to develop a female voice
part 3 - techniques
Men tend to speak in a flat-footed or monotone way, not varying their tone much, saying as much as they can in one breath. Women modulate, or vary their tone, more. In other words, their pitch will go up and down during a sentence. For example, a woman would say: "Oh, my dear [pitch up]. How are you-u?" [pitch down]. Men have larger lungs and can speak longer without taking a breath, whereas women have less breath capacity and tend to take more breathes when speaking. Practice this by reading something and every time you see a comma take a breath.
Try it with the following sentence, taking a short breath at every comma: "I went to the store and bought lipstick, eye shadow, blush, and mascara."
Men and women pronounce words differently. The main differences are women often pronounce one syllable words as two and sometimes their voices go up at the end of sentences, like asking a question. For example, a man would say: "I'm going out the back door," whereas a woman would say: "I'm going out the back door-or." The classic female greeting of "hi-eee!" is another example.
A good way of practicing this is to speak in a Southern accent. If you saw the movie Tootsie (If you haven't, I recommend it as Dustin Hoffman did a good job of imitating a woman's voice), you may remember when Mr. Hoffman was Tootsie she spoke with a Southern accent and didn't when he was a man. That's because a Southern accent is one of the easiest to speak in a feminine voice. I suspect Mr. Hoffman's voice coach used the Southern accent as a training method.
People from the South pronounce one syllable words as two. For example, "bray-yed" instead of "bread." And the Southern drawl gives your voice a natural feminine quality. If you don't know how to do a Southern accent, rent a movie with a female lead who speaks with a Southern accent (e.g. Fried Green Tomatoes) and imitate her.
Not like a snake! When women talk they make a hissing sound when they say words with the letter 'S' in them. You can do this by putting your tongue at the roof of your mouth just behind your front teeth. It's like talking with a lisp.
Those are the basic mechanics of a female voice! Keep recording and critiquing your voice. The worst time to practice is in the morning after you've just gotten up. Your throat muscles are relaxed and this tends to put your resonance into the lower vocal cords and chest. A good time to practice is when you're excited about something, after a good day. Your voice sounds naturally livelier when you're enthusiastic.
When you think to yourself, think in your female voice.
Spend at least 10-15 minutes a day practicing by recording, listening to and critiquing your voice. Don't just listen to your voice (without recording) and think you'll sound fine. You'll miss things. Listening to how others hear you is essential. Sometimes it boils down to just one phrase, or word, that needs improvement.
It's exciting to hear a woman's voice and knowing it's you!
Copyright © 1999 - 2011 Tara M. Taylor