Voice

GENDER AFFIRMING VOICE TRAINING

NOTE: GENDER AFFIRMING CARE CAN BE LIFE SAVING AND AS SUCH, IT IS ALYSSA'S PRIORITY SERVICE. IF YOU CANNOT FIND A SUITABLE SESSION TIME OR IF YOU WANT TO BOOK A CONSULTATION, PLEASE EMAIL ALYSSA AND LET HER KNOW YOU'RE LOOKING FOR GENDER AFFIRMING VOICE TRAINING OR THERAPY AND YOU WILL BE PRIORITIZED! 

Gender Affirming Voice Training
Voice Feminization, Masculinization, Neutralization & Beyond

Gender Affirming Voice Training might be right for you if you are looking for a safe way to develop or explore a voice that is healthy and congruent with or reflective of your identity. As a Trans Voice Coach and Voice Therapist, Alyssa (she/her) works almost exclusively with voice. She is a registered Speech-Language Pathologist and clinically-trained Singing Voice Specialist. Alyssa is a cisgender coach, and as such, she prioritizes safety by remaining dedicated to competence and continued learning from members of the LGBTQ2S+ community. She offers support to adults and teens through her extensive clinical voice training, creativity and flexibility, as well as her experience in performance. Alyssa takes a person-centred approach across gender identities to help find and maintain healthy and congruent voices. She is passionate about helping people to discover, develop, and maintain a voice that feels and sounds right for them. This means she will support your goals based on your voice ideals, and not necessarily based on norms. Alyssa also provides voice therapy and rehabilitation for those who are looking to heal or recover from a voice injury, vocal nodules, or surgery, such as voice feminization surgeries. Voice work is so personal and can feel scary to approach. Please don't hesitate to get in touch with Alyssa to get a better sense of whether she is a good fit for you!

Curious about how long voice training takes? This is so challenging to answer, as each program is non-prescriptive and highly individualized and depends on many factors, such as voice health, voice skills, and comfort with using voice in real life situations. 
For a general idea of what training might look like, consider these three stages:

1

Develop a healthy strong voice foundation for long-lasting voice use and flexibility.

Explore a wide variety of features and colours that shape voice, in a healthy way.


2

Learn how to "play the voice as an instrument" and delve into advanced exploration of voice features to reinforce the ideal voice qualities you like.

Begin guiding Alyssa so she can best support you in discovering features you enjoy and feel represent you


3

Grow with the voice through increasingly complex situations that require stamina, duration, projection and confidence.

Check-in to refresh training and maintain optimal voice health.

Voice

Gender Affirming Voice Training
FAQs with Alyssa

 

What makes you a good gender affirming voice coach?

Truthfully, I may not be the best fit for everyone. The biggest thing to acknowledge is that, as a cis-woman, I can never truly understand the lived experience of so many of my clients. So, there's that! I recommend reaching out and setting up a (free) chat or consultation so you can assess your feelings and instinct around fit.
Professionally and personally, I have a unique combination of training and experience. I'm a registered Speech-Language Pathologist and Voice Therapist, and am also a clinically-trained Singing Voice Specialist. Most of the work I do is in the voice area. I love all things voice and I have a ton of voice tools to work with! I also work alongside an ENT doctor performing scopes of the voice to make sure it's healthy and functioning well. I spend a lot of time rehabilitating voices back to a healthy place.

 I think what makes me successful in this type of work is prioritizing the safety and needs of my clients. This means listening as best I can to what my clients want and following their lead, supporting their goals with my experience, rather than trying to fit my client into my plan. I also bring a fair bit of creativity and flexibility to our play! 
I have found great success in my years of gender affirming voice training by maintaining support between sessions. Voice comes with us everywhere, and especially in the world of gender affirming voice training,  it's unreasonable to assume that all folks will feel equipped and confident to continue to explore and play on their own without easy access to their coach. This is why I maintain contact (as desired) with clients between sessions. I'm often inviting clips, providing feedback, or asking folks to share wins and challenges between sessions. 
As a musician and singing voice teacher, I have worked with many voices. I began clinically-guided gender affirming voice training as a speech-language pathologist in Nova Scotia before moving to Toronto, and have continued to learn and grow ever since. I'm constantly updating my learning through WPATH and CPATH, the 519 and the Rainbow Health Organization, and through courses and workshops - especially by Trans and Gender non-conforming trainers and speech-language pathologists.
But truly, I've learned and continue to learn the most from the amazing folks who bring me along on their voice journeys!

Is Gender Affirming Voice Training right for me?

