Thursday, December 5, 2013
Various voice disorders are my specialty.
Over many years, I have attended to hundreds, if not thousands of people with different voice injuries of their speaking and/or singing voices. In general, they were all, one way or another, physically and, nevertheless, emotionally hurt practically all of them were simply distraught to say the least.
What was different about it is their reactionary response to their voice disorder and its consequences. What was in common that all of them had lost their confidence, especially the singers. And even after the restoration of their voices, their physical demeanour has been expressing the tightness and fear, minimum to say. And even after the voice sounded as good, or even better than before, the performance aspect has been significantly lost, as they could not bring themselves out of their shell and loosen up to produce a required performance quality of the equation.
We Russians have the saying: “The good dancers do not show their sweat”.
Those dancers work really hard at the bar, but when they end up at the center stage, they’re not supposed to “bring the bar” with them. They are supposed to acquire the feel at the bar for their future performances and then translate it into the intricate steps and thus, bring the latter to the dance stage. However, if those dancers experienced any kind of injury, their performance would also feel more technical and more stiff, especially at the beginning stages of their recovery.
Granted, it is a natural reaction of the physical body induced by the highly emotional stress which occurred during, and evidently even after the injury was concurred. Similarly, the same happens to the vocal performer. After the injury, they constantly doubt themselves and that directly reflects on their vocal performance. Interestingly enough, that people, who have just speech disorders, react completely differently. The minute they acquire their voice back, they can not stop talking.
In my practice, I had people who were afraid to talk for months, but then, at the end of my course and treatment, I could not put them back to structure, as they were talking out loud about everything and everybody; and to stop them was virtually impossible.
Any voice disorder for anybody is definitely not a “picnic”.
It is a serious matter, as it could inhibit ones’ life quite significantly. In some cases, it may be considered as a complete disability. Some people lost their professions, as due to their trade, they had been required to speak on the phone, or publically. Obviously, with the voice disorder, they could not continue their regular duties. The singers had been on the verge of losing their singing carers, recording contracts, tours, etc. We have examples of many known artists whose singing careers, unfortunately, had to be stopped temporarily or even permanently.
How sad is that?
Thank God that, in many cases, these people, (speakers or singers), can be helped and helped non-invasively and non-surgically. Every time, when I help the person with the voice problem to get their life back and, or to get back on stage, I feel extremely gratified and thankful to God for my gift of knowledge.
Posted by Diana Yampolsky at 4:56 PM
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Vocally speaking, you may be born to do it, but have you obtained the skill to perform it?
If we come back to the figure skaters now, we could definitely admire our Canadian dance champions,
Not only they are amazingly graceful dancing on ice, but they are also amazingly skillful when it comes to the figure skating technique.
They have been vigorously training near London Ontario for many years, and being naturally talented, they combined the Great Canadian Figure Skating School technique with their given, evidently by birth, grace and poise. The marriage of two made them not only world champions, (numerous of times), but also made them Olympic Gold Medalists in 2010.
If we go to our other, quite well known, Canadian female figure skater, Jennifer Robinson, who too has won some international competitions, but never was able to go to the absolute heights. She has been really beautifully gliding on ice, but unfortunately, 3 out of 4 required jumps and their combinations, she was landing incorrectly, or even flat down on the ice.
Needless to say, her technical merit was, by far, behind her artistic abilities and her very beautiful looks.
Obviously, somewhere there, during her development as a figure skater, the technical aspect of it was quite a bit missing, and that resulted in an, otherwise very talented performer, never being able to reach out to her fullest potential.
Now, let’s talk about singing and vocal performance.
As I mentioned before, I have been, quite religiously, watching all of those reality TV shows dedicated to the singing competitions and vocal performances. By some, very strange and mysterious reason, they all, usually, start with quite strong singers. Then, somehow, the better ones are getting eliminated and by far, not the strongest ones end up in the last 10 or even 5 remaining vocal performers, striving to win the competition.
