How Should I Stop/Decrease Stuttering?

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JayKitty76
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Post by JayKitty76 » January 18th, 2019, 4:54 pm

This is a problem I struggle with, not just reading aloud but in everyday speech. It's decreased through the years, but when I get tense (sometimes that's when I record) I notice it really flares up. On a good recording day, I get maybe 1 or 2 stumbles per 10 minutes of recording; today when I tried to record my Exodus poetry chapter for my solo I got around 8-10 stutters in almost 3 minutes of recording. It's really frustrating and discouraging when it acts up: I think I have finally got a handle on it and then it comes back full-blast. I tend to say 'um' and then blend that into my word I'm saying (I usually get stuck on vowel sounds- today even saying 'end of section...etc' was difficult for me, and I got stuck). There is a problem with doing this, though: it makes me re-go over and prooflisten my entire recording, then go back and separate the completely blended 'um' with the word. This makes it sound (I'm not sure of the term) sudden and cut off. I've tried remembering to relax, but it only helps a little bit.
Do any of you struggle with stuttering/stumbling/getting stuck on words? If so, how do you control it/stop it? I'd appreciate any advice.

Thanks in advance,
JayKitty

annise
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Post by annise » January 18th, 2019, 6:11 pm

Hi Jay
I don't have any experience with stuttering although I did have years of speech therapy with one of my children and my husband had speech eccentricities.
But I have been here for a long time and have noticed that trying to please everyone with your reading is a pathway to disaster, and causes readers to worry more about how to read that what they are reading and I suspect that is what has happened to you.
So my advice would be.
Your current solo is a hard read - the sentences don't flow, the words are eccentric, so put it on hold for a bit and come back to it later.
And then just work on your confidence. You can read, you do understand the words, you've a nice voice. look around, find something that is an easy read, , just looking and reading a few sentences in your head should help you chose.
Then start recording yourself just see yourself reading to a friend, or a younger family member or your neighbour who can't see to read anymore and is a little deaf, or your dog - just anyone who wants to hear the story. Read straight through, if you stutter or goof say bother or goodness me or whatever in your head( don't say here I go again, wish I didn't stutter or anything at all self-derogatory) take a deep breath and just reread the phrase, if that doesn't work, just keep on.
I don't know anyone who can read with getting stuck on a word (see the bloopers thread)
Then listen only to the words and see what you can fix easily - like cutting out the repeats. If there is a bit you have to reread, read the whole sentence.

You may find your natural reading pace is too fast - as long as your reading is clear, that's really easy to fix in audacity, just highlight all and use the tempo in the effects, listen. You sound too slow? Undo and try less.

You can do it :clap: :clap:

Anne

annise
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Post by annise » January 18th, 2019, 7:24 pm

I deliberately did not listen to any of your Solo before answering, because I didn't want to seem to be commenting on it. but I just have listened to sections 1 and 2 and the finished product sounds great :thumbs: :thumbs: We just need some way to make getting there more easy.

Anne

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Post by mightyfelix » January 18th, 2019, 10:52 pm

First, don't be too hard on yourself. We all make silly stumbles. Definitely listen to the blooper thread. It's good for a laugh, but also is a rare chance for you to hear even "the best" readers struggling and to realize that it's not just you! Heck, you said that on a good day you might go ten minutes with only a couple of stumbles? I don't think I've ever done so well!

You'll never make a perfect recording the first time around, and that's ok. Sometimes I might record the same phrase six or seven times and still not be entirely happy with it. But I'd rather accept it and move on, even if it doesn't sound just how I want it to, rather than obsess over it and stress myself out and never finish. :)

Second, try to relax. There's no pressure. There's no audience. It's just you and your microphone. And all the time you need. :D

JayKitty76
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Post by JayKitty76 » January 19th, 2019, 12:24 pm

Thank you, Anne and Devorah.
That really encouraged me. Sometimes I get stuck in a sort of rut: I stumble and get discouraged, which makes me tense so I stumble more, and it's a vicious cycle. I'll take your advice, definitely, and relax....
Thanks, so much!

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Post by TriciaG » January 19th, 2019, 1:44 pm

Along with what the others have said...

My late grandmother was a knitter. She knit "boots" (slippers) for almost everyone she met! But there were days when, no matter how hard she tried, she was unable to knit well. They were her "off" days, I guess, when the stitches would drop and the yarn would tangle. So she just didn't knit on those days and came back to it another day.

