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Posts Tagged ‘Vocal technique’

To find out what they are, Please Read On…

Due to this digital and very chemically polluted world, we are receiving more and more inquiries about various vocal disorders which people experience on a day by day basis. 


Our fruits and vegetables are chemically altered and our chickens (for example) are double-sized, due to be fed and raised with hormones and antibiotics. 


All of the above weakens our immune systems and makes us susceptible to all kinds of diseases; and unfortunately, cancer is one of them. Almost on an everyday basis, we are hearing about peoples’ thyroids being removed (usually due to cancer); and then, as a result of that, one (or even both) vocal cords  become paralyzed!


Also, people who have their regular diets consisting of a lot of fat, mucus and acids, could get a problem with the excess of gastric acid in their bodies, which could produce what’s called acid reflux; and which, in turn, may burn ones’ vocal cords and (on top of it) restrict the persons’ breathing.


And lastly, the improper application of the voice for speakers and singers, could lead to a serious voice damage.


So, especially for singers, the proper vocal technique should be a MUST so (by the application of the latter) the singer could save and protect his/her voice for a lifetime.

As for regular speaking people, I would suggest to be also in check with their speaking voice, i.e., not to scream or yell on a regular basis; keep your throat protected out of the cold and out of outer pollutions (such as smoking, drinking and drugs).  Also, beware of second hand smoke, which also could be very harmful to you in general and to your vocal anatomy in particular.


So, if some of the above had happened to you, but you managed to fix your voice, (hopefully, non-invasively and non-surgically), at that point, you will be able to enjoy the positive side-effects of that occurrence!


Once you have regained and restored your voice back to normal, (or almost back to normal), your happiness and your confidence will rise to the max (and rightfully so). 

I have a true belief that your voices IS your spirit; and once you lift your voice, you will uplift your spirit!

What do I mean by “lifting your voice”? 

I mean that, in any case (voice repair or not) the sound of the voice has to be restructured to the different set of muscles located in your facial cavities. By removing the pressure of the sound from the vocal box, it will allow the vocal anatomy to be free and healed (if needed).


The above will facilitate a “true vocal rest”.


Those facial muscles will play the role of the natural amplifier (or what we call, resonator); provided though that the lift of the voice to those muscles will be supported by the abdominal muscles; and thus, the voice will “blast off”!


My book is named “Vocal Science – Flight to the Universe”, and the very first picture of a space shuttle illustrates the blast-off of a rocket, which separates from the launching pad and flies on top of its fuel.


The caption of that picture in the book allegorically suggests that the launching pad represents the human body, the fuel underneath of the rocket represents the breathing, (and finally) the rocket represents the soaring voice which is flying to its aimed destination and upon design. When the rocket is launched, it’s being aimed to either the Moon or to Mars…


The flight of such rocket is regulated by scientists and engineers who are staying put on earth. Respectively, you can only become an owner of your voice when you predominantly are able to know how to launch your sound and where that sound will land.

Once you acquire such knowledge, you will acquire a very pleasant side-effect of it… YOUR CONFIDENCE! 

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It just happened to me….

I got hit by a Dear! I have to say that it was a very strange experience, to say the list! I have not seen it coming… What I saw, was a deer’s face in my windshield!

It came out of the blue, so to speak. It was just after 10 pm and I was driving at a speed of only 56 km! Thank God that I got a speeding ticket 2 days earlier, lol, Otherwise I possibly would be going much faster and thus, the impact of my collision with the deer could have been much more serious. So my car (which I managed to drive home somehow) ended up being damaged for over $11.000!  To my surprise, the body shop, where the car was towed, said that they will take care of everything, mechanics included. Now, 2 weeks later, they called me and told me that they were unable to fix the engine! Go figure! So they had to ship my car to a Volkswagen dealership after all! Now, at least it makes sense! The body shop is the shop meant to fix the body of the car and the dealership is responsible for the mechanical part of it.

I am saying that, one more time again, to compare this ordeal to the ordeal of those who have been suffering from various voice/vocal disorders.

