Some years ago in reading a book on voice therapy, I was stunned by the writer’s assessment that most people speak too low in pitch – pitch is the highness or lowness of sound – not the volume which is the loudness or softness of sound. Having worked with thousands of voices, I have found the exact opposite to be true.
Why were that writer’s views so different from mine? Those who work in voice or speech therapy are dealing with people who have voice disorders and are experiencing difficulty in phonation, the production of voiced sound. Their problems may be the result of physical damage to the vocal folds (cords) or may be psychological in nature.
When physical damage occurs to the vocal folds, often the result is the lowering of the pitch of the voice. Self-trained DJ’s and others in the media are those who sometimes try to lower their pitch to sound more authoritative and, over time, can actually damage the voice. Remember the Ted Knight character on the Mary Tyler Moore show? Every time he would go on air, he would drop his chin in order to speak in his lower voice. If your chin is touching your chest in order to produce a deep sound, then you are definitely talking too low in pitch.
Singers and those who speak with a great deal of volume or who use the voice heavily for great lengths of time can also severely damage their vocal instrument. Hillary Clinton is a perfect example of the latter. Because of this damage, the Secretary of State can no longer increase her volume easily (if at all), which in truth is a blessing. Her former voice was loud, annoying and higher in pitch. Had she had training prior to her campaign run, she could have avoided the damage.
Whereas speech therapists are dealing with patients, my clientele are those who, in most cases, have no physical problems producing sound – normal, everyday people who would like to find their ‘real’ voice.
If you are interested in finding your ‘real’ voice, your pitch will probably drop to some degree because one of the goals of voice training is to identify your optimum pitch. It may be a mere ½ step or it could be several steps as it was in my case. Once the pitch drops, you will feel vibrations in your mid-torso region when you speak. Two good examples of those who speak within their optimum range are James Earl Jones and Diane Sawyer. If Mr. Jones were to talk to you in the same room, you would actually feel the vibrations from his voice in your own chest because of the tremendous depth and power of his voice.
Could you be the next James Earl Jones or Diane Sawyer? It is quite possible. You have the ability to experience a deeper, richer resonant voice that will vibrate once you allow your chest to power or amplify your sound. In addition, your voice will sound warm. That is the one identifying characteristic of all voices that are powered by the chest.
Imagine sounding more mature – not too old and not too young – ageless, and having the ability to increase your volume without shouting. The latter is only possible, however, if you are speaking within your optimum range.
If you would like to discover your ‘real’ voice, stay away from the therapists and work with a voice coach who understands proper voice placement.
The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels offers private, corporate and group workshops in voice and presentation skills as well as Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement. Visit Voice Dynamic and watch Nancy as she describes Your Least Developed Tool!