Monday, December 26, 2011

Vocally Speaking, Against all odds, There is a Change with… No Change?

One of my friends likes to use this expression; “There is no change without change”.

Usually, it’s very much so true.

Lately, it’s been no secret that quite a few well known singers have acquired a lot of vocal problems; bleeding vocal chords, polyps, nodules, dysphonia and other nasty vocal disorders.

Why is that... and what is the cause, you may ask?

“We love the voice, we love his or her songs, we love the emotions, we love the performance…”

So, what is the problem then?

The problem is that nobody knows or pays attention to the voice application and how exactly that voice is being used by the singer.

And yes, the industry usually picks up a good looking person, quite often with good song writing skills and with the potential of that person becoming the world wide recording Artist and performer. And yes, when it comes to recording, the best producers and engineers will be producing their magic using, available to them, their magical high-tech technology.

Now what? And what’s in store for the Artist?

Now it’s time to go on tour, to promote the record…

And then… There is a “surprise”.

In a nutshell, and per say, nobody apparently knows how to sing properly and professionally, at least not in a safe and efficient way. Moreover and evidently, the Artists' voices have already been used up in the earlier promotional performances and concerts.

So, the tours are cancelled and everybody is cutting their losses; the Artist, the management, the record company…?

In this time an age, it is a very well-known fact that the best revenues acquired by all parties involved, would be of those derived from the live venues. So, now the voices have to be fixed somehow and preferably, in a quick fashion, so the Artist would not be forgotten and the tour in the future would not be in jeopardy. As a Non-Surgical Voice repair specialist, I could testify that all of the above, nevertheless, is not an easy task. However, by employing the use of my Innovative Vocal Science Technique and Application, it’s definitely doable.

The biggest trick when you work with a professional singer/performer is not to change her/his tone and sound in general, which is, by that time, is very familiar to listener’s ears. In other words, my mission is to produce the change with respect of voice application and placement, but not to change anything else about the artist.

The voice, however, will still sound much clearer, much crispier and overall, much healthier.

I guess those would be the positive changes, as a consequence of the voice now lifted off of the vocal cords and vocal box in general, and thus, structured and placed in the Singer’s facial muscles instead, thus relieving the vocal anatomy from the unnecessary pressure of the sound.

Much easier said than done, but the mission MUST be accomplished.

I need to produce THE CHANGE…with NO CHANGE.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Question is: Am I Evidently Getting Older, or has the World Gone Crazy?

In all honestly, I think the answer is - both.

Granted, I am an old school. My teaching experience is on its 38th year, so you can do simple math and conclude that I'm in my mid-50s.

No, I do not have a mid-life crisis, but what I do have is a regret that the best times of our lives are gone and never will be back.

Let's look at the music of 50s and 60s:

Elvis Presley, Tom Jones, Roy Orbison, Platters and many, many more.

Those were the true musicians, true singers and true performers.

Came the 70s and 80s and in those times, we had the best bands:

White Snake, Skid Row, The Doors, The Eagles, to name a few.

Great music, great performance-ship, exceptional singing...

And in the past decade...?

- No singing by definition
- Some bands, e.g. Simple Plan, can not play their records live, let alone sing it
- Vocal troubles and operations galore... Where do I begin?

The question is why?

The answer - it became "too easy".

The technology along with music producers could play for you, the autotune, melodine and harmonizer can sing for you, but for what cost?

The cost comes later, when the artist can not perform live, but trying real hard, and as a result, inevitably arrives to the operating table for the laser or knife operation.

Now what?

Everybody lost. The artist (not only money and joy, but also the health) and the music industry, which nowadays has nothing else to make money on, but the live shows, performances and venues.

Everybody's hopes are shattered, audience included and nobody knows if they will hear their favourite "artist" again, who they thought could actually sound at least remotely the same as they've heard on the record.

However, on second thought, it could be not such a bad thing, as at least it will save the audience the disappointment.

What's the solution then?

By listening to nowadays' music, I think some of the producers and quite well known ones, have found a solution. Their vocal lines are not containing more than two notes. On a better day and with a little better singer, they might discover a third one - by fluke...!

How sad is that?

And even more sad is that the young population is growing up with that music and thinking that's what the music should be - a couple of lines here and there, a couple of notes here and there and a couple of violent phrases here and there, supported by some insane background dancing.

Yes, definitely I'm getting older, but I'm very proud that all of my faculties are still very sound, except my ears, which are getting more sour by the minute, with every so called "new" song or rap song on the market.

