22 September 2011,
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During the week a mother stopped to ask me if there was anything she could do to strengthen her child’s voice . Teachers at the child’s school felt that her voice was too soft and perhaps a little weak.
The voice is a fascinating thing – we learn to speak through mimicking sounds and noises we hear around us,I believe that for an individual to be heard they must want to speak and want to be heard! It is essential when working with your child you do not want them to think there is a problem or an issue – this will make the child nervous, overly conscious and make the “problem” worse – working on voice production is a slow process that should be approached with great care.
Learning to breath and control your breath is the first step in making your voice stronger. Make this fun and enjoyable here are a few simple exercise to try at home with your child.
Place a straw into a half filled glass of water – see how long you can blow bubbles into the glass without stopping to take a breath. Record the progress on a chart. Once you beat your own record try controlling the ferocity of the bubbles and blowing harder for a longer time – its harder than you think!
Hold an A4 Sheet of paper against your face so that the end is by your chin and the back of the sheet touches your nose. Gently blow the paper away from your face – how long can you keep the paper away from your face ?
Light a candle and then gently blow the flame so that it bends but doesn’t blow out. How long can you do this for?
Ask you child to hum. Where does this sound come from? How loud can they hum? How high or low? Can they move this vibration around their body? To the nose , the head the chest? ( this will involve them changing their pitch and exploring how to best use their resonators – these are the empty spaces in our body that help us amplify sound).
Ask your child about the noises we make in class at the start of each day. Can they remember what they were? These sounds are the building blocks of speech and these are some of the sounds that carry our voice – the stronger these sounds the more their voice will carry.