Tips and advice for learning how to sing, perform and live the dream of being a professional entertainer and performing artist, along with common sense commentary and rants on the state of today's music industry. Written by international master vocal coach, Diana Yampolosky, creator of Vocal Science (TM).
to 40 years of experience of teaching and repairing voices, I accessed minimum
to say over 20,000 people; some with talent, others without, some with good
structure of the vocal anatomy and some did not actually have a physical
structure suitable for any kind of singing, let alone professionally. Ultimately,
the big mouth, the full lips, the good vocal box opening, would be desirable
for anybody to become a singer of whichever calibre.
like a classical ballet.
who would want to embark on a classical ballet scene, would have to have
certain lengths of the arms and legs, certain flexibility, slender physique,
and a high instep.
requirements for that particular field are very strict. However,
outside of the classical ballet, there are some other forms of dance where
those particular requirements for the physical structure are not as important.
A lot of
components though, could be somewhat improved such as flexibility, body turnout
and even the “bad” feet. So if the
person has a real inclination, talent and musicality, she/he could still in
spite of some body imperfections, could become a dancer and with the perfect
technique could actually compensate for some of the physical body limitations.
the person who is striving to become a singer may also have a musical talent,
good ears, good pitch, excellent musicality, and beautiful expression of their
soul. However, the
physical anatomy might not be adequate enough to make it as a singer on a big
It could be
simply that the size of the mouth is not large enough, the vocal chords are
shorter and thinner than they should be, and that, anatomically, might also be not
corresponding with the actual size of the person. There is
another variable, structurally speaking, which is very important.
It is the
actual height (arc) of the vocal box itself.
fixable? Yes, but certainly, with great difficulty.
is that, once I help the student (with the above described shortcoming) place
the sound into the facial cavities, the sound often is not locking in, as the vocal
box is flat and thus unable to hold the weight of the sound. Therefore, a
lot of times the student and I could hear a crackling sound due to the voice
slipping down to the vocal chords uncontrollably. However,
with the great effort and dedication from both sides (mine and the student’s) the
mission gets to be accomplished and the musically talented person is not
missing on their dream to become a singer, in spite of their defaulted
anatomical structure. The vocal science technique, one more time again, prevailed. What about
the person with the small mouth, skinny lips, smaller inside and outside opening,
not to mention smaller and thinner vocal chords, you my reader may ask?
become a singer?
is yes, but a lot of technical work will be required to compensate for all of
those imperfections. The
technique has to become absolutely and totally precise, as they do not have
much room for “slack.” The sound
has to have a precise height, a perfect width (body), and it has to be placed
and totally locked in the set of the facial cavities. Any imprecision
of the facial cavities working in conjunction and coordination with the
abdominal and upper back muscles for the support of the sound, will cause the
sound to be narrow, closed in a “pear” shape and to fall down in a lower
position hitting the throat, vocal chords, larynx, and even the chest.
the sound will never be able to fly over and above the physical body and thus
will not be delivered to its aimed destination. So the
question is; what would you chose, to possess a better and more suitable vocal anatomy or, the actual musical talent,
the perfect heart and soul desire to express yourself via your feelings and
to have all of the above, would be ultimate.
But if any
of the components are missed, you can still attempt to work on them to be able at
the final stage to account for its totality, and then judge whether or not it
is enough substance to achieve your goal and to which degree it will become
Quite a few people do not possess a good volume of their
voices, especially while speaking. They do not necessarily have any kind of a
problem with their voices, with the exception of low volume and unclear
pronunciation of their words.
They usually speak softly and from the “middle of their
throat”, so to speak. That means that the projection of their voices is, almost,
non-existent, therefore, the annunciation and pronunciation of their words does
not have any clarity.
It is extremely hard to understand these people, even though
most of the times; they speak the same language as everybody else. However, if
on top of that they happen to be immigrants, in that case, to understand them
becomes virtually impossible.
By utilizing the Vocal Science technique, which promotes the
placement of the human voice, (speaking and/or singing), in the set of the
sinus cavities, working in full conjunction and coordination with the abdominal
muscles, the individual acquires a much fuller, more bodied, and thus louder
and clearer sounding voice. Since the voice has been moved out of the chest and
a vocal box out on the surface, the sound becomes much more present and could
literally fly to further destinations.
The voice now is bouncing off of the upper pallet and behind
the upper molars, while concurrently being supported by the upper back muscles,
which in turn help to support the rib cage muscles, responsible for the width
and body of the sound, and the lower abdominal muscles, which are responsible
for the lift and height of the voice, being flown by the proper breath supply
from underneath of the sound to serve as a fuel for the whole voice/vocal delivery.
Then, and only then, the speaker or the singer will, in a manner
of speaking, ‘own’ their voice, in the full understanding of that word. That
means that the volume of the voice will be adequate enough, the clarity will be
sufficient and the pain or strain on the vocal anatomy will be non-existent.
