Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Singing tips for Beginners and Professionals. (PART 1)

To my knowledge, the majority of people love to sing. Even those who cannot sing and others who can and have a perfectly good full-time job and respected profession, would drop all of it without any hesitation in the nick of time to make their living doing what they love the most – Singing

So let’s say, out of 90% of people who would do the above, only 1% or 2% realize their dream. We all know that it is extremely difficult to succeed in the music business and make a living out of it; however, it is not impossible.  If the person has the true music talent, good voice, positive attitude and the vision of their future success, they could do it.

However, they have to understand that with all of the prerequisites described above, if they don’t possess the right vocal technique, they may ruin their precious voice right before succeeding in their vocal performance career. 

A lot of Ballet Dancers and Figure Skaters also initially possess their talent for their fields. However, Mikhail Baryshnikov, one of the best Russian dancers of all time, would not become the greatest well-known dancer if he did not attend the prestigious Vaganova Ballet Academy of St. Peterborough(a.k.a., Leningrad). He has learned the best techniques available to him and, combined with his enormous talent, he became a very famous and very well-known dancer.


However, in the singing field, it is presumed that the talent for music and singing is enough to embark on a successful vocal performance career. And strangely enough, sometimes it is enough; but what happens later could turn into complete tragedy. In the midst of the, seem to be successful career, tours, performances, recordings and etc, the precious voice suddenly gives out and sometimes disappears altogether. 

So the contracts are signed, the record deal is executed, but the singer cannot produce what was expected from him/her. Look at the British singer – Adele, who ended up with bleeding polyps on her vocal cords. Obviously, the vocal cords were overused and over-abused and, in my opinion, it has happened due to the poor vocal technique. Great girl, beautiful personality, enormous musical and song writing talent, but the lack of the knowledge of proper voice application nearly killed her career and her health.

I’m sure, my reader that you would agree with me that, after that polyp removal operation, Adele never sounded the same, and clearly to me, sounded very timid and very scared. Please view her video during her performance at the Oscars shortly after her vocal surgery.

So these are my tips:

Do not ever embark on any singing unless you know how to power your voice efficiently and with no pain or strain on your vocal anatomy. I don’t think that somebody like Patrick Chan would embark on jumping a triple axle or quad without knowing, in details, and first in theory, how to execute it properly without breaking any parts of his anatomy.

So whether you are a beginner or a professional singer, you still need to know what you are doing and learn all the secrets of your trade, if you want to avoid a great disappointment and even a loss of your singing career all together. In my next blog, (Part 2), I will talk more about the actual vocal technique which should be applied at all given times when the person opens up their mouth to sing and, of course, to speak, as the wrong application of a speaking voice could easily kill the singing voice.
But I will talk about that in the next blog to come.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

What does it take to learn how to sing well?

In the conventional sense, it seems not so difficult to learn how to sing. People do some scales, some lip-trills, as well as:

After doing the above for years, the potential singers are assured that sometime, (perhaps, in the year 2050. lol), or soon thereafter, they will suddenly wake up with a “big voice” and that will assure their singing career for more years ahead, (if, by that time, they will have any years of their actual lives left). 

Perhaps due to their age then, they could be good for a senior citizens choir or, for that matter; they can even become the worst Opera Singer, (as seen in this video). Who knows?

Meanwhile, jokes aside, the time is passing by; the person gets older and still cannot apply any of the above aforementioned exercises to the real singing. So what’s wrong with that picture?

On this note, please view the video of our former voice repair client, Opera Singer from Essex UK, Evie Bonella; compare the two and tell us if you hear that the Vocal Science technique helped in the latter performance. 

The answer is that those nonsensical vocal exercises are simply not applicable to any real singing, but rather destructive and dangerous to the vocal anatomy. They are drying out the throat, wearing out the vocal cords and disturbing the larynx by moving them up and down. Meanwhile, any song consists of certain combinations of sounds, duration and pitch, i.e. intervals. The vocal exercises are supposed to consist of those various combinations.

Once the singer learns how to approach those intervals, he/she will begin to learn the certain situations where those combinations of sound, duration and pitch will and may exist.

There are only so many combinations and only so many situations where they could exist. Once you become a master of that formula, you become the owner and master of your voice.

You also become mentally sound, as during those vocal exercises, they alignment of the subconscious and conscious mind is achieved. The upper abdomen is strengthened, as it plays the crucial role of the support of the sound, lifted and restructured (via the aforementioned speech and vocal exercises), off of the vocal box and off of the vocal cords to the set of the facial muscles and away from the vocal anatomy.

Now the safety net and the invisible mending, so to speak, are built and the danger of damaging the voice and the actual vocal box is eliminated. The flora of the throat is now clean, as natural herbal remedies were applied to eliminate the impurities, such as mucus and gastric acid. 

The “instrument” is ready to be “played on”.

The “player” has all his “mental pages” (figuratively speaking), indexed via applicable voice/vocal exercises. So there is nothing that will prevent the person from singing well and from getting better for years to come.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Singing Lessons… How could they Benefit your children?

The Royans Professional Vocal School, (a.k.a, The Royans School For The Musical Performing Arts), has been in existence for over 30 years now.  We opened it on February 15th, 1984 as The Children’s School Of Music. But then, several years later, it suddenly turned into the Adult School of Music with only a few children on our roaster.  In 1987, it, literally, turned into an adult Rock School.  We had a galore of rock bands, consisting of guitar, bass guitar and drum players.  All of them desperately wanted to learn how to sing, as singing is truly a good asset for a band musician to have, and it also makes them much more marketable for that matter.

