Sunday, August 28, 2011

HAPTICULATE! (Learning new or changed pronunciation efficiently)

Clip art: Clker
I like that term . . . Among voice coaches, the asymetrical relationship between "bone conduction" (perception of one's own voice experienced through the bones of the face) and "air conduction" (awareness based on input via the auditory nerve from the ears) is generally a given. Estimates range from 80/20 to 60/40. Thus, in training programs, the internal "felt sense" of the voice is understood as primary. (This abstract of a  study looks at varying frequency ranges involved.)

Assuming that observation is essentially correct, or at least useful--and drawing on research cited in several recent posts on the relative strength of different modalities in speech production and comprehension, here are the fundamentals from a HICPR perspective on how to manage your attention (or those of your students), to learn a new or corrected sound with optimal efficiency. In brief, there are 4 basic components: (What function each fulfills has also been elaborated in previous blog posts.)

A. Breathe in through the nose, then breathe out through the mouth as the word or phrase is articulated, accompanied by specific modality management--with haptic anchoring. See B and C, below.)
B. Focus strongly on the felt sense in your personal Vowel Resonance Center (a point, typically, in the bones of the face between the eyes or thereabouts, where bone-sound conduction is experienced most intensely or, for some, at a point in the throat or chest when speaking). The breathing procedure in A helps to create and maintain that focus.
C. Manage the visual field (Visual Field Management). Do that either by focusing on a fixed point in front of you, tracking hand movements with eyes or closing your eyes--or some combination.
D. Perform 2 or 3 "pedagogical movement patterns" (basically sign language-like movements/gestures through the visual field, terminating with both hands touching on the key, stressed syllable –haptic anchoring) as the target word or expression is . . . well . . hapticulated!

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