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Showing posts from 2009

"Vocal Insurance" - Do You Need An Agent?

Recently I wrote an article for Hit Quarters Online Magazine called "Vocal Insurance" - Do You Need An Agent? What I meant by it and what it was all about was how to protect and save your voice and thus "insure" the health and longevity of your vocal career. It was also addressed to music industry professionals by inviting them to take better care of their artists by simply referring them to top vocal specialists and professionals to ensure that they would be complying with the standards of professional singing and thus not jeoprodizing the health and safety of their vocal anatomy and health in general. To my complete surprise I got several calls from people asking if I was an agent who would LITERALLY INSURE their actual voice. On that note, I became speechless and almost lost my own voice. These people were naive enough to take it literally and, moreover, the thought never occurred in their minds that "if there is anything wrong with my voice, I should find …

Vocally Speaking Part II - Is There Change Without Change? Will the "Magic Pill" Be Enough to Solve All of Your Vocal Problems?

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We get numerous phone calls and emails about people's vocal disorders and vocal problems. They are approaching my institution - which is called the Royans Professional Vocal School Specializing in Voice, Speech and Non-Surgical Voice Repair. When those people called in the past, my first assumption always was that they truly needed help and would do anything to conquer their vocal problems. And, yes, some did. But the majority, interestingly enough, with quite severe vocal disorders, were literally looking for a "magic" pill.



They thought that by taking any pills internally they would fix their severely broken vocal boxes, which were in the first place caused by the wrong application of their voice for singing or speaking. Let's imagine for a second that there would be such a pill in existence and it actually would fix that severe disorder, anatomically speaking. The problem is that these people are unable to understand that there is no change without change and that…

Vocally Speaking - Would you like to conquer your vocal problems or would you rather learn how to live with them?

It never ceases to amaze me when a lot of people are inquiring about serious voice problems and then, in the end, end up doing nothing to fix it. They talk a lot about it, they join support groups to share their sufferings, inadequacies, insecurities, practically disabilities which rob them of the enjoyment of the regular human life. The loss of the ability to use their voice in what is considered to be a normal sense often results in the loss of their jobs and the loss of their relationships. They are all complaining about via numerous emails and discussion board postings, yet when I suggest to them to pick up the phone and let me hear their voice so I can pinpoint whether or not I can help them, there are less than 1% of people will do that even though it might lead them towards finding a non-invasive cure. You would think, "What would prevent them from picking up the phone and calling a toll-free number?" I have thought about it long and hard and finally I came to the con…

Vocally Speaking – Is There Change Without Change? If There Is, Can You Handle It?

A certain percentage of people are coming to us for speech development sessions, often followed by the vocal lessons.

Usually that category of people is comprised of shy individuals who are very soft spoken without any projection of their voice or the message they are trying to convey.

Some of them have damaged voices.

Often they mumble and there is no clarity in their pronunciation, kind of like they have marbles in their mouths.

Some of them are actually inquiring about singing lessons without having any idea that if they hardly could speak, how in the world would they have their singing voice delivered?!

In the first place, the voice is the spirit and, if the voice is shut down, the spirit of that individual is also hidden and not present.

The voice is a reflection of the state of one’s being, an identification of who this person is.

Quite often the people conducting themselves that way are dying to be more loud, more expressive, more emotional and more passionate, but do not know …

Vocal Coaching or Online Marketing?
Let's Find Out What's Greater!

I have been teaching vocals and producing vocal tracks and performances in Toronto for close to 30 years. And I have seen a lot of changes over the last three decades with respect to the music industry and people in general. The music industry has changed a lot recently with the advent of the Internet and this has had both positive and negative aspects. Granted, there are fewer record deals being provided by the major labels. On the other hand, artists have the facility to market their music directly via the Internet. However, people are blowing the use of the Internet out of proportion on every level possible. Not only do they market their music and singing on the Internet, but also they think that they could learn how to sing and play via the Internet. They, overall, became lazy and even to learn or achieve something they are not willing to leave their houses. Knowing that, the so called music professionals, and vocal coaches in particular, quickly realized that the market is there …

Vocal Instruction Gimmicks: Vocal Lessons Online, Via Phone, CD and DVD – What Are They Worth?

