Saturday, July 28, 2012

Voice Damage - You Save the Money...! "You Won the Case"...! But... You are Left with All the Damages!

Since I'm, looks like it, the one and only vocal specialist who is offering non-surgical voice repair, I'm getting a lot of inquiries via e-mail and sometimes phone calls, stress SOMETIMES.

People are writing to me general e-mails, complaining about the occurrence of their nasty symptoms associated with vocal damage, and they want me, via e-mail...? to offer them a cure.

When I offer them to speak on the phone and even offer to call them myself to save them money for the long distance phone call, only, to be generous, 50% of those who inquired and pleaded for help, would agree to speak to me.

It seems like people have no concept of phone conversations any longer.

They're using their phones for texting and e-mailing.

The voice repair issue is in a manner of speaking, a medical issue, at least in the majority of cases.

I'm wondering, would it occur those people's minds to e-mail to the actual doctor and not only to ask him, virtually, to help them, but also would ask the doctor to reveal the previous patient's files (which should be confidential) to satisfy the curiosity of the new patient and, so to speak, to provide some confidence for those who would inquire...?

Somehow, I doubt it.

However, after not just one, but numerous inquiries from the same individual, they would never pick up the phone.

I need to hear the person's voice to determine if it is my case and if I can attend to it.

I need to hear the emotion on the other end, the willingness and lovingness to have their vocal problem solved, and of course, willingness to travel to my office/studio and thus, conquer their problem.

They don't go for it most of the time.

Some of them, however, do pick up the phone and even make some tentative commitment to come and work on their vocal problem.

However, all the problems are different and all of them have the different degree of difficulty.

All my courses and treatments are structured in 10 hour increments, but some people require 20-30 hours of instruction and treatment.

In the recent past, I had an e-mail from a person who said that she thoroughly investigated my site, read all of my articles and blogs and came to the decision that I am the one who she would trust to work on her voice.

She even had the date set for her arrival to Toronto and was all ready to embark on non-surgical voice repair treatment.

She told me that she's an older person who has been doing public speaking for years and now, she's coughing and clearing her throat at all times and also has bleeding vocal cords, which infringes greatly on her public speaking livelihood.

When I've seen that e-mail, I replied with first of all, the suggestion to call me and to discuss all of it over the phone. And secondly, I "speculated" that she definitely, minimum, would need 20 if not all 30 hours with me. I, however, "did not dare" to talk about 30 hours at all, and only offered her 20.

She became very angry and pointed out that somewhere on my website, she saw that I'm offering 10 hours for under $4000.00 and that was good enough for her.

There was absolutely no listening or reasoning I could attribute towards that person.

I even gave her an example that the Dr. B Diet Clinic here in Toronto guarantees 20 pounds of weight loss over one month period of time, provided that you're following the protocol.

Let's say I need to lose 50 pounds.

Would I hold it against the doctor that I would have to pay for the next 30 pounds to be lost and attend the clinic for the next 3-5 months to achieve my goal? Would I stupidly expect to lose all 50 pounds in one month?

If it was in Russia, they would simply call 911 and would commit me to the mental institution and I truly would agree with them that it would be the right course of action to do so (lol).

Moreover, on the end, this very person said that she found an opera singer (note that she is not even a singer), who supposedly will cure her pretty severe vocal problem...!!!

On this note, I can only say, Good Luck!

She, meanwhile, is quite happy, as she saved some money...?

Whether or not she will get anything out of it, remains to be seen. Somehow, I greatly doubt it.

She did, however, acknowledge that that opera singer did not sound as good and promising as me, but she was happy to save the money. Go figure!

Well, maybe they're right and I'm wrong, and maybe they won the case, as they did not leave their couch and did not travel to me for our mutual work on their vocal problem, or maybe next time they would choose a gynaecologist to work on their brain problem and would be happy about it (lol). Who knows?

But the question, though, remains to be open... WHERE DOES IT LEAVE THEM?

