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Recently, we had an inquiry from a singer situated in Europe who had been diagnosed with Spasmodic Dysphonia.

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“I was diagnosed with spasmodic dysphonia, and the doctor wanted to give me Botox injections, but I refused because the risk of not being able to sing well afterwards (I am a singer) was too great! So my question is, Can you help me get my voice or a better voice back? Is it possible to get instructions via Skype. I live in Amsterdam, the Netherlands!”

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Below is my answer.

Hi There,

I have to note that it is a little unusual to be diagnosed with spasmodic dysphonia, when you are a singer. Usually, it happens to people who are not singers, but just regular (or professional) speaking voice users.

But, nevertheless, it is a very serious problem and in conventional sense, cannot be treated, let alone cured. And yes, the only treatment they could offer is the Botox, which in majority of cases, will not work or will work temporarily and for a very short period of time.

In any case, it is not a solution. The problem is clearly mechanical. The mechanics of voice performance has to be put in place, which by itself is an incredibly complicated process.

Needless to say, you will have to be in front of me IN PERSON. There is no other way!!! There is a lot involved, especially with a disorder like this. Your whole body has to be put in balance, and then your vocal anatomy has to be cleaned up and strengthened.

Ultimately, your whole being has to be restructured.

Your vocal box has to be rebuilt and cleansed from such impurities like mucus and gastric acid. Concurrently, your voice has to be lifted off of the vocal box, off of the vocal cords and re-channeled to the alternative muscles (your facial muscles/cavities). Those muscles also have to be strong enough to accept the power of the sound, just like the person who wants to build their body and who needs, for that matter, to have strong cavities where the muscles will be able to come in and stay in.

Those facial muscles will have to be put to work in full conjunction and coordination with the abdominal muscles, which will play the role of the sound support during the lift and structure. For example: The upper diaphragm muscles will assure the width and the body of the sound, whereas the lower abdomen muscles will be responsible for the height of the sound.

I can assure you that, once lifted; the spasms of the voice will be significantly reduced and eventually eliminated. As you probably already understand while reading the above, that to do it remotely would be out of the question.

I am planning to travel to the UK within the next couple of months to teach and repair voices. It is only about a one-hour flight from you to London. I travel to clients very often and just came back from Dallas, Texas. In 2015, I was working out of the UK a few times. I have been in Amsterdam momentarily and would not also mind to come to you there.

Obviously, it will not be a cheap endeavor. But if you are serious about fixing your speaking and singing voice and learn how to sing professionally with no pain and strain in your vocal anatomy, this is your chance.

However, before committing myself for anything like that, I need to hear your voice over the phone to be sure that I could achieve the results we are both looking for.

So, if the above is OK with you, please e-mail me back and we will schedule a phone call to determine if we could work together.

 

That’s all for now.

Best regards,

Diana Yampolsky B.M. Ed.

World-renowned Voice Repair Specialist

Specializing in Extreme Voice Disorder Cases.

Alternative and holistic approach to voice mechanics.

The Royans Professional Vocal School

Division of The Royans Institute for Non-Surgical Voice Repair

www.vocalscience.com

www.repairyourvoice.com

416-857-8741

077 88 98 9319 while in the UK

Any Non-Surgical Voice Repair starts with voice/vocal, physical, mental and definitely emotional assessment.

Being a voice repair specialist for much over 3 and half decades, I could, with absolute certainty say, that all the above-indicated aspects of the human being behavior, are definitely have to be addressed.

There is no voice repair process I could start without assessing not only just the voice/vocal problem, but the shape and form of the physical body which defines, so to speak, an “instrument” and the rest of the components, such as mental and emotional, would define a “player” in this instance. The voice usually is never the cause.

The cause of the vocal disorder lies far beneath. There are a lot of factors (many of them from the deep past) that could lead to the voice issues.