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Just earlier today, I was talking on the phone with the person residing in the Middle East and who, for some time, had been suffering from excessive silent acid reflux which, by extension, effected his speaking and singing voice. Nevertheless, he sounded quite low and quite raspy while speaking.

In his original e-mail to us, he was asking if we are doing it remotely, i.e., via Skype, Facetime or what have you…? I outright wrote to him that his problem, as any other vocal problem, is quite serious, and it qualifies as internal medicine and cannot be addressed (and furthermore treated or cured) remotely.

I also told him that if anybody will offer him that, they will be after his money and not after his interest.

Now let’s visualize my car being fixed remotely…

Is that possible? Take a wild guess……

Now, jokes aside…

Likewise, the damaged voice is a very serious matter, as it has to be restored and brought to its original state, which is easier said than done!

Apparently, my potential client has been researching all kinds of speech therapists and ENT doctors who were recommending him various medications to “treat” and even “cure” silent acid reflux.

Like my former client (band singer) from Venezuela, he too had difficulty to breathe, especially at night time and in order to sleep (at least remotely), he had to use two or three pillows to create almost a sitting position rather than actually lying down in bed.

Needless to say, both guys were doing everything and anything to make their lives easier and suffer less. (At least they thought so…)

Did that help, you may ask?

Again, it did…somewhat …hardly.

The guy from Venezuela finally (after 5 years of planning) reached Toronto and took 20 hours of instruction and treatment. And to complete his voice recovery (and for the maintenance), he attended a 10 hour group Healthy Voice/Vocal Workshop.

On the third day, he (surprisingly) was late for his morning session.

When he finally showed up, he exclaimed – “Sorry Diana, but for the first time in many years, I slept like a log and did not even hear my baby crying”. For the record, he did travel to us with his whole family, including a newborn baby.

By that time (via my special speech and singing exercises), his voice was already lifted off of his vocal box and off of his vocal cords, thus releasing the vocal box and the chest from the pressure of the sound.

The voice was restructured to the set of his facial muscles and thus, was positioned quite far away from the gastric acid, which before was burning his vocal cords and interfering with his breathing.

Needless to say, his problem was solved and, as a side effect, he learned how to speak and sing.

He learned and utilized the method of how to speak and sing smart and not hard, while concurrently, he also learned how to apply minimum efforts to achieve maximum results! Needless to say, he was able to power his voice ‘upon design’ and knew predominantly what will come out of his mouth without taking wild guesses and keeping his fingers crossed and dying of fear.

There is, of course a possibility with acid reflux (as well as with some other internal health disorders), that it has to be addressed either way, and not necessarily, but rather simultaneously, with persisting voice issues.

But at least, in the interim (with the proper voice mechanics instruction and treatment), the person’s voice has been saved. It has also been assured that the voice damage will never occur ever again, (should the person retain the specific instructions embedded into him during the voice restoration sessions).

The moral of the above is:

Do not look for gimmicks, such as the “remote approach” or unneeded prescribed medical drugs! Fix the mechanics of voice first and everything else after that.

Now, again speaking of my car:

The body shop, evidently, fixed the frame of the car, not realizing that the mechanical parts could appear to be beyond repair! As of today, the Volkswagen dealership cannot figure out what is wrong with the engine and other mechanical parts under the hood. The body shop made the car look real good, shiny and clean; but if, mechanically, it’s still not sound, then all their work will be completely obsolete!

For some reason people who suffer from voice disorders (speakers or singers) think that there is something wrong with their voice…? They do not realize that the main problem lies due to the insufficient application of the voice, which could potentially cause all kinds of voice damage.

blog-broken-stove

So please “try not to work on the fridge when the stove is broken” so to speak…

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“What do you mean by that”, you, my reader, may ask?’

To explain better, I first will give you an example concerning figure skating, which will be very-much-so related to our topic on voice mechanics down the road.

I think, by now, a lot of you know that I am a big fan of figure skating (and ballet for that matter); and in my childhood and adolescence, I was taking skating for many years and taking it very seriously. Given that, I know a lot about it, even though that I did not become a professional figure skater myself (to my dismay and biggest disappointment).

skating-blog

Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, Professional figure skater

I just recently (watching live and on TV, Skate Canada) witnessed some skaters literally stepping out of the “circle”. Our Canadian pair (Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford) skated fabulously; but then Meagan fell on a free skate, indeed, stepping out of the circle.  The commentator, Tracy Wilson, said (with these the exact same words) “She gets out of the circle and really came down hard”.

