Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What good is an encore performance if your voice dies before you get there?

After all these years of bigger and bigger live music shows, everyone that’s
been to a concert, large or small, expects any great show to have an encore.
So after singing, playing and entertaining the crowd for two or two and a
half hours on average, the crowd expects the artist or band to come out and
sing with the same excellence, energy and conviction another song or two to
close the show.

The problem is that the majority of singers are not singing it by design.
And primarily they deliver their performance by what I call, ‘playing it by
ear.’ That means that they do not have an adequate vocal technique or at
least the knowledge about it, which would allow them to save and protect
their voices, and make it last for hours on end.

Ultimately, they’re using the wrong set of muscles while singing and thus
using and abusing their vocal apparatus sometimes to the bitter end. It’s a
known fact that even Celine Dion once lost her voice during her concert.
Luckily she found a very knowledgeable Doctor of ENT (Ear Nose and Throat)
who, not only fixed the acquired damaged cause by improper technique, but
also no doubt showed her how to re-structure her voice in a different set of
muscles, and thus save and protect her voice up until the present day. I’m
not sure what means he used, but on the final analysis she was able to
acquire something similar to what I am teaching to every client of mine by
applying what I call the “Vocal Science Technique”. The core of this
technique is to re-structure your voice in a set of the facial muscles and
then put them to work in full conjunction and coordination with the
abdominal muscles, which will allow the performer to work smart and not
hard, and with minimum efforts achieve the maximum result. The facial
muscles in this equation will also play the role of the natural resonator or
amplifier and thus the voice will sound well placed, structured and
projected while simultaneously being supported by the physical body. As a
result, the tone, the conviction of the sound and the body of the sound will
dramatically improve. Furthermore, the enunciation and pronunciation of the
words as well as overall clarity of the sound will be achieved.

If the vocalist is well aware of all these components, his or her voice will
never be in jeopardy. And therefore the songs in the encore will sound just
as good as the ones at the beginning of the first set.

Afterall, couldn’t you agree that this type of show would be desirable on
both ends, for the performer and for the audience…?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Vocally Speaking - How to Realize a “Teenage Dream” to succeed in the Music Industry at Large



I started teaching since 1976 in Russia and at that time was teaching primarily kids grade 1 through grade 8. They too liked the pop music, which was hardly available for the easy listening with the exception of a couple of local stars and some Beatles hits, which were occasionally played on the radio.

Nowadays, here in Canada and in Europe especially, pop singing is very popular amongst constantly rising young artists and of course the teenagers who are on a regular basis listening to them through their radios, iPods and phones, and who would want to emulate something similar in their dreams and who would also want to experience the glamour which they see and read about in fashion magazines and watching on YouTube. For some of them the dream will remain to be a dream, but for others it could become a reality.

At the present time, I myself have been scouting a teenage talent, primarily amongst young girls age 14 - 22. Some of them have more potential and more vocal talent, some less, but not only the vocal talent will take place in realizing their teenage dream. There are far more components which are required to make it big in the music industry at large. Luckily from where I sit, I don’t need to find the potential artist who writes her own very unique and original material, however that would be preferable. I do have contacts in North America and more so in the UK, where the prominent songwriters and producers will take care of that aspect and will co-write with the potential artist catering to their personality, portrayed future image, desires of their hearts and their intelligence. However, the confidence, the self-worth and self-esteem, not to mention the appropriate suitable looks will be definitely required from the future artist to put on the table of the equation. Some teenagers come to me and they have some components of the above description, but are lacking the others. Some of them have excessive weight, however very cute faces, but due to the former, have no required confidence or self-esteem. I previously said that the writing of the songs is not the issue. I can also, with absolute confidence, say that if they have at least 5% - 10% of vocal talent, I can complete the rest. I apply my Vocal Science(TM) method and revolutionary technique, which I’ve been promoting for the last 30 years in Canada and it works like magic and in a very short order.

So what’s left? What’s left is the persona of the future artist. As I said before, with my guidance, if they have a weight issue (I have a weight issue myself for almost my whole life, but also vigorously conquering it at the present time and could be a good example for my clients) they would need to take a serious care of it, as the prototype of a teenage girl is definitely a sexy looking and groomed body with the current fashionable clothes attached to it. The weight issues (again I know it first hand) could cause a lot of personal insecurity and low self-esteem. Besides myself, I have a team of people who could take care of all of this. It becomes that much easier for a teenager, because they’re focused and aimed towards their global performance goal. By learning how to sing professionally, they see that their confidence is rising as well (as knowledge is producing confidence). Then after they obtain sufficient amount of instruction they will be introduced to the most prominent recording studio in Toronto - “Phase One” - to obtain a recording of their demo CDs to be introduced as a sample to appropriate people in the music industry. All of that is the beginning of a Teenage Dream being realized in a real sense.

