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The Non-Surgical Voice Repair has been my forte for well over 3 decades.

I’ve worked with both – regular people with speaking voiceproblems, ‘wannabes’ and, of course, professional singers. This blog is mostly about the professional singers who have done nothing but sang and performed most of their lives.

Understandably, the voice is their prime ‘instrument’ and, nevertheless, those artists’ livelihoods would very well depend on it. When, down the road, their voices would experience natural wear and tear, they would become alarmed and rightfully so.

Usually, it starts in the later stage of their professional lives, as their voice cannot withstand the same workability and sound pressure as it could in their younger years.

Not to mention that most of those artists are just simply talented, but they never had an exposure to the right vocal technique which would save and protect their voice for life.

So before they know, the symptoms of overworked voice begin to surface. Some of them are coming with per-nodule conditions or already with full-blown polyps or nodules on their vocal cords.

For many years, deep inside, they knew that something had dramatically changed with respect to their vocal performance. They realized it, but it usually takes some time to admit it, even to themselves.

As they go along, the condition keeps persisting and then they begin their internet search for a vocal cure. Some of them, out of desperation, jumping straight onto the operating table in hopes that when they will come out of the O.R., they will be as good as new and will sing as good as before and better.

The others are looking for a ‘magic pill’ and the conventional vocal instruction, not realizing that to deal with any vocal problem is a big task and it definitely requires a highly qualified voice specialist. It also requires them to be in cooperation with the instruction and treatment.

The majority of people are naturally very frustrated, extremely scared and totally obsessed with the sound of their voice. My recent US client, through the process of his per-nodule treatment, was literally coming on and off what I call a ‘vocal orgasm’.

When we have overcome his vocal injury and started the actual vocal instruction, not only was he flying off the handle from the excitement, but continuously kept listening to his own voice, forgetting that the next segment of the song was coming.

When I pointed it out, he said to me:

“But Diana, I am addicted; it is like a drug to me. I guess I am a vocal Junkie, as I am completely addicted to my voice now. I never herd my voice sounding this way for many years!”

With these words, he knelled down and touched my feet. That gesture suggests a great respect and admiration for a Teacher, Mentor or a Guru. I first had learned that from my former voice repair client, who came to me from India many years ago

He too did the same gesture to my enormous surprise then, and after I recovered from the shock of the unknown, he gave me the full blown explanation of that ritual.

Needless to say, to teach “an old dog new tricks” is not very easy.

We all know that bad habits die hard.

Due to that process, I have to free the artist from any ‘addictions’ he/she may possess:

  • Misalignment of the physical body
  • Poor connection between mental clarity and motor skills
  • “Dropped down the floor” jaw
  • Stuck out (as a pregnant ballerina), stomach (lol)
  • Fears and insecurities of accepting the new modality of the certain proper vocal and overall behavior
  • Elimination of what I call “vocal narcissism” behavior (me, myself and I, and…my voice)

The name of this game is to find a balance which has to be achieved by a performer on every level: mental, physical, emotional and vocal. Once the above is acquired, no addictions or bad behavior could take place, and not only vocally, but, as well, on an everyday basis.

Recovering the voice is my passion!

I love what I do, and I do what I love!

When the singer (amateur or professional) comes to me with the damaged voice, my biggest desire is to uncover and recover their voice and put them back on stage as soon as possible.

The vocal injury could play a big impact on a singer’s psyche.

In the year 2006, I received a professional singer from Hawaii, who previously was very much involved in their live music performances. Then he got diagnosed with a nodule on the right vocal cord.

It was devastating for him, as he no longer could perform and sustain his role in the music scene. He had to quit his singing and he became a pool-boy. You can imagine how discouraged and depressed he was. Nevertheless, his livelihood was depending on his voice.

When he arrived, he showed me his picture, which was taken right before his voice issue occurred. He looked at least 40 lbs. less then, and 10 years younger. And that was only 8 months before his voice problem happened.

Needless to say, it was a very intense syllable-on-syllable, word-on-word instruction (speech and singing); but it was very rewarding when he got on the other side, avoided the surgery and learned altogether a new way of speaking and singing, which would assure the safety and longevity of his voice for life.

Luckily, 8 years ago, the Skype and FaceTime were not as popular.  Nobody, in their right mind, asked me to fix this very personal and intimate “instrument” via Skype, FaceTime, or telephone.

The voice is an internal instrument, opposed to guitar or piano, which you could learn (to a degree) on the surface, and yes, perhaps, via internet. You cannot access the voice by remote means of technology.

Close human contact is required, and is a must!

To recover the voice is very gratifying for both my client and myself; but the holistic and overall global work, on a very personal level, should be present.

Without it, it would be just a gimmick, and not the real deal.

After completing the actual voice repair, I have to conduct a major vocal tune up for the now recovering singer.

I could compare it with a person who had a stroke, and who has to learn how to walk and talk again.

The voice repair client also should understand that after any rehabilitation (including vocal) you cannot start running the marathon right after the discharge from rehab, and should have the patience to gradually introduce all the once known skills back again, while concurrently adding newly adopted skills for overall recovery and prosperity thereafter.