Let’s take, for example, the physical aspect of it –

If the person’s diet, for the longest time, had consisted of a lot of dairy, fatty, creamy and mucous-filled foods, the voice (even without any particular damage), may sound a little hoarse and raspy. And thus the tone of the voice could change also (to a somewhat lower or unnaturally higher tone compared to how it had been sounding originally). In this case, the voice cure is quite easy. Once the diet is cleaned up, and the physical body is at least remotely exercised, the voice exponentially will become better sounding.

The other problem, which contributes to the voice issue, is the posture. A lot of clients of mine have been coming to me with slouched backs (some even with scoliosis). Due to that, they are usually standing with their pelvis sticking out (in my book – “Vocal Science – Flight to the Universe”, it is described as a “pregnant ballerina mode”).

So now visualize, my reader, that if even the best violinist who would hold his violin and his bow upside down and, on top of it, his violin would have been broken to pieces, would he be able to extract any sound from that inadequate instrument…?

Sounds pretty scary, ha? Scary indeed, but that’s the fact!

Evidently, in a case like this, the physical body is completely out of balance. So, in this instance, the mental, physical and emotional balance has to be addressed first and that is a must!

Understandably, the mental and, especially, the emotional state of such clients is also quite questionable.

Clearly, they have been through a lot before they have reached my studio/clinic. All of the imbalance and all of their fears have been definitely, very much so, present. In most cases, they have no idea why it is happening to them, unless their voice disorder was a result of the obvious accident, or careless surgical procedure. So they are naturally upset and, in many cases, depressed and are looking for a very fast and, preferably, “magical” solution. The majority of them say after the fact that it was the hardest thing that they have done in their entire life.

I, personally, agree and disagree.

If the persons mind is sound and if it does connect and correspond with their motor skills, the process becomes much easier.

Those who, in their childhood, embarked on post-curriculum activities, such as: Ballet, Gymnastics or Figure Skating for that matter, experience less problems with the above aforementioned skills.

They are accustomed to think on a parallel track with their actions (whichever ones they may be). The rest of the population, in a manor of speaking, is “playing it by ear”.

However, what all of them, independently, have in common, is definitely ‘quite disturbed’ emotions. It is also, however, quite understandable; but it is obviously a big drawback to their voice/vocal recovery.

Nevertheless, that comes with the territory.

So all of those issues, much before the vocal issue, have to be addressed first.

In other words, the “field” has to be cleared and then the voice restoration process shall begin.

Conducting voice repairs for so many years, I have never seen so many people who not only had their voice compromised, but also their whole life (their mental and emotional state), appear to be quite challenged. Some of them, of course, were more stable and more present then others.

Those whose mental and emotional state was, to say the least, quite shaky, had a much harder time to achieve the holistic transformation of their emotions, their altered way of thinking, and had a hard time accepting their newly sounding Voice as, nevertheless, some of them had completely forgotten how their real voice actually sounded before they discovered that they had acquired a Vocal Disorder.

You would think that somebody just had a loss of voice …?

So what, you may ask? “Let’s find a way to bring it back and make everybody happy”, you would think! Unfortunately, it’s not that easy at all!

Many times before, I said: “The voice is a reflection of the state of your being and, in most times, is the identification of who you actually are.”

Such tragedy, as the loss of one’s voice, could affect the whole state of being of that person. The sufferer has lost his communication tool which, evidently, nobody would be happy about. The person becomes sad, upset and eventually becomes depressed and often ceases communication with the outer world. Now, due to that, his/hers relationships are in danger; friends are lost due to lack of communication and the spouses who are trying to offer support can often be rejected.

And then the whole saga begins…

To give you an example:

Just in the recent past, the very young looking, 50 year old Toronto musician entered my studio with quite severe voice damage. He has been singing in a band on and off for the last 30 years and acquired quite a few very bad habits which had, evidently, cost him his singing voice. I thought, “Wow! It’s right up my ally to help him to restore his Voice and put him back on stage to do what he loves to do the most” – Fronting a Country Rock band.

