Friday, November 28, 2014

Vocal Problems - Multiple Choices:

Should you continue singing the same way you have always been singing?  Should you ignore the unusual symptoms like hoarseness and dryness of the voice, loss of range, change of tone, etc.?

These are your answers;

You are a singer and have been for a long time. Your voice has never let you down for some time now, but, as musicians like to say, there is no gig lasts forever! Now you are not just getting mature, but you are also getting older and have had a lot of shows under your belt.

Suddenly, you started noticing that you cannot reach the same high notes which you never had a problem with in the past, your tone of the voice is not the same and at times, you are even experiencing pitch problems, which you never had a problem with in the past. After the show, your voice and nevertheless, yourself, feeling exhausted and your voice sounds raspy and hoarse.  Those are very unfamiliar symptoms to you and now you are puzzled, concerned and even in panic.

Your livelihood depends on your voice. You have multiple shows booked ahead…

A couple of years ago, I got a call from Chicago from a local radio DJ, who also was a singer. He was panicking, as he just had two polyps removed fromhis vocal cords and for a while, he thought that he could continue speaking and singing the same way as he always was. So he did; and then, to his surprise, he found four new polyps on his vocal cords.

Why you may ask? He had a very successful vocal surgery and was able to start speaking and singing again in the while, just like before, so he thought. True, but since he did not change the way he was speaking and singing, naturally, those polyps returned and even multiplied by double. The fact is that polyps have a viral nature and tend to multiply at all given times, especially if the manner of speaking and singing has not been modified. When I asked the above-mentioned person whether he wanted to come to Toronto to get the proper vocal instruction and natural herbal treatment, he said, “Oh no. I have a very busy performing schedule”. Go figure!

He was planning to continue singing and speaking on the radio with all of his polyps and could not bring himself to the realization that there is definitely, a time to stop and do something about it, and maybe this time around, non-surgically, by simply learning how to speak and sing properly - without the pressure on his vocal cords and his vocal box in general.

There is no change without change!

Once you notice the change in your voice, you should immediately stop and assess the situation. Obviously, your voice does not respond the way it used to be, and not only when you are singing, but even when you are speaking.

Any growth on your vocal cords like nodules or polyps will prevent your voice from acting normally, as it is an obstruction for the voice to fly freely from your vocal box out to the listeners.

It cannot be treated lightly and has to be addressed immediately. There is no time to pretend that nothing happened and continue to act as if it didn’t. Remember, by the law of averages, your voice will not get better on its own.

You need professional help!

My suggestion would be to try the alternative methods first before you agree to any surgical procedure. My dentist once said to me, “It is never too late to pull the tooth, but please see the specialist first to find out if we can save it.”

Friday, November 21, 2014

Vocal Issues… Can I fix my voice by remote means?

 As technology progresses, more and more, I have been asked if I could do my instruction and an actual voice treatment via Skype, FaceTime, or phone. 

The people who are inquiring sincerely believe that the above is possible. 

I have news for them, IT IS NOT!!! 

The problem with the voice is a serious matter and it has to be treated seriously. 

Yes, perhaps, you can learn how to play guitar or even piano remotely, but the voice is an “internal instrument” and it requires special manipulations with the body and body language to discover it, uncover it, and recover it from within; especially when it’s trapped in the neck, shoulders, and chest, not to mention throat and nasal passages. 

In this case the physical body has to be completely balanced and centred, the subconscious and conscious mind have to be aligned, the intellectual understanding has to be totally coupled with motor skills, and thus the wholesome mechanism has to be in place to allow the voice to work in the fullest capacity possible with no pain or strain on the vocal anatomy. 

When I’m recovering the voice, or even just instructing the person on how to speak or sing properly, I connect with that person on an intimate, so to speak, level of being (almost like a mother connects with her baby by umbilical cord). 

Without that, the restoration of the voice, or even an instruction of voice placement for the healthy voice is not possible. 

So now, you my reader, please tell me whether something like that described above could be achieved remotely, without the master instructor and the student being present, in person, in the same room? 

So this is your riddle.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Vocal Damage: Bad Vocal Habits Backfire… Adapt and Embrace a New Modality of a New Vocal Behaviour

Nowadays, a lot of singers are susceptible to a variety of vocal disorders. 

That happens because in the first place they never “owned” the right vocal technique, the kind which would prosper their voice to the fullest capacity possible; and at the same time it would save and protect their voice for life. 

The result – Voice Disorder

Now the process of restoration of one’s voice begins. 

A lot of those students, “who were really very good students,” have learned the wrong technique really well and formed it into their vocal habits. 

Not only do we have to fix their “vocal instrument,” so to speak, but also have to get rid of bad habits, like: dropping their jaws down, sticking their stomach out, scooping and sitting under the notes, excessively using their nasal passages, or their very throaty sounds. 

It’s easier said than done, though. 

Those habits are usually deeply embedded in the person’s psyche and the body muscles, which are also retaining the memory. 

Now we have to re-teach the body and the brain to feel differently, and rather than interfere with the voice, help the voice to be supported, structured, placed and projected to its aimed destination. 

The lower abdominal muscles have to be conditioned to be tucked in for the greater support of the height of the sound. 

The upper diaphragm muscles have to learn to work on the principle of an accordion, so to speak.
The singer has to be able to access the length of the phrase coming and open the upper diaphragm muscles accordingly. (No pun intended). 

If the phrase is short, but the upper diaphragm open to the fullest, it will backfire, as the singer will not be able to close the diaphragm back in, and instead will end up working with the old air, the result of which, quite possibly, would produce hyper-ventilation, which in turn could cause shortness of breath, dizziness, heart palpitation, and deprivation of oxygen, altogether. 

Al those symptoms could be completely deadly to the human body, and may not only damage the voice, but could become literally fatal.

So the wrong singing business could be more dangerous than anybody could anticipate. 

Therefore, it is a must for anybody who attempts any singing (even at the karaoke) to know what they’re doing vocally. 

You will not visualize a figure-skater who attempts to jump a triple-axle without a very specific training, as this, too, could result in a great injury. 

So please do not attempt to do any vocal “escapades” unless you know predominantly what the result would be. 

Thus, you would be able to prevent any vocal injury occurrence.