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Archive for May, 2016

Does anybody know…?

Does anybody care for that matter…?

Vocal Science… The Best or…Nothing.

 

Quite often, people who require voice repair have some other health problems to start with. These health problems could be a trigger to voice loss, or any kind of voice issues.

Sadly enough, our Canadian singer Gord Downie has recently been diagnosed with Terminal Brain Cancer; and peculiarly enough, the tumor is apparently located near the speech center of his brain…

I am not a doctor; though it makes me wonder weather or not his not exactly adequate singing (in my subjective professional opinion) and, understandably, a lifestyle of a rocker (which usually comes with the territory), has anything to do with it?

This is just speculation on the matter, but it probably has some merit.

Let’s also examine a very serious disorder called Spasmodic Dysphonia:

I personally call it “Vocal Epilepsy”, as the voice of the sufferer spasms uncontrollably. The disease, in its nature, is neurological. It, quite likely, could be environmental. However, viruses such as Strep Throat, for example, could also trigger it. It happens a lot to people who, in their nature, are very emotional; also to those who speak very fast and very loud and whose lifestyles are very poor.

So between the environmental causes, air-born viruses and smocking, drinking and drug use, spasmodic dysphonia could easily occur.

Last year, I got an email from a person who was originally diagnosed with Muscle Tension Dysphonia. With this type of Dysphonia, the sufferers’ voice gets trapped in their neck muscles. That usually happens to speakers and singers.

That type of dysphonia is very rarely induced by viruses or environmental causes. It simply occurs due to misuse and abuse of one’s voice (speaking or singing). If left untreated, it may easily turn into Spasmodic Dysphonia.

The person who wrote to me last year revealed that she has now been diagnosed with Spasmodic Dysphonia. Speaking with that person on the phone, I had determined that I possibly could have improved her condition to a degree, but definitely would not be able to cure it. In fact, such a disorder as Spasmodic Dysphonia is generally considered un-curable. However, if it’s still in a mild form (stage one or two) it could be treated to a near-full recovery. So, in the case of the person first diagnosed with Muscle Tension Dysphonia a year prior, the Spasmodic Dysphonia disorder could have been prevented if the former was timely treated.

There is another category of people who, instead of expressing their emotions out loud, just simply suppress them. In the holistic teaching, the thyroid (the gland/cartilage in the neck that secretes hormones regulating growth and development) represents suppressed emotions and hurts.  If those emotions are suppressed for too long, the voice gradually begins to drown to the lower throat, then to the chest and could practically “die”  at the person’s gut, so to speak.

All of that brings us to a “full picture” which points out to a complete imbalance within.

So all of this means that if the person is too loud and too emotional, he or she could easily experience voice loss.

On the other hand, if the emotions are suppressed, the person could also easily lose their voice.

Moreover, in both cases, they could acquire such disorders like Muscle Tension Dysphonia or even Spasmodic Dysphonia. Partial loss of speech could also be a symptom of a pre-stroke condition, or even a Lou Gehrig’s decease (ALS).

To conclude: All of this is obviously not a joke; and the moral of the latter is that you should keep yourself in perfect balance. That will prevent you from all kinds of health problems; especially those that could lead to serious voice issues.

Best of voice and best of health in general to all of you!

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Evidently not…

It sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it?

Let’s
analyze what has been happening in the last few years and, nevertheless,
recently:
Majority of our very talented artists had experienced vocal problems in one-way or
another. A lot of them had undergone vocal operations:
  • Adele
  • John Mayer
  • Joan Rivers
  • Megan Trainor
  • Sam Smith
  • Roger Daltrey
  • Steven Tyler
  • Keith Urban
  • Michael Buble

And that’s to name a few…

All of the above listed people are talented artists, but obviously, majority of
them had been lacking the proper vocal technique; and thus, they ended up
having vocal issues (and some of them more serious then others).
Could they have avoided the interruption of their professional lives, careers, joy
and monetary loss?
No doubts they could – They just could have been more attentive to the technical
aspects of their craft and not just rely on their talents and love for music.
Could you imagine a figure skater trying to jump a triple or quad not knowing what it consists of and, moreover, not having proper muscle training assuring that the physical body could withhold the weight of the landing of such jump? Also, if you think of ballet dancers who work at the bar at least 4 to 8 hours a day, would you imagine them doing ‘pirouettes’ and ‘pas se deuxs’ wearing point-shoes and having no prerequisite with regards to what they are doing?

