Transgender Voice Modification
Recently a trans woman client presented for voice feminisation. The initial assessment had similar elements to the thousands of other initial assessments I have carried out with trans women. This first session always contains my initial two exercises. I want clients – some of whom have often travelled considerable distances to access the service- to take away something tangible and practical.
And so it was that client E attended for her first appointment – an initial assessment and her first follow-up session on the same day (equal to 1 hour and 40 minutes in total). I made the baseline recordings as usual prior to practising the first exercises. Two weeks later, she attended for her first follow up. She progressed through the next exercises very well. There was a remarkable change. Whilst I’ve worked with a very many clients who’ve made remarkable changes, the difference with this client was the speed at which she achieved the voice change. Typically, trans gender voice changes take a little time. I decided to record her again during her second appointment (I was very glad I did because she cancelled her third). Client E wrote to say that she had been using the voice we had practiced all over the Christmas holidays and liked it very much and that she had experienced no adverse comments from friends and family. She thanked me very much for my input and said she didn’t feel she needed her next appointment.
The following two recordings demonstrate how far her voice changed from the initial appointment to her second:
It is not uncommon for some clients to successfully modify their voice within 4- 8 sessions. It is more common for the process to take at least 10-12 – some individuals may attend for more than 12 sessions. It very often depends on the clients level of social transition and confidence levels. The therapist adjusts to each and every client according to their needs.
Why then did client E modify her voice with just 2 extended length appointments (1hr and 40 minutes each)?
Primarily, it was because she had no resistance to the process or the exercises. She was able to override the natural initial inhibitions most clients have to adopting a different sound. In addition, she had already made her social transition and was living as a female.
“Those who make the quickest changes tend to be those who can work though the process with the least resistance. It is a rare ability.”
Following a treatment model that makes a person step out of their comfort zone takes courage. I’m confident that my treatment model works and I have a good deal of experience teaching it and in gathering ‘before and after’ voice sample outcomes as evidence. However, those who make the quickest changes tend to be those who can work though the process with the least resistance. It is a rare ability.
We are all inhibited by self consciousness in one way or another when we learn something new. The degree and speed which we can overcome these inhibitions can dramatically speed up our progress, not least in matters of voice change.