Zoom into 2021: A Voice Warm Up for Virtual Communication

A sneaky shot of my hubby on a Zoom call. Aren’t we all secretly working in PJs these days?

Happy New Year! More than ever before, you might be feeling like you need a refresher as we say ‘bye’ to 2020 and try to embrace 2021. We have reason to be hopeful that we will be back communicating in person regularly soon, but because we are starting off 2021 largely virtual, we’ve got your back. This warm up is designed to help you release and prepare the body, breath and voice for virtual communication.

Long periods of virtual communication can lead to a lot of tension in the body and voice, because sitting all day and talking into a computer is not how our bodies were meant to communicate— it can lead to hunched shoulders, tight neck, tight bellies, squeezed throats. It’s important to remember that even when we are communicating virtually, communication is still a full body action. The more at ease you are, the stronger and more at ease your voice is and the easier it is to communicate. We’ve talked through tips that can help in a previous episode— ‘Cause we are living in a virtual world’. Feel free to reference that. This warm up is a practical sequence that will complement those tips. 

You can also find this episode on iTunes, Spotify, AmazonMusic, Google Podcasts or Stitcher by searching for ‘BeSpoke Speaks’.

Let us know how you find it! 

Can I make you sound “Butch”?

Hi Friends,

For our last post of the year, we thought we’d tackle a fun, juicy topic that came out of a question from you: Can I, as a voice coach, make you sound “butch?”

This is a pretty complex topic that I could talk much more about– but in this video I touch briefly on what it means to be “butch” as the dictionary defines it and some cultural associations for how the voice sounds when your voice is “butch”. One such association is a deeper voice, and I talk about how you can find that deeper sound authentically and without force. 

If you want to dive deeper on this issue, we have an episode called “Man Up: How does trying to sound Masculine Affect Your Voice?” You can also find that episode in downloadable podcast form by searching for ‘BeSpoke Speaks’ on iTunes, Amazon Music, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Buzzsprout or Stitcher.

You can also watch this video directly on YouTube, and as an end-of-year present to us, please consider subscribing to our YouTube channel and sharing with anyone you think might find this interesting or valuable. Supporting these free avenues helps us continue to create free and accessible content for everyone.

If you have any questions you’d like answered, comment below or contact us on bespoke.comcontact@gmail.com and your question may be featured on a future video or podcast.

If you’re watching this in real time, we’re wishing you a very happy new year, and very much looking forward to the arrival of 2021!

Take good care,

Christine

Tips for Chronic Jaw Tension

Hi Friends,

In this video, I talk about reasons why you might be experiencing chronic jaw tension. This is a tricky area of the body that can get tense for all sorts of physical and psychological reasons. I also talk through some tips for how to alleviate jaw tension. If you want more information, we also have a BeSpoke Speaks podcast episode, ‘Our Jaws, Ourselves’, which you can find here or on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon Music, Google Podcasts or BuzzSprout by searching for ‘BeSpoke Speaks’.

You can also watch or share this video on YouTube. Please share with anyone you think might be interested and as a Christmas present to us, consider subscribing to the channel to help support us in generating free and accessible content!

We’d love to know what you think.

Take good care,

Christine

Accent Adaptability: The How

Hey Friends,

This video is the Part 2 of two videos aimed to answer the question: How do I keep my own accent when I am surrounded by foreign speakers? In the first video, which you can find on this website or on my YouTube channel, I talked about why your accent changes when you’re around people who sound different than you. In this video, I talk about one of many ways you can stay grounded in your own accent if you don’t want it to change. 

This is a highly complex topic so this is only one of many possible solutions to this question. Feel free to be in touch if are curious about your oral posture or want more information.

Take good care,

Christine

BeSpoke Goes on YouTube!

Hey Friends,

In case you haven’t noticed, Christine now has a YouTube Channel, where she answers questions that come up frequently with clients or that have been directly sent to her through this site or on Instagram. If you’d like to subscribe directly and interact more with us via video, you can do so here.

Please share with all of your friends (and enemies!). We appreciate your support as we continue to grow and endeavor to offer accessible content to our students, clients and peers.

Feel free to also send us questions that are coming up for you. They may be featured on either a future podcast or video!

Take good care,

Christine

Accent Adaptability: The Why

Hi Friends,

This video is the first part of two videos aimed to answer the question: how do I keep my own accent when I am surrounded by foreign speakers? Before we talk about the how, we look at the why– why does your accent change when you’re around people who sound different from you in the first place? It all comes down to human adaptability, but stay tuned for Part 2 if you’d like to stay grounded in your own accent.

Does this sound like your own experience? Let us know what questions this brings up for you.

Take good care!

Avoiding Masked-Up Vocal Fatigue

In this video, I answer a question I got recently from a teacher about how to avoid vocal fatigue when talking in a mask all day. This info is useful for teachers but also for anyone who has to talk for long periods while masked.

