MTF Voice Training
MTF voice training, often referred to as voice feminization therapy, is voice coaching for those wishing to develop a more feminine voice. We work with predominantly transgender clients (and some cis clients too), be they trans women wishing to develop a purely female voice, trans people of other identities wanting a more feminine voice than they currently have, and even voice over artists that wish to play both male and female characters!
Do female hormones change the voice? Does estrogen make my voice higher? These are questions we hear fairly often. The short answer is no – estrogen will not reduce the size of the voice box or shorten the vocal folds. Female hormones may influence feeling and behavior, however, and this may have a modest positive impact on voice feminization therapy. That being said, voice training is still ultimately necessary to achieve a fully feminine voice that most trans feminine people will be happy with.
How long does MTF voice training take? It depends on the person and their goals, but typically we see trans people achieve a voice that they are happy with in 3-6 months.
We use a fusion of techniques in our voice training: techniques developed by speech language pathologists such as Kathe Perez, voice training techniques from classical singing, Alexander Technique, and exercise science. During voice feminization training, our instructors will work with you on these elements:
1. Higher pitch in the feminine range
For adult feminine voices, that is pitch in the E3-C4 range (you can check these pitches on a virtual keyboard like this one). To produce a higher pitch consistently, the vocal folds must learn how to stretch longer and do so frequently – our approach is slow and gradual, which minimizes fatigue on the vocal folds.
2. Raising the voice box and narrowing the throat
A feminine vocal tract creates a softer sound. Over time, you can sustain this softer, brighter sound as your new norm. There are many approaches to how to achieve this in voice therapy/voice training, what’s important is finding what works best for you.
3. Greater pitch fluctuation
A sing song voice quality, which is also known as prosody. Feminine voices tend to have greater pitch variation, which greatly influences how your voice sounds. With the right voice feminization exercises it’s possible to master this quality.
4. Longer, brighter vowels
Speaking your vowels with more emphasis will produce resonance in the head and less in the chest. This sound will help you be understood when your voice no longer has the chest resonance, after a MTF voice transition.
5. Softer consonants
Trans women can create smoother connections between words and sentences for a more feminine sound. Feminine voices convey ideas and sentences smoothly, and softening your consonants will help develop this.
6. Projection with your new feminine voice
Projection means yelling, singing, speaking over other sounds or background noise. With the resonance now being more in your head and less in your chest, it’s important to know how to project without straining or reverting back to your former voice. With the right voice feminization exercises, this can be done! For transgender women wanting a purely female voice, this is very important to master.
7. Laughing, sneezing, coughing, etc.
The finishing touches on MTF voice training. Relearning how to laugh, sneeze, cough, or cry while maintaining your new resonance can be a daunting task. With the proper feminine voice exercises, it is possible to retrain these sounds more feminine – and we are happy to help!