I am bombarded on an every day basis with people requesting online vocal lessons, instruction via telephone, CD/DVD based courses or even asked to send them a “magic pill”! They truly believe that the above list of items will solve all of their vocal problems. Just like the emails touting Weight Loss pills and inheritances from millionaires in Nigeria fill our Email Inboxes, if it sounds too far fetched to be true, then it most likely is. Though my claim to fame is accelerated vocal development and sometimes people are curious as to how results can be achieved in such a short period of time, the truth is that I offer a genuine and scientifically researched methodology that works. But, needless to say, it does require face-to-face interaction. The problem with online, phone and CD/DVD lessons is that they are not interactive, so nobody can control whether or not the person is doing the correct thing or provide any feedback. Moreover, when I instruct an artist I have to watch for his bo…

From the Vocal Point of View – Working on the Instrument or Working on the Player? The Answer is…?

It’s a well known fact that it takes two – the instrument and the player. It certainly took a pink grand piano and Liberace very efficiently taking the maximum capacity out of it by simply knowing how to properly access it and, thus, provide us with what we call a Total Performance.

Let’s imagine for a second that the piano would have broken strings, was untuned and the pedals would not work – nobody, not even Liberace, would be able to extract the proper sound out of it, technique or no technique. Let’s now also imagine that the piano would be perfect and the player would be using his elbow to play on it. I don’t think the proper sound would be provided by this technique of playing!

Similarly, to have a good voice is not good enough. You need to know how to “manipulate” this voice in a smart and efficient way, so that the instrument still will sound tuned and remain to be healthy and the “player” will sound pleasant and adequate, complying with the standards of professional singing.

The Music Industry and the Artists: Vocally Speaking... in Suspended Animation?

It’s no secret that the music industry is currently struggling to find out how to generate revenue in the Internet age. Many have suggested focusing on providing music for video games, films, commercials, etc. Artists such as U2 and Britney Spears have made their concerts into event spectacles that cost a lot of money to produce, which actually end up being must see happenings – and not so much for the musical performance as for the lights, stage setup and the overall concert experience. But these types of “theatre” and “circus” are not options for the new and emerging artists, who cannot afford to invest millions in a stage setup. And even if they could they would never be able to recover the investment as they do not have a big, well established international name yet. Besides which, those big name “Circus” artists are getting older and eventually the industry will need a new generation of real artists. Therefore, the question is: would it not be cheaper to coach them to sing proper…

Vocally Speaking – Passing Off the Beautiful Hair Wig as the Real Deal

Please, my dear reader, try to imagine a beautiful, sexy woman with long blond hair. Wow! You would say! And then imagine your disappointment when you find out that underneath of a beautiful blond wig is a partially or completely bald head. And that would have actually been fine if you had known about it in the first place rather than being shocked by the sudden discovery. Similarly, the concert ticket buyer is very often shocked when hearing that their favourite lead singer or solo artist does not even remotely resemble what they have heard on the record. The entourage, the show, the lighting and the musicians are exciting and glamourous - but the voice of the artist often sounds like they were run down by a truck and they have been using their “wigged” head as a brake. Then all of a sudden the “wig” falls off and the naked truth is revealed. The singer is “bald” and has been “heavily camouflaged” and apparently at best “toupeed”. Now almost everybody has lost when the truth has been…

How to Cure Today’s Ill Music Industry - Mystery Diagnosis or…. Vocal Misconceptions?

For the last several years there has been a big concern among music industry professionals that the music industry is broken. Bigwigs and music industry gurus are exclaiming, “How can we fix it?” Last year I attended Music Expo Europe in London, England. The very first thing that was shown to delegates was a documentary film about the problems which the music industry at large is experiencing today. After the film the delegates were asked for their input for a future documentary film on how to fix the music industry. And the delegates, most of whom were also music industry professionals, were suggesting taking the music elsewhere – to the movies, videogames, Internet and what have you. Not one delegate, until I stood up and spoke on camera, speculated as to why it got broken in the first place. I said, “Please pay attention to the artists. Teach them how to sing properly - and in tune preferably, thus, complying with the standards of professional singing – and teach them how to expres…

Vocally Speaking – Working on the Stove When the Fridge is Broken

As you read the above title you probably asked yourself, “Why would anybody work on the stove when the fridge is broken?” Most would answer that it is absurd and that nobody does it. Well, I have news for you. Music Industry professionals are doing it every day on an every artist basis. Why is that you may ask? Because the truth comes out in the wash. The fact is that the majority of artists cannot sing without syllable by syllable comping, auto tuning and melodyning. After the so-called “authentic” performance has been fertilized in the studio it is time for the artist to go on stage and perform live. And then that performance flops. The audience begins to talk and walk away, while in some cases booing the artist off the stage. Then the so-called professionals from the Record Label often make the “wise” decision to implement a change in strategy. For example, the beautiful artist with long brown hair portraying the image of a pop diva is obviously not working, so let’s get her hair c…

Voice Acupuncture

Everybody knows that acupuncture is a Asian medical practice that originated in China and is now very popular and practised all around the world.

