Head: I am a vocal coach. I help you improve your voice.
Human beings are social animals. As we evolved as a species, violence as has experienced diminishing returns as a means to climb the social hierarchy. Communication has taken it's place as our primary means of both applying and defending against force.
Even in todays time, the most meaningful conversations are held via verbal communication. Hence, developing a practical, powerful way of speaking is incredibly beneficial to anyone trying to achieve anything in life.
I have worked as a vocal coach for over 10 years now. I have taught hundreds of students and I have identified a variety of very common mistakes and the most applyable techniques to have them counterblanced.
Part I - Your voice is probably just fine. The science.
It is a hard-to-kill cliché that women prefer deep voices in men. While studies have shown that women do indeed prefer deeper voices more high pitched ones, that conclusion in pretty monodimensional and the studies conclusions are not necessarily applicable to real life.
Because pitch is only one dimension of the human voice. There are several more: Pronounciation of vowels, volume, melody of speech, timbre, overtones, airflow.
How they relate to eachother is more important than any factor on its own. A deep pitch is worthless if you have a lisp and talk like a proverbial faggot. You are much better off optimizing all your vocal dimensions into the top 20% range than focusing on talking in the lowest pitch possible.
Also, while pitch does indeed vary about more than an octave, most (western) voice pitches (95%) are clustered around within 4 half-tone-steps - between G2 and A#2, which is the range of the baritone.
99% of people do not even hear pitch objectively. They can only do it with a note of reference. Which means they will hear when your voice raises in pitch relative to your normal speaking pitch - but they won't be able to tell, how deep your voice actually is.
Chances are, you will do amazing once you learn a few basics.
Part II - Naturals vs. professionals - Let's look at a few examples.
Since people are really bad at recognizing pitch, it comes to no surprise that a lot of the actors mentioned on Imdb's list "Actors with a deep powerful voice" do not actually have deep voices. Quite a lot of them have voices of low average pitch, but good projection - that means good enunciation, rich overtones and a relaxed vocal apparatus.
James Earl JonesWhile he is often the first actor to come to mind when people think "deep voice", the iconic voice of darth vader isn't actually THAT deep. However, it is DARK AS FUCK. In "Empire" and "Return" Vader mostly talks on a G2 or F#2 respectively. Which is about the lower average of men. And you can often hear him struggle to still reach a rich pronounciation. This would make him a low baritone. However, in recent years, his voice lowered a little and is now at F2.In other movies, JEJ prefered to speak at a higher pitch, because it gave him more wiggle room to emphasize his rich, dark timbre.
Remember: A voice can have a dark timbre, but still be high in pitch. And vice versa. A lot of man have deep voices with light timbres - be it because of nature of nurture.
Sir Christopher LeeHeir of Charlemagne, servant of Sauron and former secret agent Christopher Lee is a man with a deep voice. But it is still only slightly below average, with a speaking pitch of F#2 of F2. He maxes out the darker colors of his timbre by almost singing some of his lines in LOTR. Unless you are an old british guy and an actual knight, I do not suggest you do that. (His wizard rival Ian McKellen has a deeper voice, btw.)
Sir Sean ConneryAnother knight of her majesty and prototype of badassery usually speaks around G2 - but he is very relaxed when he does, which adds natural dark overtones to his timbre.
Relaxation improves richness.
Kevin Michael RichardsonWhile mostly known for his voice-over work and some minor roles, Richardson has an ACTUAL deep voice, and you can tell by how effortlessly he reaches the low registers. He is a bass. He speaks on a D2, which is way deeper that most men. There is no way to fake this.
Benedict CumberbatchWhile often know for his deep voice, Benedict Cumberbatch is a master of vocal projection and speaks on a G2, which is low average. He achieves this with a relaxed jaw, spot-on enunciation and a lot of confidence.
As you can see, some men with pitches only slighty below average managed to growl their way into being perceived as having some of the lowest and most powerful voices.
You can at least work yourself towards always having the best voice in the room.
Part III - An error corrected is progress achieved. Common mistakes and how to solve them.
Before you make any attempts and actively improving your voice, you should stop making the most common errors. It will put you ahead in the game more than anything else.
Poor posture:While lifting can fix your posture pretty well, it can also leave you stiff as a board, constricting your airflow. Do some basic yoga to get more flexibility - especially the upward dog pose.
Tight jaw, wrong jaw position:
Most people have tense jaw muscles and their jaw is too far in the back, giving them a slight overbite. Instead, while in a relaxed position, the tips of your front teeth should touch slighty - with the tip of your tongue resting gently on the gums behind your upper front teeth.
Assume this jaw posture whenever possible. It also improves your jawline.
Bad breathing:Chances are, you are not breathing deep enough. However, the human voice is much like a pipe, and it needs sufficient airflow to project sound at its full capacity.
In order to inhale properly, you belly button should rise, not your chest nor your shoulders. When you exhale to speak, you should do so actively and with intent.
Now, here is the kicker: The muscle that brought your belly button forward during inhaling, your diaphragm, should STILL be slighty active when exhaling.
Imagine your belly button still protruding forward while you speak.
Bad cadence:A lot of men with great vocal genetics shoot themselves in the feet by talking in a subserviant, womanish manner.
Everything they say sounds like a question, even if it is a statement.
Just stop it, work on your frame.
Wrong pitch:A lot of people speak way to high within their vocal range. Their natural pitch may be a G2, but they speak at a C3, which is not only way to high, but sounds a lot weaker than a man with a high voice who naturally speaks at C3.
Most men do this so they can be heard better, since our ears are more sensitive to higher pitches. However, this comes at the cost of not being taken serious. It is better to learn proper projection.
Part IV - How to optimize your voice? Train your body.
