The Albuquerque Journal Home Page
July, 1998 Sage Magazine Page 5

NETWORKING       Specifically... news for women

You Needn't Keep The Voice You Hate

The Voice You Needn't Keep.
   Many of us hate our voices. Too soft, too little-girl-sounding. But we think there's nothing we can do about it.
   Not true, says Sandra McKnight, who is conducting a workshop called "Change Your Voice, Change Your Life" from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., July 29, at the Albuquerque Petroleum Club, 500 Marquette Ave. NW.
   "Most of us just adopted the voice we heard one of our parents use," McKnight says. "In some cases, we started speaking very softly because Mom was an alcoholic and wanted everything very quiet.
   "On some level, people realize it's not their voice — on a technical level and on a 'who-am-I' level. It doesn't feel like the right voice."
   McKnight, a voice teacher and actress (you may have seen her as Nora Phillips
on "General Hospital"), says a motivated person can change her voice in six or seven sessions. The workshop is a start and can make an immediate difference; often small group classes develop afterward.
   "The voice is the megaphone of the soul," says McKnight. "The way you sound at any given time is who people think you are. When you have control of your voice, you have the power to control the impression you create.
   McKnight speaks from experience. At her first audition, when she was trying to break into acting, the director barked at her: "Miss McKnight, please come down off the stage." She did, and he said, "If you want to work in this business, get rid of that voice."
   She burst into tears, but the director told her not to worry, just to go find a
voice teacher at Julliard in New York. She worked seriously on changing her voice and successfully got rid of what she called her nasal, Pittsburgh accent.
   McKnight started teaching voice to actors in Los Angeles about 10 years ago and was soon asked by some businesses to work with their telemarketers. When sales took off because of improvements in voice and speech techniques, the word quickly spread. Since moving to New Mexico, McKnight has worked with such businesses as Intel, US West, the University of New Mexico President's Office, as well as individual clients.
   The cost of McKnight's workshop is $150 and includes a catered lunch. To register, call 466-6500 or e-mail .
                          — Polly Summar