Practically, all of those shows are judged by the audience, especially closer to the end, and that tells us that the audience have no idea of what to look for. It appears to be that the audience is very musically uneducated and, sometimes, I presume that some of them are just simply “deaf”.
They are choosing the person that sings off-key, screaming from the bottom of their throat and the top of their lungs, instead of the person, who is not only naturally talented, but has some schooling, some class, some technique and some intelligence. Let alone the audience, even the judges, sometimes, never cease to amaze me.
Those who became mentors for the certain groups, seem to be defending their mentorship, more so then being objective to their protégés, who, of course, they have gotten attached to in the process, but still…
However, evidently, everything “comes out in a wash”, so to speak.
The lack of the technical abilities of the top chosen singers is becoming extremely apparent, and frankly, extremely annoying, as some of them are outright screaming like they have been attacked, assaulted or, at least, mugged. LOL
Others were sounding like they were trapped in a long tunnel between their throats and their nasal passages, scooping each and every note off of their guts and whatever was left of their vocal anatomy, not leaving us a hope that there will be a “light at the end of that tunnel”.
How pathetic is that…?
Honestly, my ears have been quite destroyed ever since I engaged in watching and analyzing, (via occupational hazard), the participants of certain competitions, their singing abilities and their, usually non-existent, vocal technique. The lack of the latter usually causes a pitch problem, as the voice is not placed accurately in designated muscles and, therefore, travels uncontrollably and without predicament.
My fear is, that soon, the singing off key, off tone and off tune will become the norm and will be passed for the real thing and become the standard. Everybody’s ears are gradually getting more accustomed to, at least a semitone up or down of the real note and therefore, when the singer will sing in the actual tune, it might be questioned!!!
To say that it is sad to think this way would be an understatement, and frankly, would be quite tragic.
The word, “music” will soon become obsolete and probably, even sooner, will be replaced with the word, “Cacophony”. (Please Google the Definition of the Latter).
Thank God for the classics!
Like in a classical Ballet, there are certain standards and canons have been established and traditionally followed. On that note, I am becoming a bigger fan of classical music and even Opera, which I never thought would happen to me. For over 33 years here in Canada, I have been teaching/coaching and producing every genre of music but classical. And I have to say that I have been enjoying it at the time.
Nowadays, hearing people literally murdering even the old cover tunes, not to mention the modern, so-called songs, turned me off of it completely, especially of the pop genre, which became literally an “alternative” to music.
As for the music industry in general, I am certainly prepared for the worst, but definitely remain to be hopeful for the best yet to come… in one of the upcoming decades.
Posted by Diana Yampolsky at 4:05 PM
Thursday, November 28, 2013
Vocally Speaking If You Are Sexually Active, Please be Careful and Try, At least, Not to Ruin Your Voice.
I am sure, you, my reader, find the above title quite intriguing. The question which might pop into your mind would probably be – “what is being sexually active could possibly do with ruining my voice...?”
Unfortunately, it has some validity to it.
For example, every one of us would know of the nasty sexually transmitted disease, such as HPV (human papilloma virus).
The general awareness about it is that, if the virus was received from the infected partner, it would be manifested, primarily, in the sexual organs. However, the above described virus could settle in on the vocal cords and drastically infect the vocal anatomy and thus, dramatically affect the quality of the human voice.
The voice becomes raspy and hoarse and easily could be mistaken for the cold, flu, strep throat, or simply an acid reflux. Months and even years could pass until all the specific tests will be thoroughly executed by a professional ENT doctor/surgeon.
Once diagnosed, the surgery is usually recommended. You may be curious if there is, perhaps, a non-surgical way of dealing with this virus. There might be, but it will take a big effort, a lot of time and quite a bit of money to deal with it unconventionally, i.e., holistically and alternatively. There are ways to draw the virus out of the infected body but, in my opinion, as much as I am against the surgical procedures, in a case like that, the best course of action would be to surgically remove the papilloma, and through the biopsy, which will be taken during the procedure, to find out if the nature of it is benign or malignant.