I have "off" days when recording, too, when I simply cannot get the words out in the right order, or it just isn't working for me. It's frustrating! But I turn off the mic and close down Audacity and go do something else. It's just not worth it on those days.

Perhaps, if you're in one of your "this isn't working" episodes, it would be best to close Audacity and do something else. :) Try again in a few hours, or on another day.
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Post by tovarisch » January 19th, 2019, 2:15 pm

I don't want to pretend I know of a solution. I only heard that real stutterers use a "singing" approach to overcome their deficiency. It probably has something to do with longer breaths and thinking ahead of time of what you're about to say.

Vicious cycles of stress-induced inability to move forward can sometimes be broken by changing the scene, and I don't mean just stopping what you're trying to do for a time. Change something about your environment: the lighting, your clothing (try more comfortable, try more formal for a change), clutter on or around your recording space. See if something actually distracts you and/or adds to your being stressed, try to remove it.

And, do take it easy and don't forget to breathe. :thumbs:
tovarisch
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    to PLers: do correct my pronunciation please

SonOfTheExiles
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Post by SonOfTheExiles » January 19th, 2019, 2:56 pm

Firstly, I am neither doctor nor speech therapist, nor do I play one on TV.

That said...

I remember my Mum telling me that, back in her primary school days in the 1930s, she had a rotten teacher who tried to force her, a left-hander, to write right-handed. She started to develop a stutter, which only disappeared again (forever) when she was moved to another class with a lovely teacher who let her write with her left-hand.

From that, I take that sometimes emotional stress might possibly bring on or increase a stutter.

Is it possible that the material in question is affecting your emotions strongly? I know some of the stuff I read at times does. Would trying to temporarily disengage your emotions from your reading perhaps enable you to get through the passages more easily? I don't mean drone it out like an automaton. Just perhaps put those emotions in a viewer's gallery while you deliver the speech.


Regards,
Chris
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JayKitty76
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Post by JayKitty76 » January 21st, 2019, 4:32 pm

Hi Tricia, Tovarisch and Chris,
Thank you all for your excellent feedback. Every piece of advice I get helps me figure out what's going wrong, so thank you. I think I need to figure out the root of what's causing my stuttering (I know I said it's mostly stress, but sometimes I do stutter when I am feeling 'normal' [i.e., not really stressed].
Tricia,
Some days are 'off days' for me. I don't think I was completely aware of that before, but sometimes there will be days when I just can't do it, I'm too stressed or something else. In other words, on those days I just need to take a break or do something else on LV.

Tovarisch,
My recording space is very cluttered (we use the hutch that the PC is in for storage too) so maybe that is affecting me subconsciously. I'll try to organize it and see if it helps. And (this came to me as I typed) I've been getting headaches recently- I'm fine (they're normal headaches, not migraines or anything like that) , it's just painful and annoying. I think subconsciously it's stressing me out, and I realized that a lot of the time I am staring at the computer screen replying to posts and stuff on LV and after a long time I do recording. I end up having stared at the screen so long that I've gotten a headache,but I need to record...so I record with a headache. I think I need to be more conscious of the time I spend on screen, even doing LV, and get to the more timely stuff first (meaning record first, and do posts/stuff after).

Chris,
The material I use is a children's poetry book about the Bible, and each chapter is a line of poetry. I am a Christian, as I have said before in some previous posts, but the material isn't really explicit or dark, since it's for kids. I don't know if 'explicit/dark' is what you meant by it having the potential to cause emotional stress, but the book isn't that. (Here's the link- you can scan it and see what I mean if you want.)

viewtopic.php?f=12&t=72921

Thank you all for your feedback!
God bless,
JayKitty

tony123
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Post by tony123 » January 25th, 2019, 1:38 pm

Hi JayKitty,

I can remember going through various circumstances where the act of recording became an occasion for performance anxiety. I would start recording and feel like I was on stage and every bit of silence or every stumble was actually being heard. I knew that wasn't so, but I felt like it was.

Now I "feel" as well as know that when I record, I can do anything I want (make mistakes, go drink some water, stretch and yawn, and even grumble at my mistakes without actually getting upset).

