Abby Brooks facilitates Changing Keys © on Vancouver Island.
Changing Keys © is a free speech and voice feminization training program for adults offered to British Columbia residents by Trans Care BC: Provincial Health Services Authority. For more information or to register please visit:
Additionally, our clinic offers private assessment and voice training for clients across British Columbia. Training is personalized to meet the needs of the client. We welcome transfeminine, transmasculine, and gender nonconforming clients who wish to align their voices with their identities.
Features we may work on include resonance, speaking pitch, vocal inflections, and voice quality. These features can be explored to achieve a feminine, masculine, or neutral presentation, or anything in between! We view our relationship with our clients as collaborative, and aim to give you the tools and space you need to find a voice that feels right. Ultimately, you are the expert when it comes to your own voice.
Each training session may focus on one or two new techniques, giving you a chance to try them out and see what you will continue to practice.
Gender-Affirming Voice Training may include:
Vocal health and conditioning: Exercises to encourage efficient vibration of the vocal folds and prepare them for practice. When using your voice in a new way, it’s important to maintain vocal health and avoid straining the voice.
Resonance: Resonance refers to the way a sound is affected by the size and shape of the space it travels through: imagine the same musical note being played by a flute vs. a trumpet. Resonance work involves changing the size of the vocal tract (the space from the vocal folds to the lips) to brighten or darken the sound of the voice. We may explore changing placement of the larynx, tongue and lips during speech.
Pitch: Pitch refers to our perception of how high or low a voice sounds, and is linked to how quickly the vocal folds vibrate in the larynx. Faster vibration produces a higher pitch, and slower vibration produces a lower pitch. We may set a target pitch range and work on ear training to help you maintain your pitch during speech. There are a number of pitch-tracking apps available to download to help your practice.
Inflection: Inflection describes the “peaks and valleys” of pitch which occur naturally in speech. Pitch often climbs higher at the end of a question, and dips down at the end of a statement. We may work on heightening or dampening these contours, and explore use of volume alongside pitch during speech.
Voice Quality: we can target a number of areas which affect the timbre of the voice, including a softer vs. fuller quality, techniques to project the voice without losing our target features, and limiting use of fry register.
Training often starts with targets sounds, words and phrases designed to highlight the skill being practiced, but we also want you to bring your target voice out IRL in ways that feel safe and supported. We recognize some people start voice training earlier in their transition and may not feel comfortable practicing at work, for example, and so we’ll work together to identify contexts which will set you up for success. Ultimately we want to provide you with the skills and confidence to develop a voice that carries you through the many facets of your life.
Preparing for training:
- Contact us to check for session availability and establish a time to begin training. An assessment will occur before training, during which we will discuss your goals and take baseline voice samples. Voice conditioning exercises can also be introduced before training begins.
- Begin to think about your vocal health. How much water are you drinking? Do you have acid reflux? Discuss any of these concerns with your clinician at your first appointment.
- Come ready to experiment and have fun!
Cost: Contact us for current fees. Some or all of the costs may be covered by medical benefits.