So I began to do my assessment and evaluation of him and his voice and found, very shortly, that the person in front of me actually did not know where he was coming or going, so to speak. It was very difficult for me to collect his “consciousness”, presence and emotions, all in one place.

As if the person in question is completely out of balance, it would be virtually impossible for me to get to the root of the problem and then begin the process of recovering his voice, (which had been deeply buried) onto the surface and balance it relatively and respectively to his physical, emotional and mental state. With great difficulty, almost 2 hours later, my assistant, myself and my client begin to hear the difference in the sound of his voice. By that time, it was quite lifted, structured, placed and projected to its aimed destination.

It seemed to be that my client was in the process of understanding where he was when he first entered my studio and where he arrived (after a lot of explanations and manipulations) to balance his voice and make the wholesome vocal mechanism work to his advantage.  I was very blunt with him and told him the absolute truth about his inner state and his voice condition. He added, at the end of the session, that he just went through a quite difficult divorce, which probably added to his already fragile state.

With the Vocal Science method at my disposal, I was more than certain that I could help him on every level.  I advised him that I would need at least 30 hours of instruction, counseling and natural herbal and homeopathic treatment. Since he was local, I was even ready to start with just an introductory 10 hour course to make it easier for him financially and emotionally.

Unfortunately, at this time, he said that he was unable to embark even on a 10 hour course and treatment; and added at the end of his e-mail that he thinks that if he does not sing at all, his voice will heal itself…

Go figure!

That came after he spoke over an hour with me on the phone and then spent over two hours with me in person. Needless to say, I got puzzled for a minute or two…?

But then I understood that all of my observations of this potential client were more than correct. He, obviously, wanted change without change, (in a manner of speaking); as he was afraid of any conceivable change whatsoever!  So he created a story that I was the one who told him to keep out of singing to fix his voice…?

Honestly, I have never heard such nonsense from any of my clients before!

He has been suffering with this voice inadequacy for over 4 years and had been through the ringer, no doubts. He has been seeing a lot of medical professionals and speech therapists as such. So, obviously, he was in a little ‘mixed up’, state of mind and, obviously, completely out of balance on every level.

I, actually throughout his voice restoration, would be able to not only fix his voice and put him back in his “vocal shoes”, ( A direct expression by one of my former voice repair clients), but also put his mind, body and soul, working in full synchronicity with each other.

The conclusion of it is; that without achieving the latter, no form of voice mechanics would be adequate in the absence of the human totality.

Do not ever give up hope! Do not ever listen to the, so-called medical professionals prompting you to accept your voice condition and learn how to live with it!

How pathetic is that?

They do not offer any solution and could not care less that you had spent most of your life on stage singing and do not know or want any other lifestyle, but the one you like and love.

One of our former clients (throat cancer survivor) was told exactly that and was encouraged to be thankful to be alive.

Meanwhile, that very client had spent over 45 years on stage playing guitar and singing in a rock band. After chemo and radiation, his fingertips lost the sensation of touch and his voice was forever raspy and hoarse, (both speaking and singing).

How frustrating could that be? My answer would be; above and beyond! Even though my client was suggested to accept it and “be happy to be alive”, he certainly did not want to follow that guidance.

To his credit, he never stopped looking and searching. Within only 4 days obtaining private instruction and natural herbal treatment and attending an exploratory group session, he was able to sing in a karaoke establishment, which was located near the proximity of our studio. The owners of the place were asking me why I was hiding such a good singer? And when I attempted to tell them that he was an American and came here only for a few days to fix his voice, they gave me a dirty look and said, “yeah right!”.

I got somewhat puzzled for a second, but then started to think to myself, (“this is a perfect testimonial”). Nobody could even suspect that my poor client, who went through so much, was singing straight after his voice repair got completed and, believe it or not, he actually sounded awesome!