This was obviously an unfortunate accident.

The fact is, since we know that any physical material body travels in a circular direction employing vertical, horizontal and central parameters, the very complicated ice jumps naturally consist of double, triple or quadruple circles. Also, a few years ago, our very own Canadian Skater of all times, Elvis Stojko, also stepped out of the quad-jump and thus, unfortunately, did not become an Olympic champion.

In order to achieve successfully (land) such complicated jumps as a triple axels or quads, the skater has to take off of the ice (not with the ice), so that the height of the jump will permit three or four revolutions.

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Elvis Stojko, Canadian figure skater

The skater also has to maintain a complete center and make sure that he is not under-rotating any of his circles contained in the jump. And, needless to say, the skater also has to land on one leg, while maintaining a complete strait and centered posture. Otherwise, his leg will not be able to sustain his weight impact and he will end up down on the ice.

Similarly, the vocalist should take off of the vocal cords and lift the sound to the different set of muscles; getting there while winding the sound-circles relatively, respectively and prospectively to his/her height, weight and the central line of the body. If the singer will lose the prospective of the center or under-rotate those circular-shaped syllables and vowels, he/she will most likely get out of tune, and most likely, will begin to hurt his/her own vocal anatomy.

When I was developing the Vocal Science method, I used my extensive knowledge of figure skating and ballet art. There are a lot of references to that in my book “Vocal Science – Flight to the Universe”, and also many of my blogs contain the same kind of references.

diana_alex

Vocal Coach, Diana Yampolsky & Alex Norman from illscarlet.

The Vocal Science method possesses an intellectual and intelligent method of visualization, which requires integration and synergy between mental, physical, emotional and vocal components. Intellectually, the person needs to understand the concept of traveling sound, taking for consideration that the sound is a physical/material body and it travels as such.

Kin-aesthetically, the person has to be able to feel it and be able to retain the feel of it.

Once the brain accepts the new modality of a new behavior (so to speak) and it is able to connect to one’s motor skills, the sound will be coming out upon design and command and as an actual “printout” of the new “software” which was instilled in the person’s “human computer”, provided that the person was able to “press the right button” for that “printout” to be extracted onto the surface.

Obviously, to achieve such a result, the person in question would definitely need professional help first; and then he/she will be able to “navigate” the sound of the voice to its aimed and desired destination, while concurrently, no doubt, avoiding any kind of a vocal injury.

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Given that we live in a digital era, more and more we have been asked if we provide Non-Surgical Voice Repair Services remotely, i.e., via Skype, FaceTime, WeChat and etc.

This trend started a few years ago and, at that time, I thought that people were simply joking…! I thought “they could not be serious”, as any vocal disorder could represent a serious internal problem.

facetime

In fact, I just came back from my travels in the Middle East and unfortunately ended up (due to one of my relatives’ serious medical problem) in an ICU section of the hospital. In fact, they did not call it ICU (like in North America). They call it the “Internal Medicine Department”.

It confused me at first, but after thoroughly thinking about it, I understood the total meaning of the name “Internal Medicine”, which totally matched the description. All of those people in that wing were cared for 24/7 and all of the monitors (which they were connected to) were also supervised 24/7.

Respectively, I treat all voice disorders as any complicated internal health problem would be treated, as a lot of the time, the loss of voice (for example) could represent a very serious internal dysfunction, such as (even) cancer.

damaged-voice

So given the complexity of the above, do some people really think that it could be addressed remotely?? If they do, they themselves (nevertheless) need to have their head examined. (in fact and sadly, with that comment, I’m not even joking!)

Let me give you one example, which occurred a couple of years ago, but, to this day, I still cannot get over of that phone call. My caller was a “distraught” mother of a 15 years old teenager, as she identified as a pop star. Her pop star daughter had seen 5 ENT specialists who had granted her with 5 very serious diagnoses. You name it, she’s got it!

