Tips and advice for learning how to speak, sing, perform and live the dream of being a professional entertainer (speaker or singer) and performing artist, along with common sense commentary and rants on the state of today's music industry. Written by international master vocal coach, Diana Yampolsky, creator of Vocal Science (TM).
Vocal Buffet Part 2: All You Can Eat? Maybe, But Very So Carefully As Well...
I hope that you have enjoyed reading the “Vocal Buffet, blog. "Part 1”
we were talking mainly about the amateur singers who were trying to
sing anything and everything under the sun with no proper training,
knowledge or even talent. In this blog, we will talk about the diet,
nutrition and exercise for those who want to choose, or have already
chosen singing and/or performing, as their career.
There is a
saying: “We are what we eat”. I would also say: “Because of what we eat,
we are what we sing also”. How so, you may ask? The person who is at
least reasonably fit and well nourished would definitely sound much
healthier i.e. much clearer and much stronger.
There is also a saying that: “in a healthy body, is a healthy spirit”.
regular readers probably remember that in some blogs written in the
past, I stated that the voice is a spirit, which has to be discovered,
uncovered and than flown away and on top of the physical body. If the
spirit is healthy and pure, it will soar that much higher and its
trajectory will be that much longer.
If the singers throat is full
of mucus and the vocal cords are burnt by gastric acids, the lift of
the voice (the spirit) will not be as high; and thus the high, (and low
range for that matter), will be greatly diminished.
Science technique, and the standards of professional singing for that
matter, suggest that even the lower range approach cannot be achieved
without lifting the voice off of the vocal box (off of the vocal cords)
and settling the sound in the upper vocal chambers (sinus cavities).
now imagine a ballerina trying to jump to the arms of her partner off
of the thick carpet instead of the hard flat surface (special floor).
How high could she jump, not having a proper, clean resistance under her
My guess would be, not high enough.
skaters like Elvis Stojko, or Patrick Chan for that matter would never
be able to perform their quads or even triple combination jumps if they
were taking off ‘with’ the ice instead of ‘off’ the ice.
is that in that instance, they would need to do triple or quadruple
revolutions with not enough height off the ice, which would make it
completely and utterly impossible. So, if the singer were to eat a lot
of spicy foods and consume a lot of dairy, he/she, most likely, would
possess a lot of mucus in their bodies and up their throats.
they ingest a lot of acidic foods (like tomatoes and oranges for
example), no doubt that they will also acquire what is called an “acid
In 1999, I had an article written about me by the Toronto
Start newspaper named “coach me if you can”, where the journalist,
after experiencing 5 hours of my instruction, exclaimed: “It is definitely not for the faint of heart”. Indeed. It is not.
The person who wants to become a singer/performer has to be physically, emotionally, mentally and vocally fit.
ago, I caught a part of the movie which was called Mirrors, which was
about the life of a ballet dancers. The episode that became very
memorable to me was about the 2 dancers who came to the theater
management to discuss their contract to perform as a duet “pas de deux”.
They were handed a contract, which after reading it, the male dancer outright returned it back to the manager’s hands.
he looked at his female partner to be, who looked quite fragile, in my
opinion, and asked her: “how much do you weigh?” She looked at him with
fear in her eyes and said: “100 pounds”.
The male dancer looked at
the manager and said: “I have to lift her 6 times. That is 600 pounds!”
The manager smiled and handed them an appropriate contract, which they
That is a clear example how the professional artist (be
it ballet, figure skating or singing for that matter), think. Could you
imagine if the female ballet dancer, weighing 100 pounds (as we just
learned), decided to go out and eat a meat-heavy dinner, pizza or cake?
If she did, she could have come back on stage weighing 101, or even 102
Remember that her partner, for a certain amount of money,
was prepared only to lift 600 pounds of her in total. Also, he could
have just simply dropped her and thus cause an accident, God forbid. I
personally witnessed a pretty heavy (by any standards) dancer attempted
to be lifted and be nearly dropped.
Believe it or not, it has
occurred on our Canadian stage during The Phantom of the Opera Musical
Production. Thank God the accident did not happen and, to my delight and
comfort, that it was not a classical ballet performance.
weight and height and the overall health and fitness, will play a
crucial role in an artist’s (amateur or professional) performance. The
physical body is the internal and external instrument, which if played
correctly, will sound like a million bucks…