In his post course letter, Tim Bristol of Niagara Falls, New York, said:

“I am singing away – my voice improves a little each week thanks to you. I am amazed: the doctors – the “experts” – just keep saying ‘nothing can be done, be happy for what you have left’ and they’re wrong.  You have proved them wrong with your vocal approach.”

“Stay Warm!”

– TimB

So help yourself by still keeping your hopes up!

Don’t be afraid to part with your vocal disorder and search for the “light at the end of the tunnel”.  And if you are determined to see that light, you will come out of the dark spot by being guided by the person who has the right tools, good intentions and your interest at heart; by the person who not only knows, but who also cares to get you where you are going in a fast, safe and efficient manner.

In the end, you will be the one who will be carrying the torch for your voice, for your health and for your success overall.

Love yourself; Love your voice! Help yourself to achieve your goals in life. And if your goal is to be a healthy and a well-sound individual, make it the mission of your life!

Remember… There is no mission… which is impossible!

This Holiday season, we wish you the best of voice and the best of health and prosperity for this upcoming New Year and always!

For the last 42 years, I worked on a lot of voices; fixing them, restoring them or just turning amateur speakers and singers into professionals. I have to say that the attitude of all of those people who were seeking my services had vastly changed. I am advocating for the last decade.

Before 2005, people in general were happy-go-lucky, so to speak. They were gladly making commitments to work on their voices to whichever degree it was needed, gladly kept their appointments and happily paid for ourprofessional services.

Needless to say that, in the past, the music scene in Toronto was pretty much thriving and was attracting a lot of wannabe singers. There were a lot of bands formed at high and even middle schools, let alone Universities. Those guys and girls had a goal in mind; they wanted to become well-known singers/performers, they wanted to win various competitions and they did not mind to work hard to achieve their goals.

You could see those kids and young adults walking all over the city with guitars on their backs and amplifiers. For the last few years, I personally could not spot anybody dressed like a musician, having a specific musician-like haircut or carrying any music instruments with them. I asked one of my young adult students’ what his generation, nowadays is interested in.

He said that people like him, between 20 and 25 years of age, are interested in videogames and are searching online for an opportunity to make money to buy more games and whatnot.

How sad is that?

Where have their aspirations gone with respect to actually becoming somebody?

Where have their belief in themselves gone? The belief that they actually could become somebody, provided that they would be willing to work hard andsmart on their craft? What about their heart and soul? How will they become fulfilled?

My fear is that all those essential values are “gone with the wind”. As I said many times, that my definition of the human voice is equivalent to the human spirit. If the voice is shut down, usually, the spirit is not exactly thriving.

Given that, I am wondering…  Are we raising future robots? At times, I believe that we do. How scary is that?

I think that the problem is also that the music industry does not care anymore about their artists’ quality of singing.

It is becoming a complete ‘scary-oke’ (made up from the word Karaoke).

Singing off key, off tone and off tune has become our standards! Since nobody cares anymore for the quality of the voice, it has become acceptable!

Not enough that it is hurting everybody’s ears, it is, no doubts, hurting the so-called artist’s voices. So, needless to say, sooner or later, those artists begin to lose their voices and acquire all kinds of vocal issues.

Not specifically trained, they experience, so called ‘wear and tear’ on theirvocal anatomy. Some of them end up with a growth on their vocal cords likenodules, polyps, and lesions. Others end up with vocal cord strain, which could easily turn to, what’s called, sulcus vocalis, which is obviously not a very pleasant disorder. In this case, the vocal folds are split far from each other and are not coming back together in synchronicity to produce the proper sound.

For singers, it is a very common problem, which is identified as muscle tension dysphonia, (when the voice gets stuck in the neck muscles).

For those who have problems with their speaking voice, could also easily acquire not only muscle tension dysphonia, but also what’s called Spasmodic Dysphonia, (where the voice spasms uncontrollably). Luckily, the latter is less characteristic for the singers.

