This post is for my friend, Mike, in honor of his retirement last week:
I love it when a pearl of wisdom falls in my lap via email. This happened last week when I heard from Mike Kronforst. Mike has had a long career as a voice over artist, professor, counselor, and radio announcer. Along the way he’s perfected some vocal exercises that work well. I want to pass along the one he shared with me that relates to optimum pitch.
Here’s what Mike offers:
Speech books will sometimes spend a whole chapter on optimum pitch and get way more technical than necessary. Here’s what I have students or someone I’m coaching do: Sit up straight, or, as you suggest, stand and completely relax, especially in the upper body. Next, breathe comfortably for a few seconds and then hum “Happy Birthday.”
After they’ve done this, I tell them that two things just happened: first, this is probably very close to their optimum pitch because it’s pretty hard to lift your pitch and hum “Happy Birthday.” The other thing that happened is they relaxed. I ask them to do it again and notice how their throat feels because this is about as relaxed as they can be and still produce sound.
It’s a simple exercise, but I’ve had good success with this technique.
Thanks, Mike, for this great method. I hope all you readers are out there humming “Happy Birthday” right now!
If you read my blog regularly (which, of course, I hope you do!) you know that I recently wrote a blog on this topic: The Ups and Downs of Vocal Pitch. Between Mike and me, you should find a technique that works for you to find your optimum pitch.
And if you have any pearls of wisdom about voice, please leave me a comment below. I’d love to share them!
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