Perhaps on the couch, perhaps feeling right, in their own mind and in some cases, even happy because they saved the money for the travel and for the instruction and treatment.

But guess what?


So, the case is adjourned and might finally get dismissed, because by the time they will come to their senses (if they ever will), it might be already beyond non-surgical repair, where then, even I would not be able to help.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Vocal “Virginity”...? Vocally... so to speak... Breaking Through?
Revolutionary Approach to Vocal Maturity!

"Italy's Singing Nun Channels Madonna, Releases 'Like a Virgin' Cover"

As I mentioned before, providing vocal services of all sorts for over four decades, I think I’ve seen it all and pretty much dealt with it all. However, the title (which speaks for itself) is even for me, still remains to be quite outrageous. 
First of all, you my reader, may ask: 'What I mean by vocal “virginity”'? 
To answer that question with more clarity, I will give you an example of a dancer who desperately wants to perform on stage, but has, so to speak, bad feet (flat feet with no arch), and also very tight hips, whereby the perfect turn out of the dancer’s body is very hard to achieve. 
The above two components are crucial to the dance profession, even on an amateur or semi-professional level, let alone on a professional level. Similarly, I am receiving potential students with, at the glance, a very small mouth opening, very tight throats and quite disproportional bodies. Those components for the singer, or singer to be, are also crucial. 
If you look to well known singers like Steven Tyler, Mick Jagger, the late Whitney Houston, even Jesse J, for that matter, due to their quite large mouth openings and, no doubts, throat openings, they have a much easier time to produce sound than even, I believe, Celine Dion. Luckily for her, though, she obviously has a quite sufficient inner opening, which compensates a lot for her not very 'well endowed' mouth. 
So, as you could probably already guess, if you have a big mouth (no pun intended) a quite wide opening in your throat, and proportionally fit body, you are already ahead of the game. Those components identify your, so to speak, vocal “instrument”. 
The student I recently received was a complete beginner, but desperately wanted to sing in her church. 
I said, “No problem. Let’s go.”
And our journey started quite successfully, but somewhere close to 7-8 hours of instruction, I understood that it’s not an ordinary case of just vocal training I should have offered in this case. By this wonderful female student of mine’s reciprocation, I understood that perhaps she has some kind of an obstacle on the outer and especially on the inner side of her vocal anatomy. 

She simply did not have a “throat”. Like the ballet dancers would use the term “bad feet” or “no feet” - meaning as far as dancing is concerned. 
Needless to say, my client’s speech was also very faint and the words that came out from her were very 'tight' and, so to speak, closed in. I kind of overlooked it at the beginning of our journey, as I got excited to attend to such a wonderful and Godly human being in my studio. 

Now, looking back, I should have suggested to start with the speech and speech development only and not to touch anything vocally until at least the next 10 or 20 hours. I also should have started with the natural herbs and remedies, which I know for a fact, would strengthen her vocal anatomy and thus, hopefully would open up the passage through which the voice would be traveling out of her mouth and body. In this case, it would be a perfect protocol to prepare, stretch and strengthen the vocal anatomy to the max, and make it strong and flexible enough, so it could withstand the proper sound. Then, as usual, I would lift that sound off of the vocal box and restructure it in the set of the facial muscles, which, by themselves, would strengthen the sound, minimum to say, quadruple times over, provided though, that the facial muscles would be working in full conjunction and coordination with the (strengthend by that time) abdominal muscles.
Due to the recession, every potential client gives me a “song and dance” about how poor they are and how they cannot afford anything and thus, respectively, if they go for it, they want everything to be done in the “nick of time”. 
Sometimes it is possible, but definitely not always. 
If I receive a talented and mentally sound student, with the perfect anatomy and physiology, I could do it in 10 or even less hours, and as an outcome, deliver the miracle. 
Those who do require either voice repair, vocal box repair, anatomy and physiology restructure and balance, have to understand that my offer in its nature is already a miracle, as I am actually ready to attempt, and no doubts to succeed, in a very hard and complicated case, such as described above. So they, in turn, have to be prepared to pay (stress pay) their dues, in a figurative and in a real understanding of that word. 
To the credit of my yet vocally inadequate client, she committed herself for 30 hours at once and not only gladly paid for it, but said thank you that I accepted it. 
It was me, being conditioned that everybody is busy counting their loonies, toonies or whichever currency they had been paying with, tried to speed up the process instead of looking at it in more detail and take it rather slower, as less sometimes is definitely more. 
So, our journey will continue when my client returns from her vacation. Now knowing what I know, the success of our mutual venture is inevitable. I caught myself, that I succumbed to the poverty mentality of my overall clients. Nevertheless, it will never prosper them, but in this case, it somehow caught up with me.
On this note, I should say that, in my opinion, instead of thinking of the money and not of their successful goal, they should persevere without doubts and with whichever reasonable cost they can afford. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Brain Capacity Deficit - Computer Chips Instead of Brains, Heart and Soul?
How Does it affect our humanity musically speaking and otherwise?