Also, to compare the old good times with nowadays, I have to say that even people with quite extensive voice problems, are not as eager to fix their voice/vocal disorder as before. Believe it or now, they become accustomed to their voice/vocal problem and learn to LOVE IT…?

How so, you may ask?

They get used to the sound of their ill voice and find comfort within it! Moreover, they are afraid to lose the attention from others, which they get used to and, almost, begin to feel “privileged”. They keep saying to themselves and others that they would do anything to fix their voice issue and they do believe that they would.

And in previous years, they actually did!

Now, they seem to love not being able to work and get their disability cheques! It sounds quite unbelievable. But believe it…   This is the fact, as strange as it sounds! Yes, in times, some people cannot afford professional services to attend to their voice. We are being more then liberal and generous to these type of clients and have been offering them very significant discounts.

You would think that they would take the first flight and beg us to fit them in at the first available opening! Not such a case at all! I personally believe that everything depends on the level of interest. If somebody really wants and needs something, they will find a way to obtain it.

Unfortunately, by our experience, it occurs less and less. Our potential clients are sitting afraid to let go of their voice problem, to apply the time and effort to treat it and being afraid to part with their money.

One of my former clients, who was a throat cancer survivor and obviously had a very big problem with his speech and hardly was understood, was reluctant to pay my fees for 20 hours of instruction and treatment.

When I asked him how he, otherwise, would like to spend his money, he said that he would spend it to go on a vacation.

Then I asked him if he would enjoy that vacation, speaking the way he was? To his credit, he got my drift and, momentarily, paid for his course and natural treatment.

To conclude: We would like to wish you the best of voice and, naturally, the best of health. We wish you to use your sense and make a New Years’ Resolution; to feel and become your absolute healthy self, voice-wise and otherwise.

Love Your Voice – Love Yourself!!!

The voice disorder such as a paralyzed vocal cord is definitely “not a picnic” to put it mildly. Usually, this condition occurs due to a related or non-related surgery. It occurs very often during the thyroid extraction or spine fusion, where the neck is involved. It actually could occur in any surgery where intubation takes place.

The fact is that majority of the hospitals here in Canada and in the United States are the teaching hospitals. What that means is that these kind of procedures are not necessarily conducted by the appointed specialist(s), but are being performed by medical interns or even by medical faculty University students. Those young doctors to be are obviously still learning and do not have experience how to insert those tubes correctly. Thus, the occurred mistakes, which could cause the patient a severe damage of their vocal box, could be crucial to one’s life.

So the patient who went in to the operating room with a perfectly good voice, woke up a few hours later and discovered that their once precious and absolutely normal sounding voice, was not performing the regular way as before the surgery. Some of the patients, though, were assured and reassured by their doctors that it is a natural consequence of their surgery and the voice will get restored on its own…?

Unfortunately, that is never the case. In most cases, the vocal cord(s) is damaged and, worst of all, paralyzed. So the patient’s speech becomes very raspy and hoarse, heavy and strained and it is sometimes very difficult to understand what that person is trying to say. Understandably, those patients are extremely upset and frustrated and some are severely depressed and even feel suicidal. Is there a cure? From the medical point of view, there is not.

Could it be treated in such a way that this type of patients will speak more clear and more pronounced, will be more understood and feel that their throat and neck are released from the pressure of the sound, and thus they will feel more at ease and feel much lighter and brighter? Absolutely!!!

From where I sit, with special speech exercises, coupled with the certain body movements, I would be able to lift their voice off of the vocal cords and restructure it in a different set of muscles (facial muscles), which will begin to work in full conjunction and coordination with the abdominal muscles and thus, the use of the throat, larynx and vocal cords will be minimized and practically eliminated. Also, via same, but more in depth exercises, in the less severe cases, I would be able to induce, if not the full movement of the vocal cord, but at least a partial movement of one. Moreover, the natural herbs and some homeopathic remedies will be administered onto the patients’ vocal box to lubricate, heal and strengthen it.

