Over my years as a broadcast voice specialist, I’ve been asked one question repeatedly: Can you really fix this voice problem? Clients have asked it. News directors have asked it. Parents have asked it. My response in almost 99% of the cases has been, yes. Here’s why.
Voice is an imitated act that we learn from our parents, family, classmates, and others. If there is no physiological problem that affects speech such as a cleft palate, stroke, neurological disease, I, or another speech specialist, can usually help.
The first step is always to diagnose the problem. Some voice problems are harder to fix. This continuum from my ebook, BROADCAST VOICE HANDBOOK, charts how I perceive the level of difficulty.
You’ll notice that “dropped ending consonants” is the easiest issue to improve. In fact, a person can usually improve these without a coach. Here’s a link to help with this.
But what about the tough problems? Let’s take a glottal fry, which is the last thing on the hard end of the continuum. Can it be fixed?
I recently viewed a before and after video sent to me by Dave Cupp. This video was made at the end of his semester teaching a class in broadcast voice. It’s nothing less than amazing! This is especially true because this young lady improved in a classroom setting where she was not getting much one-on-one coaching. (Having taught voice and diction in college, I can tell you that with more than fifteen students, personal coaching is impossible.) Nonetheless, she was able to make this marked improvement. Hear it yourself by clicking on the video at the bottom of this post.
Glottal fry is a challenge to correct, but with the right instruction and perseverance, it can be improved. To learn some techniques to use, click here.
So if you’re struggling with a vocal problem or wondering what can be corrected, remember that with work almost every problem has a solution.