A couple of my voice pupils who come from Bangkok have all got something in common… the withheld tone. You would wonder where this came from, right? Well, as I trained these pupils and continually assessed their progress, I realized their voices were particularly difficult to re-balance. And so I sat down with one of my students to dig up some voice history on them, and my findings are what have inspired this article. If you live in a large and noisy city, beware of what it can do to your voice.
My student describes the sound of Bangkok as being a constant, never-ending hum, no-matter what time of day it was, and as she was growing up in this noisy, vibrant city she began to develop a safety mechanism to cushion the blow when she spoke above the noise. The result over time was a shrilly withheld tone that was completely disconnected from her true voice, in that her vocal posture was not the same as it should be when you’re speaking comfortably. To give you an idea as to how this kind of safety mechanism kicks in, assuming you are an adult, try to speak like a child cartoon character and I’m sure you’ll get the picture. And while you’re at it, notice how with this affected tone, as it were, you will experience no pain or strain in your larynx. So this is how eventually, one’s voice is altered from what it should be, to that which comes to the fore to help you cope with talking above the noise without straining the voice. But hey, you seriously cannot sing with this voice!
And hence, the greatest challenge with re-balancing the voice is in trying to get the subject to do the vocal exercises in their chest voice upward. The voice is so far gone due to the way it has been used incorrectly over the years–AND from a very tender age–that the process of re-learning takes a heck of a lot longer than the average person. And so if you come from a busy metropolis that never sleeps, and you’re experiencing similar issues with your voice, now you know what possibly went wrong and hopefully, you’ll be better informed to take the necessary steps to correcting your voice–like hiring a vocal coach! Once you begin to work with a professional tutor, you’ll realize a significant improvement in your voice.