In this case the serious injuries would, no doubts, occur.

singing-on-the-brain
They, nevertheless, have to be able to keep their whole body weight on those toes of theirs. That means that their balance has to be unshakable, their point-shoes techniques have to be immaculate and their ballet elements (separately and in correlation), have to be ‘on point’. (no pun intended)
So where do the singers come with the idea that the technical aspect of using their
voices properly and efficiently does not necessarily need to be embraced?

Lately, it has been all about the show and showmanship.

For example: there has been about $40,000,000 dollar stage, built for Bono’s performance.
That said, basically, everything had been in place to cover up the inadequacy of a true vocal performance.
How Sad is that? Very
Sad, indeed!
If our truly talented artists possessed a proper vocal technique, which would protect and save their voice for life, we would not be hearing (unfortunately, quite often) on the news about the next upcoming vocal surgery of the next pop-star.
Go figure!

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*Mind, body and soul… and your voice*

In 1984, we have opened the school, which was originally
named: The Royans School for the Musical Performing Arts. Almost right from the
start, we have enrolled over 100 students, consisting of children, teenagers
and adults.
After my partner (the second Royan) had passed away in 1986,
a year after, (in 1987), I changed the name of the school and it became well
known as The Royans Professional Vocal School. And at that time, the school
became primarily an adult vocal school and children became a minority. However,
we always have been working with teenagers and young adults, developing their
talents for the music industry at large.  Nevertheless though, working primarily with
adults, provided me with a lot of experience and education concerning North
American mentality.
Being an educator by trade and a very inquisitive person by
nature, I have been tuning in to those adults who allowed me to get themselves
under my care; and not only vocally, but holistically over all. They allowed me
“in” (so to speak) and carried on with quite intimate details about
themselves, their families and their relationships.

Not all of them, by far, enrolled in my program out of happiness.

On the contrary, a lot of them possessed stuffed-up emotions
sitting deeply inside of them, and also a lot of hurt and very low spirits. I
always said that the voice is your “spirit”
and has to be discovered, uncovered and ‘made to be flown away from the
physical body’. So their vocal training had consisted of a lot of counseling on
life in general and their lives in particular.
Via special speech exercises and specially selected scripts
(peculiarly enough) quite related to their situation in general and even their
own situation in particular, they have been able to open up their chest (in which
the human beings usually hold a lot of unreleased emotions) and thus, to bring
their voices (i.e., their spirits) up and out onto the surface.
With the lift of their voice off of the vocal anatomy and
(so to speak) un-stucking it from within, they felt much more released, and
nevertheless, much freer from whatever was bothering them in the recent and
even distant past.

The freer the sound of the voice is, the freer the person will feel.

Once the voice is discovered and gets to be flown, the
person feels that he/she had acquired “wings” in a manner of speaking. So now,
we had killed two birds with one stone, so to speak.
The voice got developed in its fullest capacity; the “Genie
in the bottle” got freed up and flew to the Universe where the sky is the limit;
and thus, the person finally got free from all of the stuffed-up emotions and
inhibitions. The confidence now is soaring, as the great knowledge and
understanding took place.
So, you (my reader) should agree that, all and all, it is a
WINNING combination; and, no doubt, WINNING situation on every level.

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Good luck to all of you with best of health, best of spirit
and, nevertheless, best of voice!

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Teaching for nearly 42 years, I have dealt with children, teenagers and, nevertheless, with adults of all ages and walks of life.

