Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What makes this program better than others?
A: Amanda has developed a unique system for one-on-one Gender Expression Voice Training, which tailors lessons to help you reach your specific goals and to find your authentic voice. At your first lesson, Amanda will ask about your personal vocal goals, role models, and preferred learning styles. Whether your vocal role model is Oprah, Harry Connick Jr., or someone else, Amanda will work with you to match the range and resonance of the voice that other people hear when you speak to the voice you imagine yourself having. Rather than simply assigning standardized voice feminization or masculinization exercises alone, she uses her vocal performance and teaching training to provide personalized and insightful feedback and exercises to help you overcome specific obstacles that you may encounter. In addition, Amanda explains concepts in a way that is relatable and understandable for you according to your preferred styles of learning. She encourages and helps you to master each step before building upon it and moving on to the next skill. Amanda will also add supplemental exercises, which include real-life scenarios of your choice (such as casual conversation, dramatic scenes or monologues, job interviews, poetry readings, giving speeches, presentations, lectures, etc...). The annual studio events Amanda hosts (open mic potluck parties, masterclasses, and other fun and educational activities) are a fun way to practice the skills you have been working on in front of an audience of fellow students. As a member of Amanda’s studio, you are part of a family of peers, who are each individually working on discovering new possibilities using their natural, limitless potential.
Q: Is there more to voice feminization/masculinization than simply speaking in a higher or lower range (raising or lowering vocal pitch)?
A: Yes. Before it is even possible to raise or lower vocal pitch in a healthy and successful way, it is essential to learn how to relax the breath in order to achieve the freedom necessary for optimal vocal flexibility. There are many additional elements that are imperative to focus on in order to achieve a natural-sounding masculine or feminine voice. These skills include resonance, articulation, volume, phrasing, and pacing, among others (which are listed and described on the “Lesson Details” page of this website).
Q: Won’t taking estrogen or testosterone make my voice sound more feminine/masculine?
A: Estrogen does not have any inherent voice-altering capabilities, and therefore, does nothing to help with voice feminization. Testosterone, on the other hand, does usually help at least partially with voice masculinization. Many individuals, however, have been disappointed to discover that testosterone either does not, or does not fully masculinize their voice. Amanda successfully helps students in such situations to reach their vocal goals.
Q: Is vocal surgery the most effective way to feminize/masculinize the voice?
No! The types of surgeries available for voice feminization and masculinization are highly invasive and have great risks of complications. Possible complications may include permanent undesirable pitch or vocal quality, vocal roughness or hoarseness, strained or breathy sound, inability to speak loudly, negative effects on swallowing and/or breathing, sore throat, infections, and scarring. They also have a very low success rate, and if successful, may not have a lasting effect. Even a successful voice feminization or masculinization surgery will only result in altering the pitch of the voice. This procedure does not allow for modification of the register, intensity, resonance, or any of the other elements (which are listed and described on the “Lesson Details” page of this website) necessary to have a truly healthy and authentic-sounding masculinized or feminized voice. Therefore, voice training is always recommended before and after these surgeries. Research shows that after the recommended voice training alone, most individuals successfully feminized or masculinized their voice. These surgeries are only recommended as a last resort.
Q: Can I successfully feminize or masculinize my voice by using apps or YouTube videos?
A: There are some apps and videos out there that are legitimate and some that are not. However, the legitimate ones expressly require simultaneous voice training in order to explain concepts more thoroughly and to help and monitor progress along the way. As part of Amanda’s program, she uses the EVA voice apps, which are very helpful tools.
Q: If you teach using the EVA apps, what makes your program so unique?
A: In conjunction with the apps, Amanda explains concepts in a way that is easy to understand and relate to. Lessons are personalized according to your individual vocal goals, unlike a standardized app or video. She is always there to support and encourage you; and, using the skills she has learned as a performer and a voice teacher, she provides insightful feedback and additional specialized exercises. Some of Amanda’s supplemental exercises include real-life scenarios of your choice (such as casual conversation, dramatic scenes or monologues, job interviews, poetry readings, giving speeches, presentations, lectures, etc...). Amanda’s annual studio events (open mic potluck parties, masterclasses, and other fun and educational activities) are a fun way to practice the skills you have been working on in front of your peers.
Q: How long are Gender Expression Voice Training lessons?
A: Lessons are an hour or longer depending on your availability, budget, goals, and desired time-frame to achieve those goals. Longer lessons are more conducive to keeping the momentum going and to making faster progress.
Q: How many lessons will I need before I see results?
A: Each student progresses at their own rate. Variables include inherent vocal characteristics, individual goals, frequency and length of lessons, frequency of practice between lessons, attitude and cooperation, diligence, and determination. However, if you meet with Amanda regularly and frequently, are open to trying new things, have a positive attitude, and practice often, you will learn more and see new progress with every lesson.
Q: Are lessons via Skype as effective as lessons in person?
A: Yes! As long as you are set up in a quiet room with a strong internet connection, Skype lessons are just as effective as lessons in person. Fortunately, Skype has made it possible for students to study with Amanda from anywhere around the world in the comfort of their own home.