Performance Coaching for Television News & Sports Talent
“My producer keeps telling me that my pitch is too high.”
“I don’t like the sound of my voice – I think it sounds too high.”
“Will smoking and drinking whiskey help me get a deeper voice?”
Elevated pitch, or a voice that is “too high”, is a common complaint for both male and female clients. Why is the pitch high and what can be done about it? Why is it an issue?
Why is it too high?
Does the phrase, “you need more energy,” sound familiar? Too often, “energy” gets translated into high pitch and fast pace. In an effort to create “more energy,” we typically tense up and push too much vocally. Tension can lead to a higher pitch – the muscles are tight and the voice is not supported by the breath.
Why is it an issue?
For reporters and anchors, a high pitched voice results in feedback that you sound young and immature, weak and nervous, or frantic and unsure. This is mostly due to the combination of high pitch and fast rate of speech.
To correct this issue, you might try forcing your pitch lower. Unfortunately, in an effort to force the pitch lower you may develop vocal habits that can be harmful to your voice over time and produce a sound that is inauthentic – the “anchor man” voice.
Forcing the voice lower also introduces tension into the voice and can result in vocal fatigue and limited vocal variety. It can also lead to vocal fry, the “creaky” vocal quality that has been much maligned of late (think Ira Glass).
So, how can you work on getting a deeper voice in a healthy way?
There are a few things you want to check on when you get ready to go on air:
Breath. Make sure you are breathing properly. Focus on dropping your breath lower in the body. You should feel your abdomen EXPAND as you INHALE and COLLAPSE as you EXHALE (it is surprising how many people breathe backwards). High, shallow chest breathing will introduce tension into the muscles of the shoulders and neck which can lead to a high, thin vocal quality. Diaphragmatic breathing will also help you settle down and ground yourself.
Warm up. Try humming from a high note down to a low note. Try starting your track or your hit from the lower part of your range to let you have more space to elevate your pitch when you want to emphasize something.
On air / in the booth. Check to make sure you are relaxed in your body. You want to have soft knees, relaxed lower back and abdomen, as well as loose shoulders, neck and jaw. Keep your body engaged and animated without pushing to be loud.
Don’t push. Increasing volume can result in heightened pitch. Pull back on your volume just a bit but maintain the animation in your gestures and your facial expressions.
Homework. During your time away from work, do gentle glides on a hum up and down through your range to explore your lower register. The humming will also help you feel your voice more in the front of your face, which adds more resonance and dimension to your tone.
If you continue to get the feedback that your voice is too high, find a coach to help you make adjustments in a healthy way.
Barry has been coaching television news and sports talent at all levels since 1982. Every night around the world, millions of people get their news from anchors and reporters he has trained and consulted.
Tony is an award-winning journalist and a master coach. In addition to his extensive work with news and sports talent, he leads our work with Spanish-language newscasts and coaches MMJs.
Barrett is a performance coach and visual image specialist, She is an especially good resource when improving the look of your team is a priority.
Jonathan is a veteran newsroom manager and coach. He understands how much performance depends on the people who support it, and he works as effectively with producers and writers as he does with talent.
Jenni specializes in the development and care of the speaking voice. Contact her especially when you have concerns or questions about the way your talent sound and read.
Patty is our long-time office manager. When you have an administrative question for us, she'll have an answer.
When you have an immediate need, we can respond faster than ever. When your resources are limited, we can work with your team without incurring travel expense. And if we are visiting your station regularly, we can followup more powerfully than ever before.
All you need on your end is a computer with high-speed internet access and a camera. We take care of the rest.
All of our services are also available of Spanish-language news and sports talent and for the news and sportscasts that they serve. Contact Barry Nash or our Spanish- language coach, Tony Martinez, for more information.
We are a team of coaches who specialize in the training and development of television news, weather and sports talent.
In all cases, our goal is to provide the resources talent need to achieve "Breakthrough Performance" -- delivery that engages the minds and hearts of viewers, demands their attention, and inspires their loyalty.
When performance feedback is a priority on your end, we make it one on ours. Do send us an email, we'll take a look and come back to you confidentially without obligation.
Address : 2410 Farrington Street
Dallas, Texas 75207