Since I stand while I record, I don't use punch and roll techniques, where I could record over each mistake as I made it. That would require me to sit down, pause and reset my recording. Instead I use the trick many use of making a recording sound that marks a mistake and is easily recognized in my recording window so that I can identify it when I go back to edit the whole recording. I recently had to repeat a sentence 7 times before I got it right, and each mistake was marked with a long trill :P very different from the rest of the sound waves and easy for me to identify. Others use dog clickers, handclaps, or whatever to mark their mistakes.

My point is that I feel so much more at ease now that my "emotional" self realizes that I can simply let the software keep recording while I take my time and get things right. I know that there is absolutely no chance that I'll make a perfect recording. I relegate all of that fuss and worry to my editing after I've finished the whole recording. The better I get at editing my recordings, the less worry I have there too.

All this is a long winded way of wishing you, like everyone else, a stress free enjoyable recording experience. :)

JayKitty76
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Post by JayKitty76 » January 25th, 2019, 2:20 pm

Wow, thank you, Tony!
I never thought of marking the mistakes like that. I usually prooflisten the entire recording and edit as I go, but I can see the benefit of marking it. In a 20 minute section there may be only 3 mistakes, but I waste time going through everything else which is fine already :wink:
Thank you for your time and help in replying to me, it is all carefully thought about and put into action :)

God bless,
JayKitty

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Post by tovarisch » January 25th, 2019, 2:28 pm

JayKitty,

Please don't consider your "going through everything" a waste of time. I wish that I could always know a mistake as soon as I have made it. I do mark with a click the ones I do notice, and it does help (somewhat) while editing, yet I still listen to everything and fix everything I find. I think my rate of PL OK submissions while not 100%, is still in higher 90s because of that. The main reason for doing that is that my voice changes between takes (which are getting rarer and rarer nowadays) and I cannot precisely replicate the tone of my recording, so I prefer never to have to go back to add more or replace audio...
tovarisch
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    to PLers: do correct my pronunciation please

JayKitty76
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Post by JayKitty76 » January 25th, 2019, 2:31 pm

tovarisch wrote:
January 25th, 2019, 2:28 pm
JayKitty,

Please don't consider your "going through everything" a waste of time. I wish that I could always know a mistake as soon as I have made it. I do mark with a click the ones I do notice, and it does help (somewhat) while editing, yet I still listen to everything and fix everything I find. I think my rate of PL OK submissions while not 100%, is still in higher 90s because of that. The main reason for doing that is that my voice changes between takes (which are getting rarer and rarer nowadays) and I cannot precisely replicate the tone of my recording, so I prefer never to have to go back to add more or replace audio...
Thanks, tovarisch. I will definitely keep listening to the full recording, then :thumbs:

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Post by Foon » January 25th, 2019, 3:16 pm

I never go back and listen to the full recording. In my solos I've been doing a lot of very long recordings (over 1 hour) and I simply don't have that time to spend. Instead, I've gotten very used to actively monitoring myself while recording. Slight stumble? Mispronunciation? Slurred speech? I immediately stop, snap my fingers (giving a clear big short spike in the recording), and repeat the phrase from the start, or from a recent comma where there was a breathing space, i.e. so that the point where I need to edit it is during silence. I don't think about it long, just if there is a doubt of it needing to be better, I just redo it.
Next to that, I always have my recording open on my screen, so I can monitor what is happening there too. Getting a bit too excited and speaking too loudly? Snap fingers, redo. See a weird spike appearing from some kind of internal click in my laptop? Snap, redo. Etc.

Then after, I scroll through my recording from the start, and look for the spikes of my finger snaps. I also always have "mark clipping" or whatever it's called turned on, so there's a bright red line on my snaps. Then all I need to do is find the point before the line from where I restarted, and delete from there up to the start of my speech after the snap. Easy peasy.
The added benefit of the snaps + red lines is that when I zoom out, the red lines remain very visible. So after I'm done, I can at a glance see if I missed any editing spots.
Foon - Real life is getting in the way of LV, will be slow until all is back on track, please bear with me!


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Post by tovarisch » January 25th, 2019, 3:25 pm

You are obviously better than I at "monitoring" yourself. I *know* that even though I think about those things and listen to the surroundings (and pause when a truck rolls by or the neighbour's dog barks), I *shall* miss words or in the excitement substitute one for another. I am not a native English speaker, those things are "natural" to me, you know. :wink:
tovarisch
  • reality prompts me to scale down my reading, sorry to say
    to PLers: do correct my pronunciation please

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