I've been running the Royans Professional Vocal School for nearly 29 years now.

Ever since the beginning, to be exact, on February 15th of 1984, the business itself required a person (myself, my by now deceased partner, or somebody hired at the desk) to answer the phone and to explain what exactly we've been offering.

As you all know, at the time we had just a rotary phone and hardly a tape-recorder-type answering machine.

Strangely enough, looking back today at those precious days, the business actually was by far more efficient then it is today.

How so, you may ask?

Practically nobody had cell phones, which means they could not text any irrelevant questions and hide behind it to avoid a human voice communication.

The computers were hardly present, with the exception of some profound law firms and other executive organizations, and of course, the government.

So, the communication those days was live and actually very pleasurable, as people then (perhaps not being so polluted by technology and radiation) were actually, in my estimate, by far more so with it; much brighter, much more articulate and, no pun intended, much more mobile... (lol on the latter).

Moreover, since the only way of communication they had, like me, was a rotary phone (and if there were particularly lucky, a touch tone phone), you could actually pick up their emotion and passion during the conversation. Big WOW TODAY!!!

Needless to say, the brains they owned those days were actually converting the information, as they knew that nobody was going to recap that information via text or e-mail back to them.

I remind you, my readers, that those means simply did not exist yet (my personal comment - Thank God, that I caught the good times and experienced some NORMAL human communication).

As we were progressing forward (primarily technologically) and needless to say regressing in our human communication, the music also was regressing rapidly, somewhere from the middle of the 90s and came to the peak of its regression right to nowadays.

Starting in the early 90s, the cell phones kicked in, along with touch tone phones connected to electronic answering machines.

Now the one and only way the person could use their brains is to exercise multiple choices, which were given to them via the possible answers on every question a human being could have had. The subject did not actually matter.

After pressing, minimum to say, 25 buttons (lol), the answer of the supposedly right representative would come in, "I'm not at my desk or out of the office. Please try again."

I thought it was quite inhuman then, but little did I know...

To go forward, you will not hear even that anymore.

And if you do, and for example, like in the well known commercial, when the person was asking for a hot chocolate, the automated response was offering him a "hot coffee" (lol).

Nowadays, our new generation is actually afraid of phones and nevertheless has no concept of the latter for its very function.

While they look at the phone, they think of texting, e-mailing, video games, browsing on the internet and recording TV shows.

They're just way too busy to be personal or personable, for that matter, and to spend their "valuable time" away from the above aforementioned gadgets.

How pathetic is that?

Are we expecting from this generation, a heart, a soul and a passion, with which they would supposedly produce our music?

In my estimate, only in our wildest dreams.

I once asked one of my young male vocal students if he had a girlfriend.

He responded, "Yes, I have seven."

I said, "How is that possible?"

He said, "They're all virtual and they don't even know my real name."

When this boy becomes a man, would he be able to handle a real relationship, which should contain heart, soul, brain, passion, caring and just simple love for another person?

It makes me wonder...