My heart immediately opened up to the child with serious vocal problems, which were not only impeding on her vocal performance, but also on her social life and teenage life in general. I began my presentation with respect to how I can approach treating all of those serious vocal disorders, obviously presuming that we are talking about the mother and the daughter taking the trip to Toronto Canada and “landing” straight in my studio.

After the extensive conversation with whole bunch of very valuable explanations from my side, her last question to me was, “Can we do a FaceTime please?” That question left me “speechless”. I could not believe my ears…

Instead of asking me how soon I would be able to accept and embrace her daughter in order to literally save her life, she was asking if I could deal with all FIVE MAJOR vocal problems (possessed by her daughter) via phone or computer! Go figure!

Nowadays, people think that any problems could be solved from the distance and not in person. Please think again! Will you ask a masseuse, chiropractor or hair dresser to attend to your body or to your hair via computer? I’m afraid that some people are already thinking about it. LOL! Maybe we should also have all the hospitals closed and conduct all the surgeries, CAT scans and MRI’s remotely? Wouldn’t that be something?

For those people who think so, we suggest to purchase something along the lines of a Gear VR, or even better, an Oculus Rift!

Those gadgets would give these people a perfect illusion of the virtual world, but eventually, they will have to come back to earth and “smell the coffee” (so to speak); i.e., have a hard-core check with reality, which will allow them, finally, to get off of their couches and start dealing with the real world and the real problems, one or two of which, in fact, could be enhanced voice or vocal problems.

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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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One day, you wake up and you notice that suddenly, your voice is not the same as it normally is. You think to yourself that ‘maybe its just morning raspiness and it will go away later in the day.  Five (or more) days pass and you realize that your voice is not getting any better. It’s actually getting worse with every word you try to convey. On top of that, your throat feels like it is on fire and it has been burning severely.

So, by now, you have come to the realization that something is definitely wrong there… The voice feels weak, and on top of it, it sounds raspy and hoarse.

“What could I do to make it better” you ask yourself in desperation?

Of course, right away, you turn to the “all reliable” internet for answers to your vocal dilemma, and find out that all of their “answers” are just generic explanation websites which, at most times, do not lead you to the best diagnosis and/or treatments.

Throat Problem 9

Now, you are lost completely and totally unaware of what to do to conquer your newly discovered vocal problem…

My advise would be that, first and foremost, do not panic; but instead, find a good medical professional and get an accurate diagnosis. If you get a clean bill of health, then seek a holistic practitioner (voice/vocal specialist) who specializes in voice problems. Acquiring appropriate voice/vocal techniques and the application of natural herbal and homeopathic remedies, should do the trick, so to speak.

If you, (God forbid) are diagnosed with some kind of growths on your vocal cords; such as polyps, nodules, cysts, lesions and etc., you should still look for a non-surgical alternative before committing yourself to surgical interference.

For example: The Vocal Science™ Technique advocates the minimal (if at all) use of the vocal cords.

Some of you are probably aware that you have only so many ‘strums’ per vocal cords, for the length of your life. Naturally the less you use your vocal cords; the more you preserve its health and length.

But what if you need to use your voice quite excessively? For example: What if your job requires you to speak on the phone all day, or you happen to be a professional speaker or singer?

I think that I have the answer for you:

I found the way to decrease the pressure of the sound on the vocal anatomy via my specially designed speech and singing exercises, coupled with special body movements.

Those exercises will allow your voice to be lifted off of the vocal box and off of the vocal cords by the way of restructuring the sound into the set of the facial muscles, which will, in turn, begin to work in full conjunction and coordination with your abdominal muscles (for greater support of the lift); thus minimizing the use of your throat, larynx and your vocal cords.

However, if the above took place; and, after awhile, your previously diagnosed growth is not, at least, shrinking in size, you should return to the ENT surgeon and ask for a reassessment.

In this case, it might be wise to undergo a surgical procedure and then come back to the non-surgical post-operative care and thus assure that your voice disorder will not reoccur ever again.

We wish you all a healthy and pleasant voice!

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