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Keeping your accent while doing voice training

Originally shared as a twitter thread.

First, what is it that makes your accent your accent?

Accent isn’t just about the shape of the words, it can also be to do with other vocal elements eg: pitch, inflections, breath, resonance, speech pattern.

(Slight side note: I am currently planning an online workshop about the different vocal elements you can play around with and how they interact with each other – let me know if you’re interested!)

Second, what is it about your voice that you want to change?

I know a lot of people go into voice training thinking they just want to sound more feminine or masculine or androgynous, which I completely understand, but what does that mean/sound like to you?

I believe there’s two points of view worth thinking about for voice training.

1. What you want for yourself

2. What you feel you need for other people (there’s sub categories here too, eg: close friends, strangers)*

Sometimes these are the same. Often they’re not.

*In an ideal world number 2 would be irrelevant. In the current world, I feel there’s a lot of focus on number 2 and not enough acknowledgement of number 1. Additionally, perception of gender is influenced by many things.

So: explore what femme/masc/androg means to you, and if there’s a difference for what you want for you personally and when you’re interacting with other people.

(It’s okay if there is, and it’s okay if there isn’t!)

Once you have this and what it is you like about your accent, then you’ll have a much better starting point for figuring out what vocal elements are the most relevant for you to explore, and be able to notice when something you do changes something you want to keep.

When you’re exploring making changes to one vocal element, often other elements will change as well.

This is because there are certain “settings” within each vocal element that go together more habitually.

What this might mean is that by changing one vocal element, you may find you actually then want to adjust another one in a way you wouldn’t have originally considered.

For example: if you move the pitch of your voice up, the resonance will change to some degree as well.

This could impact your accent, so you may find that you want to explore a darker resonance when using a higher pitch.

Also: we all have habits we have developed over our lives that we don’t even realise we’re doing.

Some of these things might make it harder for you to do certain exercises, so by exploring your voice, you may find that you need to unlearn some of these things too!