Thursday, April 25, 2013

The incorrect application of the speaking and singing voice... Does it always fall in the category of the Voice Repair?

The answer to that question, luckily, would be no, not always.

Sometimes, people using their speaking and their singing voices in the not exactly safe and correct manner. In fact, the misuse of the human voice begins from the lower drowned position of the voice, which also results in a lower volume, and quite often in a raspy sounding voice.
In some cases, it’s just a result of the manner in which the person speaks, and there is nothing really wrong per say with the actual voice.

Unfortunately, in North American Schools, nobody teaches children and later, young adults, how to speak, i.e., how to conduct themselves (posture wise) while speaking and delivering the message, how to articulate and pronounce and announce the words clearly, and also, with the proper emphases and inflections.

If those components are not addressed, and thus, the voice is drawn deeply to the bottom of the vocal box, the person could experience an acid reflux, as in this instance, the voice could easily be burned by the gastric acid. When the doctors spot gastric acid reflux, they prescribe the chemical medication, which supposedly will cure it and moreover, will “cure” the burned vocal anatomy.

Go figure!

The truth is that the cure, most likely, will not happen, unless the voice is recovered from the depths and brought to the surface and to the required position above the vocal cords. Once the voice is lifted above the vocal cords, and being structured, placed and projected outward, the gastric acid will not be able to burn the vocal cords any longer, and thus, at least from the vocal health point-of-view, the acid reflux cure will naturally take place.

Yes, in a matter of speaking, it does fall in the category of voice repair, but not really, because if the teachers and parents would pay attention to the manner of their child/teenager’s speaking, the problem would not progress into their adulthood, and thus not only it would have kept their vocal anatomy safe, but also, their children would have grown up much more vocally coherent with respect of their speaking and their communication skills in general.

With respect of the singing voices, the problem is often the same.

If the speaking voice is, so to speak, undeveloped, the singing voice, by the law of average, will not thrive either. Therefore, I start every session, speaking or singing, with the specifically developed speech exercises, which are designed to structure, place and project the voice to its aimed destination and upon predominant design.

The mechanism which allows the human voice, speaking or singing, to work in its fullest capacity possible, WILL NOW BE INSTILLED.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Ordinary Singer Vs. The Extraordinary Singer... Is Being Good-Good Enough?

Over almost three decades of the existence of my vocal school, I had in my possession, estimated, close to 20 000 students to date, and that not to count numerous workshops and seminars I've conducted around the world. 

My "claim to fame" for all these years has been: Beginner to pro-singer in a matter of (ten or less) hours, and not months or years. Therefore, the turnover of my clientele (singers and speakers) was quite high and still is. Many people over the years were commenting that I was working myself out of my business, by producing very fast and very good results with respect of my singing and speaking clients' voices.

However, the "quick fix", (not always preferred by my choice) so to speak, was not necessarily sufficient enough as it could have been, opposed to when the singer or a speaker for that matter, would give me and themselves more quality time than just for example only ten hours of instruction. Nevertheless, for some people, who truly just needed a good, sufficient and safe vocal technique, the ten hours of my instruction were more than adequate. 

Those were usually fairly young singers who were for several years singing with their bands or doing their solos accompanying themselves on guitars or keyboards.
They truly were missing just the technical aspect of singing and not much else. Everybody, however, is different.  Some people release their habits and accept the new modality of certain behaviour much faster than others. For those who are a little bit slower, the much more thorough "intervention" is required, and not only on a vocal level, but on a level of their whole being.

The voice is the reflection of one's state of being and it's also an identification of who they actually are on a human level. Some people come with their emotional baggage and in a manner of speaking, closed heart and soul. Yes, of course, in a short order, I can instill into them the basics of the Vocal Science technique. 

And it will work on the surface and will produce quite a good singer or speaker.But there are a lot of good singers, but not too many exceptional singers.

To produce an exceptional vocalist, I need to get into one's psyche and on every level-mental, physical, emotional, psychological and of course, vocal. Once, I, so to speak, "Connect" with the exceptional singer to be, everything, figuratively speaking, will "lie in my hand". The development begins with an identification of the life components which the person consists of.

Sometimes I have to go as deep as the childhood, and then selectively, I have to start throwing out the negative parts of the whole life existence of twenty-five, thirty years of age... 

Once the heart and soul is in the process of opening, a lot of good and bad would come out on the surface. The selection process then prevails. Both my client and I begin to dissect their human content and select the needed and positive pieces, while concurrently trying to get rid of the negative and useless parts of one's previous and present life. This is a very tedious and quite long process, especially if the artist to be, possesses a lot of life experience, which is not contributing to the prosperity of his/her vocal development and life development and structure in general.

Even though that this process is much longer than just a quick fix, but it still doesn't take years, and when the weed, so to speak, is eliminated, the vocal performer will be transformed into an extraordinary artist, as his "human computer" will be cleared out from all the viruses and in a manner of speaking, broken links and unwanted and not needed old pages.

He will start as a clean slate with the perfect Vocal Science software instilled into now his perfect and strong hardware. He will also be well advised to which "button" to press for that desirable "print out", first with my guidance and help and then on his/her own. The substance of that performance will be much, much greater, as we got down to the absolute "metrics" of one's being, and now, coupled with the perfect and safe vocal technique, it could never fail, but rather, on the contrary, it has the potential to reach the ABSOLUTE HEIGHTS, vocally and otherwise.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Vocally Speaking... "Music Menu" Singing is the last plate on the menu?

