Monday, October 24, 2005

PFSP-Day 6–Reduced Articulatory Pressure & 1 Second Stretch

After yesterdays, massive homework frustrations, I really wasn’t very excited about the program this morning. But in discussing our homework, I found out I was too far from the box, and was ramping back down just as I was approaching the appropriate volume. I tested this, and indeed that seems to have been my problem. There are so many things to remember and focus on, that sometimes the obvious eludes you … not that it’s that obvious.

We also discussed Plosives and their targets; the usual; Stretched Syllable (SS), Full Breath (FB), Gentle Onset (GO), Slow Change (SC), Reduced Air Pressure (RAP I), and a new one Reduced Articulatory Pressure (RAP II).

Reduced Articulatory Pressure is basically using as little force as possible in your vocal tract. So, when you make the ‘P’ sound, you only gently put your lips together and allow your voice to blow them apart. I was skeptical until I did it, but it sounds exactly the same as forcing your lips together. Then the first stretchable sound after the Plosive is stretched and started with a Gentle Onset. Missing the first stretchable sound, may lead to blocking later. Also, RAP I is implied with RAP II, so reducing the articulatory pressure will coincide with a reduction in air pressure.

Have you ever flattened a penny on the railway tracks as a kid? You put the penny on the track when you hear a train coming, then stand back. After the train passed, you are left with a flattened bit of copper the thickness of a blade of grass.

Well, my strategy for breaking through the ‘B’s, and ‘P’s of my life, has always been to attempt to crush my lips together with as much penny crushing force as possible. I realize this doesn’t make sense on a logical level, but when you are trying to get through the block, that’s what usually ends up happening.

Lori explained this type of Plosive block today. She said I am really blocking at the voice box level, and our vocal tract just continues the course it was on, until the voice shows up … which it never does. So I end up jamming my lips together, along with having all the other facial pressures, which accompany it. You know … I’ve had problems on ‘P’s and ‘B’s for 30 years, and always assumed my problem was at the lips! It wasn’t until she told me this, that I realized it was just another block!

And again, my shallow breathing was pointed out. I am not breathing with my abdomen, but instead am relying solely on my chest and shoulders. This comes up everyday, but I just keep repeating the same mistake. It’s really something I should work on. Perhaps I should add it to my nightly practice.

The highlight of my day was when we moved from the 2 second stretch to a faster 1 second stretch. I believe the sequence goes; 2 second, 1 second, ½ second, then slow normal. The faster I get to slow normal and get to actually start using these skills, the happier I will be. But if I get to a regular speed again, without maintaining the targets, then it’s all for nothing.

Not meant as advice, please find a qualified therapist if you are interested in similar therapy.


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