In the best case scenario, it is benign and no other organs have been affected.
In this case, I would provide a post-operative voice care to restore the voice to its natural condition, as it used to be before the infection. At the time, the natural herbs and homeopathic remedies will be in order to heal the infected and disturbed throat flora.
Simultaneously, the voice itself has to be lifted off of the vocal box, off of the vocal cords and restructured to the different set of muscles.
All the natural remedies will work much more effectively if the vocal box will be, so to speak, on its vocal “rest”. The voice, meanwhile, will be released from its own “vocal prison” and will be much more freely floating through the facial muscles with the support of the abdominal muscles. As a “side effect”, (and as a result), the person will speak and communicate much better than before with a newly rejuvenated and restored voice.
Also, that person will finally learn to practice the safe sex to avoid this kind of occurrence in the future.
Posted by Diana Yampolsky at 3:36 PM
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Singing Voice And Speaking Voice. Color And Tone... Can It Be Improved, Enhanced or, Outright Changed?
A couple of days ago, I received a phone call from an 18 years old man who was asking if I could completely change his voice, (surgically, or non-surgically LOL), so he could sound like a certain rapper…? I wasn’t quite sure whether I should laugh or cry.
The question was funny, to say the least, but the issue was sad, as at 18 years of age, he was still very naive and simply foolish, to put it mildly. In our, so to speak, at least technologically advanced age, he sounded like he had no slightest idea about this world and how it operates, let alone about the human voice and what triggers it to work in a certain way.
I always said previously that the voice, like fingerprints, does identify the person, as each human being has their own unique voice, which, in turn, also reflects the state of their particular being.
Could that be completely changed or modified, you my reader, may ask?
The answer for the former: “No, like fingerprints, it cannot be changed.
But the answer for the latter: Yes, it could be somewhat modified and enhanced”.
For example, somebody speaks very nasally.
Could it be corrected?
The answer is: “Yes”.
I usually treat the nose congestion with the herbal and homeopathic remedies and then restructure the voice to the facial muscles and away from the nose. It then sounds wider, rounder and fully bodied and definitely not ‘nasally’ anymore. Somebody speaks too high or too low.
Could that be addressed?
When I work on a wholesome mechanism, which allows not only for the voice to work in the fullest capacity possible, but also puts that voice in a complete balance, i.e., for those who sounded too high (primarily males who never really came out of puberty), begin to speak with some base underneath of their high toned voice.
Those who speak very ‘bass’ie’, (men and women), begin to sound much more balanced and also consistent with the size of their physical bodies. In my practice, I had petite women who spoke with the low baritone voices, and quite short and, not necessarily masculine looking men, who also spoke with a low baritone or base voice.
That type of thing could be modified, mainly balanced to the gender and, as I pointed out before, the size of their bodies. As for singers, in majority of cases, singing voice could be exponentially enhanced with respect of the tone, color and fullness of one’s voice.
Once the voice is properly supported, structured, placed and projected, it begins to sound much more clear, much more articulated and much more full in its entirety. Of course, there are better quality and not-so-good quality singing voices I had been working with.
If the person’s inner energy is quite heavy, the voice also sounds less flexible and yes, sometimes, heavy duty. In this case, I definitely have to work on the person as a whole to lighten up his/her energy and, sometimes, release the grip that they could be carrying since their childhood. Some voices are sounding too light and, in this case, I have to build a solid foundation underneath of the person’s voice.
Usually, these types of people lack the overall confidence, which, quite amazingly, grows along with their voice development. Needless to say, without the needed confidence and the strong thriving voice, they cannot realize their dream to become a professional performer/speaker/singer.
The conclusion of it is:
Please take care of your speaking and your singing voice to the best of your ability. And, if you’re not satisfied with the way how your speaking or singing voice sounds, look for professional help, as the satisfaction with your voice, will give you satisfaction overall.
Posted by Diana Yampolsky at 3:26 PM