Recovering the voice is my passion!

I love what I do, and I do what I love!

When the singer (amateur or professional) comes to me with the damaged voice, my biggest desire is to uncover and recover their voice and put them back on stage as soon as possible.

The vocal injury could play a big impact on a singer’s psyche.

In the year 2006, I received a professional singer from Hawaii, who previously was very much involved in their live music performances.

Then he got diagnosed with a nodule on the right vocal cord.

It was devastating for him, as he no longer could perform and sustain his role in the music scene.

He had to quit his singing and he became a pool-boy.

You can imagine how discouraged and depressed he was.

Nevertheless, his livelihood was depending on his voice.

When he arrived, he showed me his picture, which was taken right before his voice issue occurred.

He looked at least 40 lbs. less then, and 10 years younger.

And that was only 8 months before his voice problem happened.

Needless to say, it was a very intense syllable-on-syllable, word-on-word instruction (speech and singing); but it was very rewarding when he got on the other side, avoided the surgery and learned altogether a new way of speaking and singing, which would assure the safety and longevity of his voice for life.

Luckily, 8 years ago, the Skype and FaceTime were not as popular.

Nobody, in their right mind, asked me to fix this very personal and intimate “instrument” via Skype, FaceTime, or telephone.

The voice is an internal instrument, opposed to guitar or piano, which you could learn (to a degree) on the surface, and yes, perhaps, via internet.

You cannot access the voice by remote means of technology.

Close human contact is required, and is a must!

To recover the voice is very gratifying for both my client and myself; but the holistic and overall global work, on a very personal level, should be present.

Without it, it would be just a gimmick, and not the real deal.

After completing the actual voice repair, I have to conduct a major vocal tune up for the now recovering singer.

I could compare it with a person who had a stroke, and who has to learn how to walk and talk again.

The voice repair client also should understand that after any rehabilitation (including vocal) you cannot start running the marathon right after the discharge from rehab, and should have the patience to gradually introduce all the once known skills back again, while concurrently adding newly adopted skills for overall recovery and prosperity thereafter.

  • Should you continue singing the same way you have always been singing?
  • Should you ignore the unusual symptoms like hoarseness and dryness of the voice, loss of range, change of tone, etc.?

These are your answers;

You are a singer and have been for a long time.

Your voice has never let you down for some time now, but, as musicians like to say, there is no gig lasts forever! Now you are not just getting mature, but you are also getting older and have had a lot of shows under your belt.

Suddenly, you started noticing that you cannot reach the same high notes which you never had a problem with in the past, your tone of the voice is not the same and at times, you are even experiencing pitch problems, which you never had a problem with in the past. After the show, your voice and nevertheless, yourself, feeling exhausted and your voice sounds raspy and hoarse.

Those are very unfamiliar symptoms to you and now you are puzzled, concerned and even in panic.

Your livelihood depends on your voice…

You have multiple shows booked ahead…

A couple of years ago, I got a call from Chicago from a local radio DJ, who also was a singer. He was panicking, as he just had two polyps removed fromhis vocal cords and for a while, he thought that he could continue speaking and singing the same way as he always was. So he did; and then, to his surprise he found four new polyps on his vocal cords.

Why, you may ask?

He had a very successful vocal surgery and was able to start speaking and singing again in the while, just like before, so he thought. True, but since he did not change the way he was speaking and singing, naturally, those polyps returned and even multiplied by double.  The fact is that polyps have a viral nature and tend to multiply at all given times, especially if the manner of speaking and singing has not been modified.  When I asked the above mentioned person whether he wanted to come to Toronto to get the proper vocal instruction and natural herbal treatment, he said, “Oh no. I have a very busy performing schedule”.

Go figure!

He was planning to continue singing and speaking on the radio with all of his polyps and could not bring himself to the realization that there is definitely a time to stop and do something about it, and maybe this time around, non-surgically, by simply learning how to speak and sing properly - without the pressure on his vocal cords and his vocal box in general.

There is no change without change!

Once you notice the change in your voice, you should immediately stop and assess the situation. Obviously, your voice does not respond the way it used to be, and not only when you are singing, but even when you are speaking.

Any growth on your vocal cords like nodules or polyps will prevent your voice from acting normally, as it is an obstruction for the voice to fly freely from your vocal box out to the listeners.

It cannot be treated lightly and has to be addressed immediately. There is no time to pretend that nothing happened and continue to act as if it didn’t. Remember, by the law of averages, your voice will not get better on its own.

You need professional help!

My suggestion would be to try the alternative methods first before you agree to any surgical procedure.

My dentist once said to me, “It is never too late to pull the tooth, but please see the specialist first to find out if we can save it.”

As technology progresses, more and more, I have been asked if I could do my instruction and an actual voice treatment via Skype, FaceTime, or phone.

The people who are inquiring sincerely believe that the above is possible.

I have news for them, IT IS NOT!!!

The problem with the voice is a serious matter and it has to be treated seriously.

