Welcome to the 2017 Northwest Voice Conference: The Art & Science of the Performing Voice! The conference is in Alder Auditorium at 1310 40th St NE, west of the UW Campus.
Saturday, April 22 • 1:15pm - 2:00pm
Submitted Papers: Performing Voice Across the Gender Spectrum

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Three 10-minute talks will be presented followed by a 10-15 minute Q&A with the 3 speakers.
Aaron Ziegler, PhD, CCC-SLP: "How to Facilitate a Successful Vocal Transition in Trans Men"

Sixty-four percent of transmasculine participants studied by Scheidt and colleagues (2004) requested professional support for voice problems that developed with Testosterone Hormone Therapy (THT). The purpose of this talk is to review existing literature on the effectiveness of THT for voice masculinization. Methods: A systematic review was conducted according to the PRISMA guidelines using PubMed and Google Scholar. Original research written in English was reviewed to investigate testosterone as a sole treatment modality for voice masculinization. Based on findings, an evidence-based clinical protocol for voice masculinization management was developed. Results: An accumulation of data from 16 studies of original research indicates that THT produces a lowering of pitch for some, but not all, trans men. Variability in the extent and rate of pitch lowering exists. Data also indicate that the vocal transition and treatment outcomes of some trans men on THT are not always optimal, leaving some dissatisfied with THT. Study participants also expressed non-pitch related concerns with THT including difficulty with vocal loudness, voice quality, and vocal instability, a negative impact to the singing voice. Maintaining gender fluidity was also a concern. Conclusions: Given that THT can cause negative voice changes, referral to a multi-disciplinary voice team should be made prior to THT. Laryngologists and speech-language pathologists can offer services that help trans men achieve desirable voice masculinization outcomes.

Sandy Hirsch, MS, CCC-SLP: "Combining Art and Science in Resonance Training with Gender Diverse Clients"

In the past decade or more, there has been a growing acceptance and body of transgender voice and communication research and literature that supports the understanding that pitch modification alone is not an adequate therapy approach in order to confidently change the auditory perception of gender. This presentation is a resonance training approach, Acoustic Assumptions, that I have developed with a basis in speech and voice science as well as performance voice. It provides vocal tools to help clients understand certain resonance challenges, and how to solve them as they simultaneously work on raising or lowering pitch and developing new inflectional patterns. Participants will be able to apply the Acoustic Assumptions tenets to their clinical work with transgender clients, as well as in their studios with singers and actors. 

Learning Objectives:
  1. Participants will be able to explain and apply an articulation rubric (acoustic assumptions) designed to facilitate desired resonant outcomes through the manipulation of physiological gestures.
  2. Participants will be able to apply the tenets learned from the articulation rubric (acoustic assumptions) to voice and communication training with gender diverse populations.  

Emerald Lessley, MM: "Teaching Transgender Singers"

For voice teachers there is a lack of information and resources for teaching transgender and transitioning singing voice students. This is a different area of expertise than that of SLPs who work with trans clients in voice therapy, however almost all of the scientifically-based literature about trans voices is specific to the speaking voice. For her DMA dissertation, Ms. Lessley has researched the effect of transitioning on the singing voice, and has been working with several transgender singers in private lessons as well as in the class voice setting. Most transgender singing information she has encountered recently has been very anecdotal and is limited to a teacher speaking about his/her experience with one student. Ms. Lessley has a wider sample of students-- MtF, FtM, non-binary, wide age range, varied ages at the time of transition, etc. This presentation will share her research and applied experiences, especially how the things we read in the medical and SLP journals actually translate to teaching real, unique students in the voice studio. This includes range and timbre changes, time frames, repertoire, and specific challenges that teachers and students might face (posture and breathing with FtM students who wear binders, for example) and how to overcome them. 

avatar for Sandy Hirsch, MS CCC/SLP

Sandy Hirsch, MS CCC/SLP

Speech-Language Pathologist, Give Voice
Sandy Hirsch, MS CCC/SLP is owner of Give Voice in Seattle, WA. Gender Diverse, professional, performance voice and accent modification are a focus of her practice. She is an internationally recognized expert in the area of gender diverse voice and communication training.
avatar for Emerald Lessley, MM

Emerald Lessley, MM

Student, University of Washington
Emerald Lessley, soprano, began studying music and performing at a young age in northern California, where she discovered her love of the stage. She has been actively involved in many musical ensembles as well as performing opera and new music. Ms. Lessley has enjoyed roles such as... Read More →
avatar for Aaron Ziegler, PhD

Aaron Ziegler, PhD

Assistant Professor, NW Center for Voice & Swallowing, OHSU
Dr. Aaron Ziegler is a speech-language pathologist and singing voice specialist who recently joined the Northwest Clinic for Voice and Swallowing. Dr. Ziegler earned his Ph.D. in communication science and disorders from the University of Pittsburgh under Dr. Verdolini Abbott and a... Read More →

Saturday April 22, 2017 1:15pm - 2:00pm
Alder Commons Auditorium 1310 NE 40th St, Seattle, WA, 98105

Disclaimer This session was submitted by a third party and is included solely as a courtesy to attendees. Its inclusion in this schedule should not be considered an endorsement of the third parties or a recommendation to attend this session.