Let’s outline the benefits of this process while remembering that the music business is very speculative and nobody can guarantee 100% of making it big. However, the benefits themselves could be greater than even the actual final goal.

-  The excess weight is lost
-  The sexy image is obtained
-  The self-confidence and self-esteem is not an issue any longer
-  The focus and goal orientation helps achieving the greater studies and marks at school
-  The real recording studio experience with the real producers and engineers - every musically oriented teenager’s dream

And most likely, if they’re under my care and I find all of their achievements to be sufficiently accomplished, the winning ticket to success is absolutely inevitable at least in some capacity.

So if you have a teenager on your hands who has dreams to be successful and it happens to be in the entertainment business, don’t hesitate to visit our website www.vocalscience.com and read more on how to achieve a great success in wherever you or your kids will put the desire.

Diana Yampolsky is the Master Vocal Coach, Studio Vocal Producer, and Non-Surgical Voice Repair Specialist at The Royans Professional Vocal School in Toronto, Canada. She is also the creator of the Vocal Science (TM) method and Talent Scout & Director for the 4 A.M. Talent Development and Artist Management Group Inc.
 
If you find yourself struggling with vocal performance or are in need of voice repair, you can reach Diana by email or phone, 416-857-8741

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What is the secret to being a standout artist now and in the foreseeable future?

Everybody knows that writing and recording a good original song is an important key to one's success in the music industry. Not everybody knows or realizes, though, that you need to be able to sing that song in the exact fashion as it has been written; preferably in tune and with proper phrasing, inflection, emphasis, pronunciation and clarity. You also have to be able to use your voice correctly in order to survive more than one song performance and prevent long term damage. If you are capable of all of that, your listeners will respect you because the magic of your music consistently translates in live performances and isn't just artificially created in the studio. Also, the record labels will be more interested in you because you can bring your "A" game any place, any time. Furthermore, already respected and well-known artists will be more interested in featuring you on their records, which brings you exposure to their fanbases.

Consumers these days are very smart. They are not running out to the record stores in a hurry to buy a new artist’s CD. Depending on the genre, there is increasing interest in real talent and they want access to a given artist's music on YouTube where they can to be assured a performer is authentic and not fabricated in the studio. That connection is what will lead them to buy a ticket to see an artist live... and if they like the concert, maybe buy the CD.

To summarize, what would it take to become a successful artist now and in the future?

-       Musical talent and the ability write a hit song
-       Vocal talent and training in order to perform up to professional standards
-       Social Media presence 
               A well designed and integrated website. Bandzoogle is a great resource
               Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. See Ariel Hyatt's book for guidance
               Viral marketing campaigns ...  if you're clever and timely enough. Here are the principles

Once you have these considerations in full swing, your odds of standing out and succeeding in today’s music business are immeasurably better.

Diana Yampolsky is the Master Vocal Coach, Studio Vocal Producer, and Non-Surgical Voice Repair Specialist at The Royans Professional Vocal School in Toronto, Canada. She is also the creator of the Vocal Science (TM) method and Talent Scout & Director for the 4 A.M. Talent Development and Artist Management Group Inc.
 
If you find yourself struggling with vocal performance or are in need of voice repair, you can reach Diana by email or phone, Toll Free in North America, at 1-888-229-TUNE (8863)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Media human spirit pollution and conditioning: How does it affect the music business in general and vocal performer in particular?

We all go to sleep and wake up with the news on the radio, TV or Internet. Usually, none of the news stories are positive. They typically speak about crimes committed on a daily basis, horrible accidents that are happening all the time, and the getting-worse-by-the-minute financial situation in the country and around the world globally.

Also, they are reciting about new technology, which is being upgraded literally all the time and not necessarily for the betterment of humanity. Therefore, evidently, the world is becoming more dangerous, more financially unstable, more electronically oriented and much less personal. Speaking of personal, the media and marketing campaigns are promoting complete selfishness and ‘Me, Myself and I’ attitudes. Just listen to them; “My phone, my personal TV, iPhone, iTunes,”, in other words Me, Me, Me, Me… and Myself.

With this philosophy, how is the human being supposed to care for another human being when it’s all self-oriented? How’s the performer able to reach out to the audience and offer a part of him or herself when they don’t know how? Their performances purely by default, become narcissistic. Ultimately, the vocal performance is a story telling through music, and usually that story should be addressed to the listeners...shouldn't it?

