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Articulate: Sibilance

Sibilance is the hissing, sticky sound of fricative consonants such as /s/ /z/ /dʒ/ and /sh/. They can be problematic if they become too sticky and affect adjacent sounds, but I love them. They embrace the flow of air in a tactile way. Applied with intention, they also never fail to create a mood.

Try making a hiss like a slow leak in a tire, or a particularly controlled snake. Observe the flow of your air and the sensation of the blade of you tongue in relation to the top of your mouth. Observe the sound — is it even in volume and intensity? What other muscles are engaged as you do this?

The results of this type of practice are efficient air flow, core engagement, observation of vibratory patterns in the mouth, and a more precise understanding of the engagement of sibilance so that it doesn’t sneak in where it is uninvited.

Practice Text: “Amidst the mists and fiercest frosts, With barest wrists, and stoutest boasts, He thrusts his fists against the posts, And still insists he sees the ghosts” from Donovan’s Brain by Curt Siodmak (1942) referenced in It and Danse Macabre by Stephen King.

GROW Voice, is a Boston-based business.  Founder and CEO, Gina Razón has taught voice and speech for over sixteen years to individuals, organizations and in academic settings.   She is sought after as a teacher of voice and speech, singing, and public presentation.  Gina has a BM and MM in Voice Performance, she is a practitioner of Fitzmaurice Voicework and a certified teacher of Somatic Voicework. She has served as the voice coach for TEDxCambridge and speaks at National and local events on all things voice and speech.  Gina is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, The Voice Foundation, the Voice and Speech Trainers Association and the National Speakers Association. More information at

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