known voice training programs do not use volume as means for laryngeal stabilization or vocal projection.

Why you should never train volume without an instructor

The ability to increase volume correctly is vital for success in the SVL method for trans feminization, however it’s crucial to understand that if this is done too much or incorrectly it can easily lead to vocal tension. Increasing volume, especially in trans masc speakers, must take into account the size and shape of your anatomy. All of us are unique and therefore have different abilities as speakers. Always practice volume under the guidance of an instructor who will be able to ensure your safety.

Start finding your voice today!

Are you ready to see what all the buzz is about? Contact SVL today and join 3000+ trans folks who have found their voices with our method. Click here to connect with our staff, we’d love to hear from you!

Categories: Vocal Feminization