This art falls into the holistic philosophy of overall health and well being.

In acupuncture, fine needles are inserted at specific points to stimulate, disperse, and regulate the flow of chi, or vital energy, and restore a healthy energy balance.

Similarly, the Vocal ScienceTM method finds the certain spots and channels in one’s body to activate the human voice and make it work at the fullest capacity possible.

For singers this method knocks down the years of practice of increasing the volume and projection on their voices and mainly corrects the pitch and vastly increases the range.

By pointing out to the singer exactly how to attack and place the sound, his whole performance becomes predominantly designed and, thus, aimed to its final destination upon design.

For speakers, this method assures a proper volume, enunciation, inflection, emph…

Vocal Rehab

Lately the majority of my clients (singing and speaking) are coming to me with some kind of vocal disorder.

The singers are arriving with ruined voices, as they previously were experimenting with voices with their friends, bands and even recording sessions without having any idea, directions, let alone training on how to use their voices correctly.

Among the speakers there are lawyers, teachers, voiceover artists, TV & radio personalities, fitness instructors and customer service representatives who are excessively using their voices on an everyday basis.

Interestingly enough, they all expect a speedy recovery in a flash, kind of like stroke patient who is learning to speak and walk again would be expecting to run a marathon the next day.

It is quite unrealistic, but the good news is that there is definitely a pretty rapid way to recovery – however, obviously not an instant one.

When a person with a stroke or another serious health issue is on the road to recovery, the process tak…

Voice GPS

In most cases, students are now coming to me on the verge of requiring a voice repair because they literally have no idea where they are going with their voices. They are driving between the lines and are in danger of killing everyone else and themselves. They don’t realize that the gas pedal is on the right and they are ending up in Buffalo rather than on Bathurst Street. Interestingly enough, sometimes their cars are not that bad, but they have no idea how to drive them. Similarly, the singer who might even have a very good “instrument” (ie. voice) might not have any idea how to power it and thus can’t project properly, rather than screaming from their lungs and throats, killing their vocal anatomies while doing it. They obviously need to acquire a “Vocal GPS” and learn how to drive their voice to it’s aimed destination in one piece and via any possible shortcut.

Acid Reflux

Every second person that comes to me for a Voice Repair course is stating that he or she was diagnosed with Acid Reflux, and about 99% of the time the diagnosis is incorrect.

It seems that it is now a general catch all label used by doctors for patients they cannot help or don’t know how to help.

They are usually prescribing a drug (Nexium, Zantac, etc.) which almost never produces any results and the person still complains even more about a dry and itchy throat, hoarseness and an inability to sing or speak clearly.

In reality the problem is still the same – all of these people are using their voices incorrectly (speaking and/or singing) and all of their symptoms are caused specifically by this premise.

However, once their voice has been lifted off their vocal boxes and separated from the anatomies and made freely flown above and on top of their physical bodies, their voice is no longer affected by anything that is going on with their physical body, even if they actually have a real a…

Occupational Hazards: Dealing with Everyday Bad Voice Habits.

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I work with people from a wide variety of professions and walks of life, but I do find myself working with specific groups of people more often than others: Lawyers, Teachers, Admin Assistants, Salespeople, Public Speakers, Professional Voiceover Artists, Radio & TV Personalities and Singers.

Due to their chosen professions, they often ruin their voices because they have no knowledge of any sort with respect of how to use their voices properly or how to preserve their voices for a prolonged period of time.

Majority of times, these people tend to speak without any knowledge of how to lift their voices off of their vocal boxes and vocal cords in particular, and rather, instead, put their voices in use employing a different set of muscles (facial muscles); thus providing a very much needed rest for their vocal anatomy overall.

On the contrary, they are pulling and pushing their vocal chords, squeezing and twisting their larynx and, moreover, engaging the muscles in their necks and c…