Now we had “Big Children” in our roster, so to speak. And truly, when I was pulling out those voices that were often stuck in novice, (and not so novice) singers’ throats, necks and shoulders, the “little boy or girl” would practically appear in front of my very eyes, figuratively speaking, of course.  Interestingly enough, some of them could not “walk and chew the gum at the same time”, and thus were experiencing difficulties with taking the instructions. I could always rightfully guess if, in their childhood, they were actually taking any classes like Ballet, Gymnastics, Figure Skating, etc. Those who did, were by far more coordinated, more focused, and could connect the mental visualization with their motor skills.

The Vocal Science Technique requires the integration and synergy between mental, physical, emotional and vocal components. All of our speech and singing exercises are coupled with certain moves, which help with the alignment between the subconscious mind, conscious mind, physical body and the voice as an aimed outcome. If the child, or now the adult for that matter, have been accustomed to think and act simultaneously and already have had a good prerequisite with respect of connecting their thoughts, (with the speed of a bullet, nevertheless), with their physical movements, independently of their vocal abilities; they would be ahead of those who have not been trained with extra curriculum, and thus would not be able to follow the instructions with the same flying colors.

The moral of it is:
Give your child all possible opportunities to develop their mental and physical abilities to the max.
Singing lessons, or anywhere for that matter, and at any age would be the perfect tool to achieve the above.
Keep them busy, keep them safe and keep them out of trouble.
They will thank you when they enter adulthood. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Your Voice will be sounding so good… You will shine! Natural, herbal and homeopathic remedies will play a significant role for your voice/vocal recovery.

Lately, more and more people have been inquiring about their voice/vocal problems.

It could be connected with enormous stress imposed on them due to the recession times, fear of losing their jobs, lack of financial stability and/or simply not taking care of their voices and themselves in general, or not knowing a simple voice/vocal technique which would empower their voice to the max, but would not promote the damage.

Be it people who have speech difficulties or singers with vocal problems, they all have something in common. Both categories of people are looking for some “magic pill” which upon consumption will supposedly solve all of their voice problems. 

We all wish it would be so. However, it is not as easy as it sounds. To repair the voice, be it speaking or singing, will take a lot more than just a “magic pill”, so to speak.
However, some of the herbal remedies are so good and work so well on strengthening the vocal box and the vocal cords themselves, lubricating the flora of the throat, getting rid of the impurities; such as mucus for example, and so on.

Those herbal remedies will nurture the “voice instrument” and indeed will make it “shine”, (of course, it is understood that it could not apply for all voice damage cases).
Will that be enough though?

In some cases, it could be, but in the majority of the voice disorders, it will not be enough. The victim of the voice damage would also need to undergo a special instruction to learn how to use the voice (speaking and singing) in such a way that it would work in the maximum capacity, but with no pain or strain on the vocal anatomy.

Without it, natural remedies or not, the voice problem will be recurring, as the actual cause, in this instance, would not be addressed. The herbal and homeopathic remedies for that matter will work best when they are coupled with the proper voice/vocal instruction. The Vocal Science Method suggests to restructure the voice in the set of the facial muscles and thus to give a rest to the vocal box, releasing it from the pressure of the sound.

Then, in a manner of speaking, the vocal rest will be granted and the space in the vocal box will be provided to accommodate the natural treatment. This way, the “instrument” and the “player” will be totally taken care of and thus a complete voice/vocal recovery will be achieved.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Mayor Rob Ford. On Behalf of The Royans Professional Vocal School, We Wish You a Speedy Recovery.

When yesterday I came home after a hard working day, I, as usual, tuned into CP24 - our most popular Toronto breaking news station.  For many years now, I established a habit to wake up with CP24 news and go to bed with the news update for the past day. I really like to know first what has been happening in my city and then embark on the international news. My husband, however, a native Torontonian, likes to know what’s happening in the world first and then maybe what’s happening in his city.

Go figure!

I guess, to each their own.

Anyway, out of all the Mayors for the last 35 years that I have been living in this city, I precisely liked two of them, Mel Lastman and Rob Ford.  Both have been very useful for the city and also have had very entertaining personalities. Rob Ford in particular, has been “entertaining” Toronto, and nevertheless, the whole world at large for the last several years.

I often felt really sorry for him, as the media really put him through the ringer. His and his families’ lives, for that matter, are still being watched constantly. He and his family virtually have no break from the public’s eyes. So the stress that the Ford family is going through is unimaginable. As we all know, all of our illnesses are emotionally induced before they manifest in the physical body. No doubts, whichever kind of tumor Rob Ford has, it has been contributed by the right and/or wrong accusations and constant attacks towards him via regular public and, nevertheless, the media. From where I sit - in the Arts business, I was really commending Rob Ford for trying to bring Arts back to our city. 

He even went to Austin Texas to “solidify the terms and scope of the Austin – Toronto Music City Allience”, wanting to learn how to draw the modern music scene to Toronto. 

His degree of devotion to this city, in my opinion, far exceeds the devotion level of our past Mayors, as it clearly shows within the Toronto streets and within the communities that we live in.

To further iterate, he clearly sees the value of the city as a whole and tries to improve its’ communities, its world standing and yes, even its culture and fun, as shown in the news when he created a “dance scene” within the council chambers. Most of our clients that come in for regular speech/vocallessons, or are in need of Voice Repair, have positive remarks towards Rob Ford if topics related to him come to light within our conversations. Of course, not all was positive in Ford’s world, as the media and news outlets attained information about Rob and his occasional substance habits. Nevertheless, being able to, “fight his demons, so to speak“, and at the same time attain international stardom, his ability  to maintain his position as Toronto Mayor is simply commendable. 

To conclude; thank you Rob Ford for making our fair city livelier and we wish that you will continue your good work onwards for many years to come.

Best wishes and best of health always from The Royans team.