Needless to say, the impurities like mucus and gastric acids will be eliminated from one’s vocal anatomy. As far as I am concerned (and so are over 20,000 clients I have attended to), it is a Genius Approach that Definitely Does Work!

I am grateful to God everyday for the gift of healing I received from the above.

Really… Bad Singing!

WARNING!! Please be advised that it is a subjective opinion piece. Reader’s discretion is advised!

Last night, we happened to catch a concert which originated in Paris and the venue held, no doubts, over 60,000 people! It was truly packed.

To the credit of all those people and the two well-known bands, in spite of the unstable political situation, the concert went on and actually, to my surprise, was very well received.

While watching the concert, I became more and more scared that singing (off key, off tone and off tune) is becoming our standard.

I originally came from Leningrad, (St. Petersburg, Russia), and was deeply enrolled from the age of 6 in all sorts of music. Education in Russia is taken very seriously; so I spent 12 consecutive years, 7 days a week doing music and, specifically, singing.

I, apparently, possessed ‘perfect pitch’ which, I am not sure right now that I still have.

I have been teaching singing since I was 17. That makes it close to 42 years now and 32 years in my own school here in Toronto.

I have taught an estimated 20.000 students over the years and I think that has also contributed to my ears not being as sharp as they once were.  But lately, it is not as many students, but so called Artists and some of them, surprisingly enough, with big names.

Watching the aforementioned concert from Paris, I could not believe my ears, as at least 85% of so-called ‘singing’, by both bands, was beyond my comprehension. I felt scared, frustrated and embarrassed for them.

However, again to their credit, it was commendable that they actually put the concert together, not being scared that something bad might take place. I, however, was scared that something bad may take place and not just on the premise of bad singing, but on the premise of totally unacceptable singing!!!

We all know that the world has gone crazy, but until yesterday, I was still hoping that it had not gone completely deaf and, I am sorry to say, dumb (to put it politely). Even now, here in Toronto, almost every morning on our news station, there are new up and coming “singers/songwriters” being profiled and introduced to the public.

This is the next miniature horror.

They are introduced like they are the next best thing since sliced bread!

To be generous, maybe one percent of them could squeak out a couple of notes remotely resembling singing!

How sad is that? For me, it is sad beyond words!!!

I have spent over 35 years here in Toronto teaching all kinds of singers – beginners and professionals…

For the last few years and especially since the recession, my singing business had somewhat slowed down, and I am not even surprised. I guess there is no point in coming and paying the money to learn how to sing.

I must note, however, that my Non-Surgical Voice Repair business is thriving exponentially. Why so, you may ask?

Because incorrect, (bad singing) could easily cause voice damage.

It is not a secret that almost every second well-known Artist had undergone, or has been scheduled to undergo, a vocal surgery.

The lack of knowledge and training is the main cause of the voice disability of one who puts enormous pressure, (due to occupational hazard) on their voice.

In the United States and in Europe, all of those shows like American Idol and even The Voice are suggesting that you could be discovered “out of the blue” and become an “instant star”.

So why learn anything?

Go and try your luck or, easier yet, upload yourself singing on YouTube

All of that suggests that you do not need to work hard on your craft (why bother and spend time and money on it), like in the good old days. For example, the singing group “The Platters”, were able to record off the floor (without digital recording and the use of Auto-Tune or Melodyne).

However, my burning desire last night while watching those two famous bands play, was to somehow plug in to their microphones or floor pedals, some kind of Auto-Tune to save not only mine, but hopefully some other people’s ears.

But… OH NO!!!

This was a “TRUE LIVE PERFORMANCE”!

Go figure…

Where was that technology when you TRULY needed it?

Thank you for reading.

Please be advised that it is a subjective opinion piece.

Reader’s discretion is advised!

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