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Practical Voice Therapy Part C - Vowel Shaping for Voice

presented by Robert Grider

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In this course the participant will explore the use of vowel shaping to help clients develop control of voice production. These techniques are useful in working with clients who need voice therapy to recover from voice loss, weakness, or dysphonia. These tasks are also helpful for the client who wants to improve either singing or speaking skills. While the vowels, diphthongs and blends will be particular to American English, the movements and patterns may be adapted to vowels common in other languages or cultures.

Meet Your Instructor

  • Robert Grider, MS, CCC-SLP

    Robert Grider has been a medical speech pathologist in private practice for over 25 years. He holds a masters degree in speech pathology from Eastern Illinois University, and has pursued an avocational study in areas of brain science, learning science, behavior and muscle function. He holds certification in speech pathology from the American Speech Language Hearing Association, license for speech pathology in the state of Minnesota, membership in Minnesota Speech Language Hearing Association, and membership in the International Association of Orofacial Myology. He also participates with his voice colleagues in the Minnesota Voice Colloquium.

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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  1. Introduction - the Forward Focus of Vowels

    1. Introduction - the Forward Focus of Vowels

    Discuss the key differences between vowels and consonants, identify optimal ways to produce the vowels to achieve the best vocal tract shaping, develop skills to help clients make the oral movements that will allow practice on clear vowel production, and describe a manner of producing vowels so that the sound is focused forward in the mouth.

  2. Vowel Shaping

    2. Vowel Shaping

    Develop strategies for shaping “ah,” This will include learning what clients may be doing incorrectly and creating increased jaw tension or larynx tension. Develop strategies for shaping “ee” in a different oral shape to allow a more forward placement of the sound. Develop strategies for shaping “aw” to shift the placement of the sound onto the lips and achieve better voice control. Develop strategies for shaping the “ih” sound to make the vowel more like the “ee” position, positioning the larynx in a lowered posture Develop strategies for shaping the “eh” sound so that the client can use this more neutral vowel with less throat tension and achieve a better sounding vowel. Develop strategies for shaping the troublesome “ae” (short “a”) so that the sound is produced with a more forward focus and with less larynx tension. This will include what to observe and how to teach the client to shape the vowel. Develop strategies for shaping the long short versions of “oo,” so that the vowel is focused at the lips and not back in the vocal tract. Develop strategies for shaping the “uh” sound, so that this vowel has the best vibration characteristics.

  3. Blending of Diphthongs

    3. Blending of Diphthongs

    Develop strategies for shaping the vowels for the long “I,” including what to observe for problems with clients and how to teach the client better movement patterns. Develop strategies for shaping the vowels for the long “a,” including the observation of the client for the more tensed phonation patterns and how to teach the adapted movement patterns to obtain the best sound. Develop strategies for shaping “oh” for clear focus of the sound to the lips. Develop strategies for shaping “ow” for forward focus of the sound and less larynx tension. Develop strategies for shaping “oi” for forward focus of the sounds and decreased larynx tension. Develop strategies for shaping “er” for clear vowel production and decreased throat tension.

  4. Contextualization & Anecdotes

    4. Contextualization & Anecdotes

    Articulate strategies use precise, objective teaching for clients that will allow the client to accurately make changes in voice production. Discuss relevant examples of vowel shaping in real life situations