I agree, to each their own, but this so called "music" is definitely a reflection of the state of being of our society, which, unfortunately, in my opinion, is not too sound, and also, in my opinion, it is promoting craziness and violence.

The society, and music along with it, with all of the advanced technology, is definitely degrading with the speed of light.

Where would we go from here?

If the world doesn't end, it will be very scary to find out.

So choose from two evils...

Sunday, December 11, 2011

X Factor: Spot on Reality... Part V - Contestant's Choice...
Close Observations, Constructive Criticism and Praise!

X Factor just had an interesting couple of weeks.

First, the Michael Jackson tribute was offered to them, which I found was quite difficult for the contestants to keep up with. In my opinion, it was one of the least successful performances on the show. However, as usual, it was very entertaining.

This past week, it was contestant's choice, which I find very beneficial for the contestants themselves.

I do not believe that any singer could be thrown into any style of music. It's obviously good to be versatile, but every human being has their own emotional and physical make up and nevertheless, their own biological DNA. All of that dictates the disposition, the character, the behaviour and the vocal expression of that person (speaking or singing for that matter).

In my opinion, the voice is definitely an expression of who this artist as a person is, and also a quite precise identification of the state of their being. And if their inner selves suggest to them that they feel like a country style singer, for example, it would be extremely difficult for them to be thrown into the rap style or an alternative rock...

And of course, the opposite applies. If it is a strong male artist who thrives through the rock genre, it would be difficult to imagine him to sound like Michael Buble, which is sweet, romantic and so to speak "pop-ish".

So this week, I was absolutely in awe when Melanie Amaro was looking and sounding throughout her first song by Adele, exactly like her and resembling Adele almost to the T, and to some degree, even better! She even put her own little twist on the song "Someone Like You" and no doubts made it enhanced and her own.

Frankly, from the technical point of view, I would probably choose Melanie over Adele herself.

Chris Rene was stunningly good this week, and he actually offered a great vocal performance for the first time. My presumption would be that he probably could identify with the song and as I said before, once the performer could "wear" the song like a good slinky dress for a beautiful model, the "vocal fashion" would definitely prevail.

Rachel Crow, who definitely resembles Shirley Temple and is as cute as a button, vocally, however, began to deteriorate for the last several weeks. The little girl desperately wanted to win the $5 million record deal and thus was trying enormously hard. But sometimes less is more, and I think that was the case. Everything about her that was so attractive at the beginning - "singing for her own bathroom" comments and much better vocals and choices of songs,  the sparkling personality, her true natural self, which did not require, in my opinion, much of outer interference - evidently became a little too much for the fans and she, unfortunately, got eliminated.

However, I'm not worried for her future, as no doubts that Simon Cowell sees great potential in this little girl and will sign her to his label in any case. So, she's got it made regardless.

Marcus Canty - I personally love this boy. Like one of the judges said, and I think it was Paula Abdul, "Marcus, your eyes do not lie". That is true. This is the most authentic, emotional and true performance I have witnessed for a while.

One of my favourite singers was Peebo Bryson and Marcus is perfect cross between Peebo Bryson, Brian McKnight and Usher. This boy should make it big and I hope he will not go unnoticed.

Josh Krajcik - He's a great guy and I definitely wish him the best. He has good musicianship and very good intentions. To tell you though, that I'm impressed to death with his vocals or even overall performance, I can't. At least not at the level of stardom.

But he has a lot of fans and you never know what will "come out in the wash" (voting).

As usual, I can not wait for the next week semi-finals.

At this moment my predictions are that Melanie Amaro would "take the cake".

I guess we shall see and equally will pray for each and every one of the remaining contestants.

Stay tuned for my next observations, constructive criticism and praise.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Dysphonia and it’s Causes for Speakers and Singers.
Vocal Science™ Protocol/Case Study

What is Dysphonia, you may ask?

Definition of Dysphonia:

Voice disorders characterized by hoarseness, weakness or even complete loss of voice are called dysphonia.

However, I have to assure you, my reader, that it is not as easy as it sounds.

The loss of voice is only a symptom (a print out of, so to speak, "disturbed software" containing a virus). The cause of it is much more complex and needs to be addressed in full details.

Through my experience, the majority of the clients, especially non-singers, came with some emotional trauma in the past and in the recent past. Usually, it revolves around unsuccessful relationships and/or health issues other than the vocal anatomy.