Everything you say should sound natural.
So you should spend as little time as possible thinking about HOW to talk.
Therefore you should invest some time in training your body to sound good without any effort.
Much like a trained dancer does not constantly think about his posture. It is just his way of being.
Breathing exercises:Do yoga, learn deep breathing, use the Wym Hof method, do meditation
- Lean your back against a wall, tuck your chin. Push off the wall so only the back of your head touches the structure. Keep your chin tucked. This should stretch your neck.
- Do some easy yoga routines and lift weights to fix your posture
- learn how to do a proper squat
- do pull-ups
Jaw and tongue:Have the tips of your front teeth gently touch. Press your tongue firmly against the roof of your mouth. Breathe through your nose and into your belly. Do this whenever possible. It will train your tongue and relax your jaw. It may even uncramp your neck, give you a better jawline and keep your from snoring.
Seriously, this exercise is solid gold.
Fascial muscles:Put a cork in your mouth, assume the relaxed jaw posture and practise reading some text out loud. Make it as clear as possible. Take out the cork and read the text out loud again. Go back and forth a few times. You actually do this on the way to a date or a meeting, or when preparing a presentation. It will work wonders.
Projection:Your brain always calculates what you need to do, to have your voice heard across a certain distance.
It will automatically change the pitch, tone and volume of your voice accordingly. However, there is another system in your psyche - the social inhibitor - which will reel all of that precious projection of power back in.
That is why you need frame and/or IDGAF attitude to properly project your voice.
To train projection, put the cork back in your mouth.Pick a few objects in the room. They should you be between 2 and 10 feet away. Now say a few common words to them - but say them with intent.
Say "hi" to your doorknob, for example.
Adress each object individually and look at it with intent. Work your way from the farthest object to the closest. Then repeat the drill without the cork. You should do this drill with a variety of phrases you use often, like "hi", "goodbye", "thank you", "excuse me", "fuck you", "AWALT" or whatever.
Cadence:In order to achieve control over your cadence, you need to overwrite your behavioral patterns. You can play a game: Do not ask questions for a whole day. You are only allowed to make statements without an uptick in pitch at the end. The only exception: You can make a statement and add "...,yes?" to the end of it.
Part V - How to train
If you want to achieve great results, I suggest you actively train 5-10 minutes every other day. Remember to apply the principles whenever you can. Do a minute of the cork-exercise whenever you intend to make a phone call or send a voice message. You will be amazed at how good you sound within a few weeks and it will do wonders for your confidence.
It is okay if your jaw muscles hurt a bit. But be aware that excessive jaw training may destabilize the joint during the recovery period. Be extra careful if you have any prior conditions.
Part IV - Questions and troubleshooting
I decided to collect questions from the thread and have them answered in the OP
Question : How do you get rid of nasality?
Nasality usually has two components. 1. Inability to control the soft pallet. 2. Poor volume and compensation thereof by raising the speaking pitch.The fix: Build frame, do all the body fixes. Then pronounce all the vowels, try to project them through your mouth. Close your nose, repeat the vowels. They should sound the same with closed and open nose. If you can not do that, add an explosive consonant (d, b, p, g, k) to every vowel. Explosive consonants force you to close your soft pallet, thereby directing the sound through your mouth. Try to keep your pallet closed for most of you talking, barring those sounds that need to be nasal (m, n, ng)
Jaw / Mewing
[Jaw exercise] Sounds like Mewing. Google Dr. Mike Mew. He's a dentist who recommends this
That is exactly what this is based off. I modified his approach a little for improved voice projection.
Volume vs. Timbre
Do you have any advice on improving projection/volume without raising the pitch so much?
Think of your voice like a house. Your speaking voice is your ground floor. Each floor consists of five notes. In your case your ground floor would be D2-A2. Talking on any note within you groundfloor is fine, as long as your inflections do not go above A2. Talking on G2 would result in your pitch entering the "second floor" whenever using an upward inflection, which then makes you sound weak.My advice would be to work on eliminating most upward inflections and doing the exercises mentioned above. You voice will drop naturally.
My voice volume/strength is very low. Is there a way to increase it without actually yelling from top of my lungs. Like some exercices that can be done to improve it?
Do the exercises mentioned above. You do not need to increase volume by much, because volume is raw energy. You need to create richness and timbre. Timbre is refined energy.
I have a decently deep enough voice, but nobody ever hears me- I do not have one of those pay attention commanding voices. It doesn't make the room rumble or reverberate even when I go deep, if that makes sense.
Do the exercises mentioned above. You are not creating enough overtones.
Pitch vs timbre
What is pitch and timbre, and how do they differ from "deepness" of voice?
By User u/wow_much_profit:
All natural sounds are made up of multiple frequencies.
Pitch is the dominant frequency with the highest amplitude when you naturally speaking.
Timbre is the accompanying harmonic frequencies beside the main one. That is what create the richness of your voice.
Nature vs. nurture
Curious if your study has yielded any data regarding whether men raised by women (limited masculine involvement in youth) results in a young man developing a feminized voice?
I have some theories about that. I can usually hear in people wether they were a mommy's or daddy's boy/girl and wether parents got divorced before the teenage years of the person. It's a nice parlor trick.
There is only two ways in which young men develope manly speech patterns. Either there is a positive male role model in their lifes, or they forced into a masculine role by their surroundings and had to cope. If there is a weak father, no father or a tyrannical father, it will lead to feminized speaking patterns.
On that note: Deep, hoarse voices in women are a surefire indicator for daddy issues. Clear, bell-like voices are an indicator for positively feminine women.
Edit: Thank you guys, I did not expect this one to become my most successful post on TRP, yet. I will keep adding your questions to part VI and hunt down spelling errors.