Isn’t it interesting that the voice, which we use so much every day, is a part of the body that most of us know very little about. That is because we use it instinctively. But, with a little knowledge, it can become an essential part of your working toolkit.
Voice begins with an impulse from the brain. It is stimulated by an intention to speak or to sing. Two elements produce voice – a flow of air and vibration. The airflow comes from breath. Air goes into your body via the mouth and nose, passes down the trachea (windpipe) and into the lungs. It is drawn down by the contraction of your dome-shaped diaphragm. As this relaxes, the abdominal muscles help to push the air back up the windpipe.
The larynx (voice box) is placed at the top of the windpipe. When we use our voice, we close two bands of muscular tissue in the voice box, called the vocal cords, across the airflow. The out-breath causes the edges of the cords to vibrate against each other, producing sound in a way which is similar to the air escaping from a deflating balloon. The cords vibrate super-frequently. Depending on age, sex, health and pitch the cords may open and close between 60 and 1000 times per second.
The sound waves which are created are immediately modified by the spaces through which they travel. These spaces, the throat, mouth, nose and sinuses – are known as the vocal tract and it is here that the major amplification of the initial note takes place.
Finally to create speech we used the five key surfaces in the mouth – tongue, lips, teeth, hard and soft palate – in various combinations. Our vowels, (producing emotion and accent) plus consonants, (producing precision and clarity), create the words which convey our messages.
Our physical build and habits in speaking affect everybody’s voice. Work on the voice explores the way we make sound. It builds on our natural capabilities, enables us to find new sounds in our voice and to be more effective in our professional work.
The benefits of good voice production are:
So I hope that fills in any gaps in your knowledge in the science of oral communication.
Remember that VOICE MATTERS so use yours to influence others positively.
Speak Loud & Clear!
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