Children and teens definitely require more effort and more care. Some of them are very emotionally fragile and sensitive, especially when they are approaching puberty at the age of 12 to 14. A lot of them become practically silent and very closed-in inside. Naturally, they don’t speak much; their speaking voice becomes low and dull.

They are basically living in their inner-world.

Sad Girl

Recently, I was travelling to Dallas, Texas to work on a person with a paralyzed vocal cord. She happened to have one of her granddaughters, who was about to turn 9 years old. My client’s daughter, at the dinner table, did confess to me that her older daughter was hardly speaking to her; and moreover, was put in a special class for children with dyslexia. When I met this beautiful girl, who hardly looked beautiful, as she was so down and obviously (in my opinion) was quite misunderstood.

I asked her to read the same script that her grandmother did during our sessions with her; and she read it perfectly and definitely without any signs of dyslexia.

Go figure…

Vocal Singing princess

Of course, my approach to a child was vastly different then my approach would be to any adult. I am using certain body movements, which help the client to lift the voice off of their physical body and re-channel it into the different set of muscles (their facial muscles and their abdominal muscles for the greater support of the lifted voice). With the little girl, I turned it into a ballerina game!

She loved to be tall, slim and beautiful ballerina, while concurrently; I was lifting her speaking voice. And then, to everybody’s astonishment, the little girl had begun to sing!

Then we have learned that she had always wanted to sing!

But she never knew how to and her speaking voice (and nevertheless, her spirit) was positioned extremely low and her speaking voice was coming out with an extremely low tone. At her eight years of age, she was considered to be a complete outcast with a diagnosis of dyslexia, which never had been present in the first place.

Within an hour, this child turned into an absolute beautiful angel with no inhibitions whatsoever!

Continuing communication with my original voice repair client (her grandmother), I was told that the child joined a school choir, being much more talkative and much more happy. The transformation (personality, spirit and voice repair) was inevitable and, in this case, miraculously got complete within only an hour and a bit.

Way to go, little angel!

Stay tuned for other case studies concerning children, teenagers and lastly, adults.

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Spending over 32 years running my own professional voice/vocal business, I have been working with (estimated) over 20,000 clients on their speaking and singing voices. Luckily, the mechanics (which are applicable for the speaking and singing voice) are exactly the same.

Surgert Bog Pic 3 - Singer

Both my speech (The Total Communicator Course) and singing course begin with exactly the same speech exercises. Those exercises have a very important purpose, as they are designed to relieve the pressure of the sound from the vocal anatomy as a whole.

The wholesome mechanism takes place to allow the voice to work in the fullest capacity possible with no pain or strain on the vocal anatomy. The voice, restructured to the facial muscles, begins to work in full conjunction and coordination with the abdominal muscles, which play the role of the support for the lifted sound. And the upper diaphragm muscles (rib cage) assure the width and the body of the sound.

When all of the components of that wholesome mechanism begin work simultaneously, the voice then becomes supported, structured, placed and projected to its aimed destination. The speaking voice begins to sound clearly enunciated and projected.

The latter is good preparation for embarking upon the singing voice development. Utilizing the same mechanics as for the speaking voice, now it is the time to address the musical side of it.

In this case, the singer-to-be represents the “Instrument” and the “player” at once. The physical body and its emotional makeup would represent the “instrument”. The proper application of the speaking and singing voice will represent the “player”. If the “instrument” is in good physical and emotional balance, the voice (which will be bouncing off of it) will sound that much better. The future singer should know the parameters of his/her “instrument” to be able to apply the sound above the physical anatomy (an out-of-body experience, so to speak…)

Therefore, needless to say, before attempting to sing any song, the music analysis of the chosen song should be applied. Any song consists of certain combinations of sounds, duration and pitch, (i.e., intervals). During the singing exercises, all possible combinations of sounds, duration and pitch, should be addressed.

Also, the situations where those combinations may exist will also have to be addressed.

With that said, once you are aware of all of the combinations and all of the situations (where those combinations may and will exist), you will become the owner of your voice. (Speaking and Singing).

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