Gender affirming voice training is by no means necessary, but it might be appropriate  for anyone who feels that their current voice is not representative of who they are, is not aligned with their gender, or is not as strong and consistent as they'd like.

Our work together is person-centred, non-restrictive, and does not necessarily need to conform to gender norms. My clients tell me how they'd like for their voice to sound, and we work on this together in a healthy way. Voice Feminization, Masculinization and Neutralization and anything in between is on the table. 

I'm interested in feminizing my voice but my pitch is really low. Is this a problem?

Usually not. As long as the voice is healthy, starting pitch is often not a barrier. Some people choose to pair voice training with voice surgery if they have difficulty matching pitch. For those who do opt for Voice Feminization Surgery for pitch, I tend to help with other features such as post-op rehabilitation, and shaping resonance, inflection, and other speech characteristics to help you achieve the voice you're looking for.

Does HRT alter the pitch of my voice?

Testosterone lowers the pitch of the voice. Estrogen, Estradiol, Spironolactone will not change the pitch of the voice.
But also, pitch is a small component of training. The target with the biggest impact is resonance! 

Will insurance cover this?

Since I am registered Speech-Language Pathologist, sessions should be eligible under third-party "speech therapy" or "paramedical" services. Check with your insurance booklet or provider if you are unsure of budgets, as there's no way for me to know your plan specifics.

When can I start?

Whenever you feel ready. I do not require referrals. I am occasionally asked if I require completion of various transition-related items to begin - the answer is absolutely not!  Come as you are. All I ask is that you, to the best of your ability, arrive with a flexible and creative mind, and patience. If you are 17 or younger, guardian consent is required, but guardians are not required to participate or attend.

Trans Voice Toronto

Trans Voice Toronto

Transgender Voice Toronto

I'm taking Testosterone, how could training help?

Some folks on/following T are dissatisfied with the timbre, tone, or stamina of the voice. Common goal areas include: developing rich and resonant voice, working on projection and stability, or smoothing out the breaks in the voice, as well as building vocal endurance. 

When can I start?

Whenever you feel ready. I do not require referrals. I am occasionally asked if I require completion of various transition-related items to begin - the answer is absolutely not!  Come as you are. All I ask is that you, to the best of your ability, arrive with a flexible and creative mind, and patience. If you are 17 or younger, guardian consent is required, but guardians are not required to participate or attend.

What about Voice Feminization Surgeries?

As a voice therapist, I help voices getting best shape before surgery (pre-op) to improve surgical outcomes, and post-op to recover quickly and safely. Additionally, since surgery (mostly) changes pitch only, post-surgical training is often required for additional training around resonance and other features.  Many of my clients consider such surgeries but choose to give training a go first to avoid irreversible and negative outcomes.

How long does it take?

The big question! You're not going to like the answer, but I suspect you may already know. It's different for everyone.  There are so many factors that may contribute to training duration, such as having a safe practice space, overall voice health, time resources, financial or insurance limitations, previous experience with voice training, and comfort exploring variations in voice. When starting with a normal/healthy voice, it typically averages between 8-13 sessions. One way to conceptualize this could be using the phases touched on above. Phase 1 might range between 2 and 8 sessions, Phase 2 might range between 2 and 8 sessions, Phase 3 might range between 4 and 8 sessions. The carry-over phase especially varies. Consider the difference between maintaining voice while reading at home alone for 10 minutes versus in a high-pressure hour-long interview!   The Maintenance & Tune-Up Phase is completely optional, as our work together does prioritize giving you independence. However, some clients like to come back each year for to reconnect for a tune-up, explore further nuances they've picked up on over time, or begin advanced targets, such as singing voice. Because the duration varies so much, upfront booking or payments are never required. We can pause at any time. After each session, we'll consider a variety of variables and decide together when we should meet next and what to work on in the meantime.

What's the process?

If you want to meet briefly before beginning to get a feel for whether or not I'd be a good fit for you, just send me an email and we'll set up on online consultation! 
The first step is an intake session. This is where I begin to understand what your voice goals are and how healthy and flexible the voice is. I will also collect some recording samples for voice analysis.
We'll chat in depth about your voice goals and voice use. We'll also discuss how I can best protect your safety and privacy beyond confidential and protection of personal health information. We'll decide together how best to move forward and how often. Once we get started with voice health conditioning exercises, we'll then jump into exploring any combination of resonance, pitch, quality, and articulation. We will first discover control over a wide variety of colours and tones, and then we'll tune into the ones that speak to you most. From there, we'll build stamina and consistency, and advance as appropriate.