In countries like Canada and the United Kingdom, the
conventional medical care is offered supposedly "free of charge”. Let’s examine it and see if the “free”, is this context, is really
Many times the local people, (those residing in Toronto), came
to me seeking the alternative solution to surgical intervention. When they "discovered" that they had
to pay, however reasonable price for non-surgical voice repair services, they somewhat
“paused” and then decided first to check back with their ENT specialists, (those
whom they had originally seen). Nevertheless, the Doctors are still the Doctors.
They, one more time again, dismissed the alternative non-surgical
voice repair treatment and lured these, so to speak, “victims” towards
undergoing the surgical procedure. Those people naturally thought that the doctors cannot be
bias, as them, as patients, will not “directly” be exchanging the money
with the surgeon.
However, it never downed on them that the province of
Ontario has the O.H.I.P. In place, (Ontario Health Insurance Plan; supported
and paid by tax payers). So each surgical procedure of that sort would cost the
O.H.I.P., at least $25,000 to $30,000, which means that the doctors themselves
would get paid quite generously for their efforts. That said, I would charge hardly one tenth of that amount
and, in the majority of times, would save those people from invasive
surgical procedures which could cause scar tissue and even permanent voice loss,
not to mention other nasty side effects.
Also, people from the U.S., sometimes cannot even be seen by
a specialist without the patient possessing medical insurance. The insurance in
the U.S, especially for self-employed individuals, evidently, is very
expensive. No wonder that residing in Canada and running the business
for over 30 years, the majority of my Voice Repair clients are actually Americans.
How ironic is that...?
The moral of it is; the people who live in Canada (Toronto
in particular), have no idea how the system works. For some reason, they are not able to understand what they
are paying for and what they are getting in return. They are choosing the invasive
and often harmful procedures, thinking that they are actually saving some money.
Obviously, the unawareness of these people, to say the least,
is unprecedented. It is quite pathetic, but it is the fact. Have they won anything by looking for a quick and cheap fix?
The answer is NO.
On the contrary, they have lost more than they found, they
did not restore their voice or their health for that matter, and they did not
do anything different, like learning a new voice/vocal technique, in order to
prevent their vocal disorder from happening ever again.
person with voice disorder trying to live a so to speak, normal life, he/she is
definitely experiencing some difficulties in communication with others; nevertheless,
at their work place and even in their family lives. They are usually very frustrated
with their voice which is not, by far, sounding the same as they got used to in
the past. They are also not very well understood and very often, being asked
several times to repeat or to reiterate what they were trying to say. That makes
those people with voice disorders understandably very irritable and overall,
very emotional. They feel quite handicapped and understandably so.
Some of them
are so disillusioned that they carry with them a sign, advising the strangers
that they have difficulty to speak. Some of them, who have lost the hope to
regain a normal voice, are starting to learn sign language.
How sad is
that? A lot of
those people have lost their hopes with respect of living their normal lives
ever again. Some of them are trying to pretend that everything is per normal
and claiming that it does not affect their emotions and their everyday living. They
are troopers, of course, but they are still in denial. And finally, there are
those who want to fight to the end and, to their credit, are looking for
salvation of their vocal problem until they find it.
It does, however,
take time, energy, determination, and yes, money. Not all of the voice
disorders are completely curable, however, in many cases, if nothing else, the
voice condition could be dramatically improved, and thus, the quality of life
could be also improved exponentially. The
person gains their confidence back, which helps them to maintain their personal,
social and work relationships.
ago, I received the student, a woman in her early thirties, who desperately
wanted to meet a future husband and raise a family. Her voice was very weak and
she was getting really tired after speaking for only 10 minutes in person, or
over the phone. Due to that condition, her confidence was quite shut down and,
along with that, her spirit appeared to be pretty low. Her body language was
reflecting exactly that.
Her head was
always down and she was standing and walking, slouching her back. Given all
that, the possibility of attracting “the Man of her dreams” was quite remote. So
she embarked on my course. For the first 10 hours, I had to put her through the
structure and routine of the voice support, placement and projection. We were
reading all kinds of scripts including commercials, theater plays, and just
Then we did improvisations
on what we have read. When we embarked on the next ten hour course, we were
learning the everyday speech, teaching her brain to reciprocate the structure
on a so to speak, “automatic pilot”. Before we finished, in total, 20 hours,
she went to what’s called a speed dating. By the end
of the evening, she hit it off with one of the men there and ended up talking
to him until 6:00 a.m. in the morning, sitting in a 24 hour donut shop.
Once I’ve learned
that, I knew that mine and her journey was complete. And now, indeed, the sky
would be the limit for her. I do not know what happened next, as our course
came to the end. I just know that she was not shy or timid anymore and her
voice was holding up nicely and for hours on end. My guess
would be that she is happily married now and she has completely forgotten that
she once had a mild voice disorder, which was greatly affecting her life and
preventing her from achieving her live goals.
So for those still with voice
disorders, the best is, hopefully, yet to come.
maintain the hope and look for a solution. You never know; It might be just
around the corner.