At some point, the audio becomes slightly disconnected from the video. Still worth the watch– as the tips are good! Bear with me as we move into more video formats– it’s a steep learning curve!

Let us know what you think and take good care!

30-Minute Mind/Body/Voice Warm-Up

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Hi Friends,

Here is a guided warm up that explores mindfulness, releasing physical tensions and connecting to your breath and voice. 

This warm up came out of our 3 last episodes, where we’ve been talking about what mindfulness, breathing and extraneous physical tensions have to do with  the voice. Those episodes were the what and why, and this warm up explores the how: how can a practice that includes mindfulness, letting go of extraneous physical tension, and connecting to your breath help your voice feel more powerful and connected? 

We don’t do a lot of resonance, range or articulation work in this warm up, as it’s more about initial vocal connection from a mindful place of ease, so if you’re wanting more of that post-warm up, feel free to continue on from where we leave off, because the warm up here will set you up nicely for that work. If you’re lost as to what to do, check out some of our other warm ups.  “Good Vibrations” is great for resonance. “Sustained Articulation Power Up” is great for articulation. But there are many more as well, so have a look and see what sounds good.

For this warm up, wear some comfy clothing and have a space on the floor you can lie down (and a mat if you like). Give yourself some privacy so you can make sound confidently. 

The exercises in this warm up are inspired by Organic Intelligence® and Fitzmaurice Voicework®. 

Let us know how it goes!

Take good care,

Christine & Lindsay

 

Let’s get Physical(ly released)

physical tensions post
Picture from http://www.onhealth.com

Hi Friends,

How does excess physical tension in the body impact the voice?

Or, in other words:

What’s the relationship between the tension you have going on in your body and the sound of your voice?

Your voice gets made in your body, thanks to your breath. How you’re using your body impacts how easily you’re breathing, which impacts how easily you’re speaking.

Having some tension in the body is necessary for you to be upright and moving around in the world, but we’re talking about excess tension— tension you don’t need and that’s just making your life and your job (whatever it is in the moment at hand) harder than it needs to be. If you’ve got excess tension anywhere in the body, it’s going to impact how you’re breathing, as well as how you sound. A tense body= a tense sounding voice. This is why we can tell someone is tense just by listening to them!

In this episode, We explore:

  • a tensing vs. releasing body scan to explore the relationship between tension and breathing
  • exercises to explore extreme tension in the body and how it affects the way you sound
  • exercises to explore low-level tension in the body and how it affects the way you sound

The good news is: there are a lot of exercises you can do to relieve excess tension in your body— even starting with mindfulness exercises that make you feel more relaxed (remember that connection between mindfulness and voicing we talked about a few episode back?). AND— these exercises feel good! So you’ll want to do them often.  There are many warm ups on this website (and in podcast form by searching for ‘BeSpoke Speaks’) that help you relieve excess tensions, so start by culling through old episodes. We will also be creating more!

You can also find this episode in downloadable podcast form by searching for ‘BeSpoke Speaks’ on iTunes, Spotify, GooglePodcasts, Buzzsprout or Stitcher.

Happy voicing!

Christine & Lindsay

ps. If you’re curious about a more thorough anatomical explanation of how the voice works, listen to our ‘Breath Support Part 1’ and ‘Breath Support Part 2′ episodes.

 

Mind your Voice: The link between Mindfulness and Voice Coaching

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Hey Friends,

This episode addresses the question: What is the link between voice coaching and mindfulness? Have you ever heard of that word– mindfulness? We bet you have— mindfulness is pretty hot right now, and has been for awhile. Mindfulness, boiled down to its essence, is being in the here and now. There are many strategies and practices for becoming more mindful, and they are all grouped into this movement called “Mindfulness”. So why would that be relevant at all in voice and communication coaching?

Themes that come up in the episode are:

  • the link between typical issues we work on with clients and mindfulness.
  • the effect mindfulness has on the body, breath and voice
  • a chance to practice a mindfulness exercise and notice how it affects you
  • how much easier working on body language, breathing and vocal communication are when you start from a place of mindfulness

We’re so used to thinking about the mind as something separate from the rest of the body, but as research is showing more and more, there is no mind-body split. We are one organism. This is why we at BeSpoke Communication believe in a holistic approach to communication training that includes mind/body/breath/voice. Because if you are feeling more present and at ease, what a great place to communicate from! You can find tons of warm ups and practices on this website that include mindfulness and you can also contact us if you’d like more personal training.

You can also find this episode in podcast form by searching for ‘BeSpoke Speaks’ on iTunes, Spotify, Buzzsprout, GooglePodcasts and Stitcher.

We’d love to answer more questions about this if you have them. And we’d love to hear how you find mindfulness to be helpful generally and also in your communication, or if it’s something you struggle with, tell us why and maybe we can create some content that helps address those struggles.

Take good care,

Christine & Lindsay