Due to the above, the throat literally closes on those clients, but being with disagreement of the latter, they push even harder and now involve the muscles of the neck and shoulders as well, while concurrently causing symptoms. Alsmost 100 out of 100, their thyroid is involved as well. It begins to disfunction and in a lot of times, gets swollen and thus, it creates the pressure on the vocal cords.

In holistic teaching, which I studied extensively, (as it is my second passion other than love for music), thyroid represents suppressed emotions and hurts.

Now, go figure, how is the person in question could have a normal voice while being caught up in the full drama of the events.

My last client, diagnosed with muscle tension dysphonia from Florida, U.S., just left two days ago, after embarking on the full blown five day course and herbal treatment in the past week.

Before she left, I had conducted a full interview with her, while concurrently teaching her how to say it properly with now close-to-perfect support, structure, placement and thus, much better projection of the sound.

So here it is:

Diana: You were hesitant to come here, weren’t you?

Judy: Yes

Diana: Why did you choose the Vocal ScienceTM method over others?

Judy: I had faith that something good will finally come my way.
I was in despair and was definitely in desperation
I was also able to receive more specific information than anywhere else I went to or spoken to.

Diana: You spoke to me numerous times, what was your perception while conversing with me?

Judy: I acquired more positive feelings during our conversations and positive feedback which gave me more confidence

Diana: Have you spoken to any other specialists?

Judy: Neurologists, ENTs (four of them), Speech therapists (two) and a thyroid specialist.

Diana: What was the diagnosis?

Judy: Fibromyalgia, thyroid dysfunction and dysphonia.
(I was explained that my thyroid was swollen and pressing on the vocal chords which resulted in voice loss and fibromyalgia)

Diana: You arrived here five days ago and began a non-surgical voice repair course and herbal treatment.  Was it worth it to pay almost $4000.00 for my services and other expenses to travel here from Florida?

Judy: Yes it was, absolutely!

Diana: How do you describe your experience and how would you describe the results accomplished?

Judy: Wonderful experience! Amazing results!

Diana: In what sense, please describe?

Judy: Upon arriving I could not speak properly and hardly at all.

Diana: What happened then?

Judy: And now I'm speaking much better and everybody is noticing it. I spoke to my mom and my daughter over the phone, and they were amazed.

Diana: I know, as your mom called me and thanked me for attending to you.

Diana: Please describe how did you arrive to such a positive and desirable outcome of your trip - to get better?

Judy: By doing special speech exercises, and by clearer understanding of what needs to be done, and not only with my voice, but also with my health overall.

Diana: Has anyone explained anything of a kind or anything that was relevant to the actual vocal damage?

Judy: NO ONE.. Nobody at all.

Diana: Do you have a clear picture now of how to proceed from here?

Judy:Yes very much so, thanks to you.

So interviewing Judy (real name) and spending the time with her, not only during the sessions, but at least in two restaurants located in our plaza, between the sessions, I understood even more so in depth what was causing her condition.

The woman went through a lot emotionally: her own relationships, loss of business due to recession, health and other challenges.

I also interviewed her about her everyday diet and discovered that upon arrival to Canada and checking into the apartment (which I organized for her) she bought ham, cheese, mayonnaise and Sprite...!

To Judy's credit she was extremely compliant with all of my instructions, health and diet included.

Needless to say that with the condition like this, the flora and PH of her vocal anatomy had been tremendously disturbed. Therefore, the protocol is to avoid all creamy, cheesy and overall dairy products, not to mention the combination of them with the proteins. By the way, spicy foods are also not desirable (the comment for those who may be wondering).

The Sprite, or any other sparkling drinks containing carbonated gas, will also be a huge disturbance to the throat and vocal cords.

Judy hardly had any appetite at the beginning, until she started taking natural herbs and remedies, which I included into her Vocal Science(TM) Non-Surgical Voice Repair program protocol.

She followed "by the book" and on the third, fourth and fifth day of our journey, she regained a healthy appetite and mainly the understanding that in this condition, she would have to consume primarily the live foods and not the junk foods or dairy products for that matter.

She will have a long journey of cleansing her body from top to bottom. Now (like a dancer who is dancing off the hardwood floor and not on the thick carpet) the voice will be able to take off of the now clean and clear vocal cords and soar (by our design) to her facial and head cavities, which, in turn, will begin to work in full conjunction and coordination with her abdominal muscles for the greater support of the sound.

Thus, the mission will be achieved and completed and I predict that Judy will arrive to the absolute recovery on every level.

But what about singers, you may ask?

The issues are quite related, however for more detailed information on that, please stay tuned and I will try to shed the light on that issue as well to the best of my knowledge, experience and experience.