Unfortunately this selfish, unstable and getting poorer by the minute world has nothing positive to offer and that has been reflected in music productions and the music industry as a whole. In fact, the music industry, at least in Canada, is now practically non-existent. The recording studios, with their million dollar consoles and other invaluable gear, are also practically extinct, as any ‘Joe Blow’ without any expertise on the matter is trying to replicate so-called recording out of his basement apartment.

And sometimes, believe it or not, this basement music somehow succeeds at getting widespread radio play...?

The other day I was walking around Niagara Falls, Canada and heard my student’s band on the radio and I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of his band's music and his vocal performance. His singing was definitely good quality and up to par. Right after his song finished, another so-called 'singer' came into play and I almost choked on a little healthy snack I had in my mouth. It was beyond horrible…! How anybody who has remote hearing abilities and self respect could put somebody like that on the radio is beyond me. Mind you, I’m currently on a diet and it definitely played a positive role in my dieting as I nearly threw up and lost my appetite for the rest of the day. It could be not a bad thing for those trying to lose weight, lol.

With the help of the media and electronics our lives are becoming lifeless, music-less, and everything else ‘less’ for that matter. We are too selfish, too self-centered and too self absorbed…

So go figure... The world obviously has been prompted to some, in a manner of speaking, 'Pavlovian conditioning'...

Diana Yampolsky is the Master Vocal Coach, Studio Vocal Producer, and Non-Surgical Voice Repair Specialist at The Royans Professional Vocal School in Toronto, Canada. She is also the creator of the Vocal Science (TM) method and Talent Scout & Director for the 4 A.M. Talent Development and Artist Management Group Inc.
 
If you find yourself struggling with vocal performance or are in need of voice repair, you can reach Diana by email or phone, Toll Free in North America, at 1-888-229-TUNE (8863)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Vocal Style: Channelling Your Emotions Into Your Vocal Performance


We all know the importance of proper vocal technique and its role in the safety and protection of a singer's voice. But how important is it to attach a singer's style and emotion to that technique? And where should those feelings come from? The answer, obviously, is: They have to come from within.
I have a favourite saying, "Be it, Feel it, Love it, Live it". What I mean by that is that a performer has to identify not just with the style of the music, but also with the lyrics and message he or she wants to convey. This is easier for singers who write their own songs, but many mainstream top-40 artists do not, especially in Pop. Recently, I recorded a young artist who was covering Miley Cyrus's "Can't be Tamed" for a demo and that song requires a lot of staccato punch. The title of the song itself suggests strength, rebellion, power, self-esteem and self-worth. If that song is sung with softness instead of intensity, or without strong enough inflection, the message would be lost on an emotional level and infringe on the style of the accompanying music. It took a lot of mentoring and vocal consulting in the studio to help the artist identify herself with the intensity of the song and channel that energy into her performance, as in reality the artist is a very soft and gentle person ... not that intense at all. This reflects the notion that, in a manner of speaking, real performing artists have to walk into a different role with every song. Much like an actor learns their characters and acts their roles on stage and in film, the singer/performer is ultimately a story teller through music.
Let's take Lady Gaga for example. I went to one of her concerts this summer and watched her very intently. I tried to see who she was through her performance and came to the conclusion that she is none of the things she portrays on stage, but she is a great actress who plays her role with absolute excellence. Obviously she and her team created the image she bears and the spectacular show that looked, to me, almost like a Halloween play with monsters and angels; full of liberty, sex, dance and what have you. It was very cleverly set out, covering absolutely every aspect of entertainment and catering to an audience of wide ranging ages and interests. To pull off a performance like Gaga's, the performer does not necessarily have to be the character he or she is singing about, but they definitely have to channel the song's character, being, and emotions through their own intrinsic paths of artistic expression and overall performance. 
Diana Yampolsky is the Master Vocal Coach, Studio Vocal Producer, and Non-Surgical Voice Repair Specialist at The Royans Professional Vocal School in Toronto, Canada. She is also the creator of the Vocal Science (TM) method and Talent Scout & Director for the 4 A.M. Talent Development and Artist Management Group Inc.
 
If you find yourself struggling with vocal performance or are in need of voice repair, you can reach Diana by email or phone, Toll Free in North America, at 1-888-229-TUNE (8863)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Importance of Peripheral "Thinking" for Singers: A Case Study in Revolutionary Vocal Performance

You are obviously familiar with the term "peripheral vision". Every driver knows that if they don't exercise their peripheral vision they might get into trouble, as when you're driving you have to watch front, back, left and right. It is that level of attention that will help you avoid an accident because you can catch an unexpected object racing at you with just the corner of your eye. Personally, I was encountered with that situation not too long ago and if it were not for my active use of peripheral vision, I would not be writing this blog now.

