Hi there everybody and welcome back to Josie’s blog space. Victor Hugo, the famous 19th century French poet, wrote Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face. We are in some trying times now. More than ever we need a sense of humor. So if you’ve forgotten how to giggle READ ON!
Laughter is essential for good mental health, but did you know it’s great for your voice?
When you approach a big new task such as transforming your voice, a lighthearted feeling goes a long way in easing you through your frustrating moments.
Today you’ll learn:
To use humor and instantly change your perspective
To hear and imitate a woman’s laugh
Practical tips for bringing laughter into your life
Smile More – Hold a straw between your teeth, not your lips. By doing this you will train yourself to smile. Our bodies respond subconsciously to the sensation of smiling by producing endorphins. Notice when women are out they often give a smile of recognition to other women. Sometimes these friendly greetings lead to light hearted conversations. From there laughter is just around the corner.
Surround yourself with people who make you laugh. I am profoundly grateful to a teacher who said to me over and over, “Josie, you get your life from the people you hang out with.” Like everyone, I used to think some people were my friends and it turned out they weren’t. I said good-bye to them, and surrounded myself with light-hearted, committed people who made me laugh. Did my perspective ever change! Now I laugh in a moment. Has that happened to you?
Watch funny movies and TV programs. Whenever I need a quick laugh I tune into Seinfeld. I instantly laugh at the absurdity of watching the tall, lanky Cosmo Kramer doing Karate with 8 year old kids. You may recall George Costanza coming into the deli and delivering this precious line, “My mother caught me.”
Mel Brooks’ movie, Young Frankenstein, is priceless too. The part that put me into an instant laugh is when Cloris Leachman as Frau Blucher hears horses get excited every time her name gets mentioned. All right, who makes YOU laugh? I really am asking you… Make a list now and tune in.
Turn off the news. No, we don’t want to put our heads in the sand. The problem starts when we become reactive to the news. We just don’t want to be OWNED. When I find myself owned I choose Kramer to break its hold on me and I join in the absurdity.
Finally, learn to laugh at yourself. My wife laughs at herself every time she says, “There are so many ways to go wrong in life”. She goes on in French with “Ce n’est pas ma faute”. In other words, “It’s not my fault.” Soon we are laughing over the spilt water on the floor!
It’s amazing to me how natural a transwoman’s voice sounds when she is willing to intersperse her vocal work with the fun of giggling like a woman.
I've discovered that by smiling and then laughing I add a lilt or upward feeling in my head around the sound I produce. A giggle is often produced in an effort to avoid a full laugh. People often find it amusing. When it's amusing and not resisted it adds a light-hearted dimension to vocal training.
So, let’s say you’ve been working on your voice and you feel frustrated that you are not making progress - a simple giggle can ease your tension and inspire you to carry on.
Here are some suggestions to get you started:
Start with a smile – think of something comical – then take in some air through your nose.
Begin to let your air out on the soft sound “haehaehae”.
Let your jaw drop open easily so that your mouth is fully or almost fully open.
Now continue to feel the sound only coming through and out of your mouth.
Focus your breath and the “haehaehae” sound on your soft palate. That means to arch the back of your tongue toward the soft area of the roof of your mouth.
Start to giggle on the ‘ae’ or the ‘a’ sound as in “but”
Play with laughing . . . Listen to the following audio clip for an idea on how women giggle.
Listen and giggle along – do it a few times if you can or return to it and do it again.
Listen to how she gets her laugh in her head and uses those low vowels. Then come back and try this exercise again.
There is more in store for you at Say It Proud Speech Therapy. You’ll get the nuance of laughter and a whole lot more as you make your way to the voice of your dreams. You will practice, practice, practice and have fun. You may be surprised to find out how your laugh moves around in your body. Begin with the focus laughing in your head and notice that it may move down to a full out belly laugh which releases those pleasurable endorphins.
If you have any questions, get in touch with me through my website, Say It Proud Speech Therapy.
Happy Laughing …