Let's say this boy, now a young man, will attempt to write a song.

What does he have to write about?

Needless to say, he has not, in a real sense, experienced any of the above listed feelings.

"I believe the children are our future," as the late Whitney Houston once sang.

Speaking of the computer chips, clearly, our children/our future are becoming extremely robotic and "electronic" in their nature.

No wonder the British pop star Adele became a national heroine, as she, out of not too many, actually expresses her feelings out loud and not being afraid to offer her soul and heart, so to speak, "naked".

Luckily, some people still have some brains left, and those people did appreciate Adele's honestly and sincerity.

That's what a true artist should be required to do at all times, provided that they have something to sing about...

The song is a story telling through music.

I believe that the only stories the growing population possesses are the ones they learn from the internet.

Unfortunately, those stories could be sometimes of a questionable nature.

Now, coming back to answering the phones from 1984 to 2012.

Today, if I even get an odd call (primarily I receive e-mails and texts instead), the people on the other line respond exactly like the aforementioned commercial, where I'm speaking about "hot chocolate" and they're speaking about "hot coffee".

Then I repeat the second time, and insist that it's still about "hot chocolate" and they are, in turn, insisting back to me that it is about "double espresso".

Now, when everybody is confused to the nicest, in the end, they complain that they couldn't hear me well, or that I still have a strong accent, and they ask to recap everything in an e-mail.

To summarize, as you already know, I've been answering this phone since 1984, and by that time, I was in the country barely for four years.

"Strangely and peculiarly enough", nobody ever complained about my accent then.
They actually had enough of an attention span to listen and comprehend what the conversation was about in its nature.
Go figure!

Thank God that I'm very secure within myself and by now, I've spoken with the whole world on my phone - with English speaking audience and others. I've ran numerous seminars and workshops, with the capacity of over 200 people, all around the world and nobody ever complained. At least, definitely not then.

Now, to cover up their inadequacy of converting information in their brains to something tangible, they are blaming me that it is too much information to comprehend or that it hasn't been delivered to them the way they envisioned...?

I'm not sure where we are all going with it, but in my opinion, should it continue like this, by the law of averages;

THE WORLD WILL BE HEADING OUT TO ITS END, at least in a human sense.

Needless to say, the music world, however, is definitely taking the lead, and it is already, in my opinion, soon may be coming to its finish line.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

“Vocal noose”.... Could it lead to a, so to speak, “vocal suicide”?

Teaching and consulting for over 37 years, I have dealt with a lot of different people from all walks of life.

Some of them were already professional singers and some were just beginners.
However, they all had something in common....

Almost every one of them was gripping on their necks and some more than others.
Those, with incorrect vocal technique, and those who just did not know better, were looking very stressed and sounded not at ease at all, to put it mildly.

In my books it’s called a complete “vocal suicide”.

Why so drastic and so dramatic, any of my readers could ask?
The fact is that in the real sense, it is very detrimental not only to your vocal performance, but also your overall health in general. 

When the vocal performer tightens the neck, the veins supplying the oxygen also tighten and thus, the brain becomes naturally depleted of air.

Many years ago, a Russian singer/actor dropped dead on stage for exactly the same reason. His neck turned blue and he passed out. The doctors tried to revive him back to life, but they evidently did not succeed.

The Vocal Science technique advocates the lift of the sound off of the vocal cords and the vocal box, which automatically releases the chest, shoulders and needless to say neck muscles from the pressure of the sound.

Now, restructured to the facial cavities, the voice will begin to work in full conjunction and coordination with the abdominal muscles, and thus the pressure from the whole body will be released, not to mention that singer’s voice will never be in jeopardy.
On this note, I have to point out that the breathing mechanism is also extremely important.

If all three components-lower abdominal muscles ,upper diaphragm muscles and the proper mouth breathing are not simultaneously activated and in alignment with each other, the voice will then become strained and constricted.

So be sure to employ the correct parts of your body while singing, and thus arrive alive to your next show.