Along a similar vein, while running a number of vocal workshops and seminars over the last three decades, I have learned that when consulting large groups, you have to be able to see all of your clients at once so as not to lose their attention. In the context of sports, hockey players cannot play their game well and, worse, will undoubtedly suffer an injury if they are not actively engaging their peripheral vision. I could refer you to the movie "The Cutting Edge" where that happened with a top hockey player who chose to become a figure skater in order to keep skating after his injury. Without peripheral vision there is no way to react in time to a high speed puck moving rapidly towards you. In music, the piano player has to always be looking at least one bar ahead with the corner of their right eye, otherwise the next consecutive score will come to them as a surprise. And finally, a singer has to anticipate what is coming next in a song, thinking of how to prepare and place their voice in the proper facial cavities so that they achieve the desired sonic outcome. That requires not only peripheral vision, but also peripheral thinking.

A performer should think ahead and quickly respond to changes in note height, especially notes that challenge their natural or developed range (high or low). If the singer is only concerned with what is happening in the present moment, they are very likely to falter in their application of trained technique, ultimately resulting in false notes and/or vocal cracks and inconsistency. So, the use of peripheral thinking, like peripheral vision, is a skill in itself which needs to be developed along with vocal technique, performance and style.

This was especially true for one particular case under my care, where a young and promising female singer was good in pieces, but experienced difficulties connecting it all together. She was failing to think forward and, thus, was not preparing appropriately for the upcoming vocal challenges in the song. Depending on the natural abilities of the singer, perfecting this type of coordination could take a considerable amount of time and training... as it did with this singer whose determination has paid off and is now working with high end songwriters and producers; well on her way to obtaining a record deal like many of my other clients. As such, my experience in working with this singer and overcoming her challenges is what inspired me to start sharing the concept of "peripheral thinking" and later to write this blog.

The lesson is: "Stay in the moment, but anticipate what could/will happen next and act accordingly"
That will help you keep your vocal pieces together.

Diana Yampolsky is the Master Vocal Coach, Studio Vocal Producer, and Non-Surgical Voice Repair Specialist at The Royans Professional Vocal School in Toronto, Canada. She is also the creator of the Vocal Science (TM) method and Talent Scout & Director for the 4 A.M. Talent Development and Artist Management Group Inc.
 
If you find yourself struggling with vocal technique or are in need of voice repair, you can reach Diana by email or phone, Toll Free in North America, at 1-888-229-TUNE (8863)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Vocal Box Repair: Is There Such a Thing? And is it even possible?



Apparently there is! And yes, it is possible and it is fixable… however, with great difficulty.



For comparison, let’s look at classical ballet dancers: Everybody knows that ballerinas have to have a certain arch in their feet, especially females. It is detrimental to their careers if their feet are flat and not properly arched, because it would be difficult to do pirouettes; circling up to 32 revolutions (fouett├ęs) with one leg while keeping the whole weight of the body on the other leg while the flat foot is virtually unable to hold the body weight.



Similarly for singers, the upper palette (located in the vocal box) also has an arch and curve. The deeper that arch is, the more the "body of the voice" will be projected. The palette arch, however, is not everything, as the sound also needs to be supported simultaneously by the lower abdomen and upper diaphragm, or else the whole lift of the voice becomes obsolete. Singers can avoid cracks in their voice and letting their sound “fall down” by lifting their voice into the facial cavities, where the facial muscles will also have to be supported by the arch of the upper palette, as well as by the abdominal muscles. Like in ballet, there is a lot of coordination involved between body parts and the human voice.

Can a damaged vocal box be fixed? Yes, to varying degrees based on individual cases. At the very least, it can be improved so that the sound will be much more steady, secure and at much less risk of falling and producing a crack. It is, however, very detailed and intense work for all parties involved.

Your pathway to recovery begins by utilizing the basics of speech. It requires attentive repetition of syllables, vowels and phrases. Then vocalizing different combinations of sounds will assure the control of duration of sound(s) as well as clarity and precision of pitch. The purpose and use of different combinations of sounds in musical performance (and also public speaking) can be very different and can require specific ways of applying the vocal/voice techniques. In the end, all of the work will lend itself to a better quality, frame, and body of sound; and thus will be instrumental in achieving greater voice projection, tone, inflection, diction and overall clarity.

All of this, of course, requires a trained specialist who understands the mechanics of voice, and is able to hear where the problems lie. Ultimately, it requires a voice repair specialist who also knows how to help you reconstruct your sound and heal your voice in general.




If, by chance, you are in need of voice repair, but do not want to resort to surgery, or are interested in preventing vocal box damage, you can learn more about our unique non-surgical voice repair programs at www.repairyourvoice.com and www.vocalscience.com