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Speech Therapy

This page is designed to collect some of the documents and resources I’ve used for speech therapy during transition. I went to the George Washington University Speech and Hearing Center from June 2011 till the present (expecting that the 2012 Summer semester will be my last). The format here is of a post I made on the “Voice Clips” thread on TrueSelves (www.trueselves.com), but has been moved here due to .Mac going away June 2012.

George Washington University Speech and Hearing Center Exercises & Diagnostics

Okay folks… he’s the sum collected printable knowledge of voice therapy I can make available. Each bit is broken down by focus, and the URLs will be active permanently or until I decide to disable it, but this post should remain. I will be editing this post for each exercise, explaining what you should do, as well as doing some recordings to accompany them to give practical listening exercises. I hope this will help folks. I haven’t gotten tacet approval from GWU S&H, but the folks in the program are aware of my work and are sort of endorsing it. I’ve heard they are also willing to do Skype sessions with the program lead. Our local support group indicated that a member of the US State Department is currently utilizing this method, so it may be available to other interested folks. If you’d like contact information, PM me.

Diagnostic Passages:

[Audio FileTowne-Heuer Passage  The Towne-Heuer Reading Passage was developed in 1970 to provide a reading sample that would facilitate subjective voice evaluation. 
[Audio FileStandardized Reading Passages – A set of standard reading passages for standardized diagnosis, including the Rainbow Passage. 
Vocal Hygine Pamphlet – These items are designed to keep your vocal “instrument” in proper operating condition, both during the lesson time, but also throughout the day.

Exercises for Breathing:

Breathing – Exercise 2 – This is the initial exercise to begin learning and refining diaphragmatic breathing, including tips and techniques, as well as initial practices. These exercises should be completed before each personal practice.
Breathing – Exercise 2 – These are refined breathing and speaking exercises. Once you’ve mastered Exercise 1, use these passages to test that you are properly expending your breath evenly and cleanly. This also will help with determining when to breathe during longer passages.
Strengthening and Balancing – Exercise 1 – This exercise will help with producing clear resonant sounds. This should be used along within the initial resonance exercises below.It is important that you discern between volume and pitch changes, as they are often audibly mistaken among novices. During the pitch exercise, choose a comfortable octave (eight notes) to begin with and as your pitch increases and strengthens, move up your pitch starting point. Do them slowly, over a four (4) second period, and smoothly.
Strengthening and Balancing – Exercise 2 – This is a continuation of the previous exercise, and includes practices such as pitch rolls (smoothing your pitch for things such as intonation and inflection) and intensity (volume) exercises.

Exercises for Breathing – Intonation:

[Audio FileIntonation and Breathing – Exercise 1 – This is the Gettysburg Address (yes, I know), but it’s the most used diagnostic and practice passage to work on proper pacing and intonation, as well as breathing (pauses). Abraham Lincoln (or his speechwriter) did a good job with the phrasing of this speech, and there are plenty of examples of readings of this passage on You Tube as examples (sometimes a little over dramatic). 

Exercises for Breathing – Volume – Rate – Intonation – Pitch:

Breathing – Volume – Rate – Intonation – Pitch – Exercise 1 – These exercises are meant to provide practical use of all the mechanics you have practiced by answering topical questions. This is best done with another person asking you the questions randomly to recreate “free speech” responses. This is intended to string together your breathing skills, pitch, speech rate, and your intonation and volume (as practiced during the Strengthening and Balancing exercises previously).
Breathing – Volume – Rate – Intonation – Pitch – Exercise 2– These exercises are meant to provide practical use of all the mechanics you have practiced by answering topical questions, and are continuations of the previous exercise. This is best done with another person asking you the questions randomly to recreate “free speech” responses. In both cases you should record yourself and listen to your responses and refine your speech.

Exercises for Oral Resonance:

Oral Resonance Practice – Exercise 1 – This is the complete starter “kit” for learning and practicing resonance. It obviously differs from other techniques (those found with Deep Stealth or Kathie Perez) but is a method that I learned and it seems to work well, provide physical and auditory feedback you can really pick up on. This is literally a step by step guide. This was paired when starting, with the pitch and breathing practice. You should feel the “buzz” if you’re doing things correctly. Do not move onto section “C” until you feel confident you’re replicating the resonance vibration and vocal placements.
[Audio FileOral Resonance Practice – Exercise 2 – Practice sentences with varied syllable counts. These have some of the phonemes that are taught int he previous exercises. 
Oral Resonance Practice – Exercise 3– This exercise is another angle on the first set of exercises which brings together the simple pieces from the first exercise with the expansion of syllables and sounds from the second exercise.

Summary Exercises:

Round-Up – Practice 1 – This was the “home practice” I received at the end of my first semester of training. This really was working on refining pitch, resonance and breathing. The intonation, volume and rate of speech was secondary, but eventually came into use. Use this as a guide to get started for building your initial lesson plan.
Round-Up – Practice 2– This was the “home practice” of the lesson plan for the beginning of the second semester to develop a practice technique of exercises (listed above). Once you’re comfortable with your resonance and breathing (and possibly pitch), move on to this lesson plan. Do NOT rush to this step… work on the basics.
Round-Up – Practice 3– This was the “home practice” of the lesson plan for the end of the second semester and between the third. This was for refining and putting the polish on all the techniques. Only move onto this once you’re comfortable with the topics covered in the previous lesson plan.

The entire package is here:

Sessions.zip – The complete package of exercises.

Version Tracker:
0.1 – 05/02/2012 – Initial post
0.2 – 05/02/2012 – Added some descriptions
0.3 – 05/11/2012 – Added some audio clips to lesson areas
0.4 – 07/11/2012 – Moved to my blog 

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