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Archive for December, 2015

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.

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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!

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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!!!

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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.

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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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By the common opinion, they hardly, if at all, can restore a speaking voice, let alone a singing voice.

Usually what brings speakers and, moreover, singers in trouble, is overuse and improper use of the voice which could, no doubt, lead to a mechanical problem within one’s vocal anatomy.

And thus, the voice, (speaking and or singing), becomes dysfunctional.

The Singers especially need to recover their voice mechanics and none of the registered and non-registered speech therapist had been trained to do so. However, lately, (must be due to the recession), those troubled singers are having wild fantasies of using their (or their spouses’) insurance, trying to appoint a speech therapist to work on their SINGING VOICE!!!

Clearly they’re upset minds do not allow them to think straight and the only thing they could think of is how to save money, instead of how to spend money wisely to get what they are after – their new healthy and rejuvenated voice and the knowledge of how to preserve it for a lifetime!

This past July, I received a client from Florida, US who, prior to booking my services, advised me that she is a teacher and she has been experiencing strained and hoarse voice and difficulty speaking all day and attend to young children.

By the end of the conversation, Holly had said: “ I like to sing too….” I didn’t think much of it, as I presumed that she was mainly coming to work on her speaking voice. Then Holly arrived to my Group Exploratory Session. And when I asked everybody to introduce themselves, (stating who they are and speak of sing their peace), she suddenly started singing a peace from the musical “Put On A Happy Face!”.

I was thoroughly surprised, as I had never expected that!

Holly was just very lucky as, needless to say that ,besides me being able to restore her speaking voice, I have had an extensive experience in teaching and developing Artists of all and any imaginable genres and musical theater was one of them.

Imagine if she had just landed at the regular, (perhaps registered), speech therapist’s office?

Maybe, just maybe, she would end up having a slight improvement in her speaking voice but, obviously, her singing voice would not even be up for discussion, (or on the radar for that matter).

Please take a look on the before and after instruction video of Holly Rubich.

 Holly pic 1

Please also read her post-course letter below and you will get the picture (no pun intended).

……………………………………………………………………………

“First of all, I had a lot of hoarseness in my voice, which had cleared up after the first 10 hours I took in July with Diana.”

“Not right away, but when I got home I said something to someone about it. I said, ‘hey, I just realized that my hoarseness is gone!’ That was it!”

“I said, ‘Wow’! And it was exciting to think about coming back to work on my singing voice, which is what we’ve done for the past 28 hours. And it has been just a series of layers of putting on more and more understanding and then, eventually, putting it all together. We had some very exhilarating moments. In fact, it is exciting to know that it feels like I have all the tools. So now it’s just a matter of practicing and, possibly, coming back again to deepen that and further study to make it more solid” So I’m very glad that I came.” – Holly

……………………………………………………………………………

I hope that I made my point clear.

The moral of it is: Stop thinking of the money to be spent. Start thinking what you are going to get for the money spent.

Make your money you have spent… the best money spent ever!

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Today, after 30 hours of non-surgical voice repair, speaking and singing instruction and herbal treatment, we are saying goodbye to our New York client, John Polanco.  With his permission, we would like to share his story with you, our readers.

Ever since he was a young boy, he had a real passion for singing. He discovered that singing, especially in his native language  (Spanish) made him very happy and very joyous.

He began to sing with friends at parties and by himself. Many people (his musician friends included) were giving him advice on how to sing better. He had carefully listened to them and tried to adapt all of the new “techniques” they were suggesting him to employ.

He was also imitating all if the famous and not so famous Spanish singers and he loved doing it, until he noticed that his voice did not perform the same anymore. He tried to push and pull his voice until he could not do it any longer.

That was 20 years ago and he decided to pack it in.

Moreover, his family was not supportive to his singing at all.

And then 5 years ago, John got severely injured at work.

He had become physically disabled on many levels. Needless to say, also, since then, he also (understandably so) became angry and depressed.

On that premise, trying to come out of depression, he remembered one thing that used to make him happy, and that was his singing. And now, searching on the Internet for singing lessons for his granddaughter, he, by fluke, stumbled upon our website.

When he looked at the site and read the content, his decision was made to come to Canada to fix and rejuvenate his voice, I.e. to regain his happiness and zest for life again.

Throughout the 30-hour course, there were a lot of emotions and tears shed during the process, especially when we started to work on the (once dear) Spanish songs. During the instruction of some of the songs, he had become so emotional, I was unable to continue the instruction utilizing those songs. I had to find the songs in English and In Spanish, which John was not personally attached to.

Now, 30 hours later of non-surgical voice repair and the Vocal Science technique, read below what John had said after struggling with physical, emotional and vocal strain:

“I don’t feel the pain in my throat anymore.  Obviously before I placed the notes in the wrong places, and therefore, my throat felt scratchy and very constricted. After all, I had a nodule on my vocal cord for many years. Now I can feel and hear the difference and I can manage it without any pain in my throat. So, it’s a big gap – a big difference! Before I am even talking, I feel that I can manage how to avoid putting the pressure in my throat. Another thing is now I am learning where the sound has to go. Before all of this, I had no idea where the sound or where the air had to go to produce the sound. I know now that when the sound is placed in the wrong area, I feel that I am forcing my vocal cords. Now, when the sound goes to the right place, I feel completely relieved and can hear my voice being beautiful and clean. It has a much wider, stronger and solid sound.” 

“This is like I have a brand new voice! I did not have this type of voice for a while! I do not remember having a voice like that! 

Ms. Diana is the best you could have as a teacher to cure your voice as she did with me.”

Doesn’t that sound like a happy ending?

Yes, it does… but with a little twist:

John, upon arriving back home, contacted us, thanked us immensely and said that, unfortunately, he would have to choose his wife’s wishes of him never singing again over coming back to us and continuing his vocal journey.

SAD…? INDEED!

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