It never ceases to amaze me when people are only talking about the actual songs, i.e. how good they are, how original they are, how well produced they are and how catchy they are...
Very rarely, you hear the comments about the singer, for example praising him/her about the strong vocals, about their vulnerability, original interpretation, perfect pitch, and overall perfect vocal performance delivery. How so you may ask? It should be two different commodities-the greatly written and produced song and well and professionally delivered vocals.

Once upon a time, I had a meeting in a Sony building with a prominent producer and a manager to be for one of my clients. After we discussed my client, they told me a story which happened a day before my meeting with them. They, apparently, flew a so called artist from Vancouver, BC in anticipation to record the perfect original tune composed by that artist and then put it on the market. Little did they know...

The so called artist could not sing to save his life. Both producer and manager apparently were ripping out whatever was left of their hair, (LOL), trying to pull out some coherent vocal performance from the person who they brought from the west coast and paid for his flight, hotel, food etc.

"Why did you bring him here in the first place if he couldn't sing?" I exclaimed.  They said "but he had a very good song, therefore, we thought we got it all made with him.  Too bad you did not visit us yesterday.  It would be so much easier with your expertise to extract some decent sound out of him".


Obviously, their objective was a good original tune, but singing was secondary on their menu, if even at all. In my opinion, the singer is the one who is in the driver's seat. The singer, figuratively speaking, is the locomotive of a train, which pulls the whole train wagons forward.  If the locomotive does not move, the rest of the train, evidently, are going nowhere. Also, when we go to a venue to listen to a band, usually we only know one name-the name of the lead singer.  Very rarely, people know the rest of the names of the band members, unless they're close friends.

That said why the music industry is always concerned about the songs and never about the singer performing those songs? My presumption is when they are talking about even a mediocre singer; they are praising him/her anyways on the grounds of a good song. In Russian language, we have a saying "Don't mix the scrambled egg with God's gift".

The song should be a song, but the singing and the performance of that song is however related, but altogether a separate matter. In the 1980s and 1990s, there was a popular belief that the singer must write his/her own songs.  On that note, I could say that I could  drive my car very well, but I have no idea how to fix it or how to  teach somebody driving for that matte In this instance, those things also related and somewhat  inter-connected, but all those skills require separate expertise.

So if somebody could sing well, might not necessarily know how to write the songs and/or produce the songs for that matter. It does not however diminish those artists as vocal performers. Now 20-30 years later, the music industry became more liberated and I think more understanding.

They took the age bracket away due to the live TV reality shows and they allowed singers to show their talent via cover tunes, however demanding them to be sung in their originality. That said I want to believe that the music industry professionals and humanity as a whole, do still have a hope to be able to separate the inter-related skills and fairly address each and every one of them separately, collectively and in absolute fairness.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Vocal Science - S.V.O. (Search Voice Optimization)

Due to the high technological era we are living in, I had to learn a lot, not only about the "human computers" (figuratively speaking), but also about the actual computers. 
I have to note that I am old-school, so to speak, and when I was born in Russia (sometime ago, lol), we did not even have a rotary dial telephone or TV for that matter.
Now due to absolute necessity, I had to "indulge" myself into understanding about new technological devices such as high-tech smartphones and of course the computers with their websites including
newly launched of my own.  Little bit I knew...!

Since my old website was working for over 15 years quite flawslessly, I had no idea what was driving that website and how people were finding me (all of these years I had young computer geeks working for me).  I had to find out the hard way now, as the new website was looking pretty, but nobody could find it.  It took me a month of loss of business to realize that something is not going right.  I have discovered that the site doesn't consist of only the external looks to what the consumer and I see.  It consists of a certain internal substance which has to be updated and in a manner of speaking, beefed-up, and  regularly, nevertheless, optimized. 

Then, and only then, it will be found by numerous search engines and thus will be seen by all of my potential international clients.  All of this, up until just recently, was completely foreign to me.  However, by common opinion, I've always been called a very good teacher, which evidently goes hand-in-hand to being a very good student as well.  

While intensely working with one of my artists-to-be, I more and more clearly have been realizing that all of the speech and singing exercises (developed by me), are kicking in from internal sources (sub-conscious mind) out in the open. 

The more substance we are adding to the integration and synergy of the sub-conscious mind, conscious mind, physical body, and the actual voice as an outcome, the greater quality of the voice and the performance itself we are witnessing.  The comparison with search engine optimization, which the importance of I just newly discovered, came to me instantaneously, while to even my surprise, listening to my artist who has been possessing now a much better quality voice, much broader range, much better understanding and physical and emotional resupercation of the actual vocal performance as a whole.

 After teaching voice and producing artists for over 38 years, I one more time again confirmed for myself, that everything I do in preparation for the voice to work in its fullest capacity possible, is truly invaluable and contributes a great deal to the final outcome my artist and I are looking for.  We will continue adding the substance via speech and singing exercises, via discussions of the lyrical and musical content and its interpretation.  And then, we will apply the internal content sub-consciously and consciously onto the singing performance and "We Will Become the Champions" (incidentally the song "We Are the Champions" by Queen is now our icon for further vocal prosperity).

Thank you to S.V.O. for contributing to our success.