Yes, perhaps, you can learn how to play guitar or even piano remotely, but the voice is an “internal instrument” and it requires special manipulations with the body and body language to discover it, uncover it, and recover it from within; especially when it’s trapped in the neck, shoulders, and chest, not to mention throat and nasal passages.

In this case the physical body has to be completely balanced and centred, the subconscious and conscious mind have to be aligned, the intellectual understanding has to be totally coupled with motor skills, and thus the wholesome mechanism has to be in place to allow the voice to work in the fullest capacity possible with no pain or strain on the vocal anatomy.

When I’m recovering the voice, or even just instructing the person on how to speak or sing properly, I connect with that person on an intimate, so to speak, level of being (almost like a mother connects with her baby by umbilical cord).

Without that, the restoration of the voice, or even an instruction of voice placement for the healthy voice is not possible.

So now, you my reader, please tell me whether something like that described above could be achieved remotely, without the master instructor and the student being present, in person, in the same room?

So this is your riddle.

Nowadays, a lot of singers are susceptible to a variety of vocal disorders.

That happens because in the first place they never “owned” the right vocal technique, the kind which would prosper their voice to the fullest capacity possible; and at the same time it would save and protect their voice for life.

The result – Voice Disorder.

Now the process of restoration of one’s voice begins. A lot of those students, “who were really very good students,” have learned the wrong technique really well and formed it into their vocal habits. Not only do we have to fix their “vocal instrument,” so to speak, but also have to get rid of bad habits, like: dropping their jaws down, sticking their stomach out, scooping and sitting under the notes, excessively using their nasal passages, or their very throaty sounds.

It’s easier said than done, though.

Those habits are usually deeply embedded in the person’s psyche and the body muscles, which are also retaining the memory. Now we have to re-teach the body and the brain to feel differently, and rather than interfere with the voice, help the voice to be supported, structured, placed and projected to its aimed destination.

The lower abdominal muscles have to be conditioned to be tucked in for the greater support of the height of the sound.

The upper diaphragm muscles have to learn to work on the principle of an accordion, so to speak.

The singer has to be able to access the length of the phrase coming and open the upper diaphragm muscles accordingly. (No pun intended).

If the phrase is short, but the upper diaphragm open to the fullest, it will backfire, as the singer will not be able to close the diaphragm back in, and instead will end up working with the old air, the result of which, quite possibly, would produce hyper-ventilation, which in turn could cause shortness of breath, dizziness, heart palpitation, and deprivation of oxygen, altogether.

Al those symptoms could be completely deadly to the human body, and may not only damage the voice, but could become literally fatal. So the wrong singing business could be more dangerous than anybody could anticipate.

Therefore, it is a must for anybody who attempts any singing (even at the karaoke) to know what they’re doing vocally. You will not visualize a figure-skater who attempts to jump a triple-axle without a very specific training, as this, too, could result in a great injury.  So please do not attempt to do any vocal “escapades” unless you know predominantly what the result would be.

Thus, you would be able to prevent any vocal injury occurrence.

  • REALIZE
  • REVIEW
  • RELIEF
  • RE-BUILD

More and more people seem to be suffering from one or another cause of vocal damage. There are different symptoms and, of course, different causes. So the very first stage for the person with some kind of voice issue is to “Realize” that it is actually present. Something definitely changed in their voice quality, speaking and/or singing.

In the majority of cases the voice became raspy and hoarse, flat and dull. However, some people are totally in denial of it. Nevertheless, they feel a change in their voice quality anddelivery, but they would not admit it even to themselves. Then comes the time when the sufferers start self-analysis and begin to “Review” and analyze when and how the voice started subsiding and disappearing on them.

Next stage, they are looking for the “Relief” of their voice condition, as sometimes they have pain and discomfort in their throat, pain in their neck and shoulders, gastric acid reflux up their throat, as their voice has been drawn so low in its position that it meets gastric acid and the vocal cords could easily get burned quite significantly.

So the latter is the main part, as the person with all the symptoms actually has to find the cause of these conditions in order to outline the best course of action on how to approach their treatment. Once the cause is established, hopefully the cure will be on its way. Now the affected person has to choose the least invasive and the most productive course of action towards their condition. Some people want a magic pill, others run to get their polyps or nodules removed quickly, but some (with most analytical minds) will do a heavy duty research, will first choose a non-surgical approach to their voice disorder.

There is a saying, “Good things come to those who wait.”

It is true, but don’t wait forever, and stay in balance, as, if you are waiting too, too, long towards fixing your voice condition, it also might be too late to do it non-surgically and non-invasively. So now, after heavy duty research and studying, begin to “Re-build” your speaking and/or singing voice. Learn the right application of your voice and acquire a wholesome mechanism, so to speak, which will allow your voice to work in the fullest capacity possible, but with no pain or strain on your vocal anatomy. Utilize your facial and abdominal muscles and use them generously to produce the sound.

In this instance, your vocal box will be released from the pressure of the sound and thus be resting most of the time preserving your vocal anatomy for your lifetime. “All of the above is quite simple, but not easy at all.” One of my clients exclaimed.

Indeed!!!

“RRRR……”

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