Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Vocal GPS… How useful can it be to arrive safely and promptly to your destination?

  •  Set your Destination!
  •  “Drive” to it.
  • Arrive and save your route in memory for future reference!
What do you mean by “Vocal GPS”, you, my reader, may ask?
What I mean is that, first and foremost, you have to establish a frame of reference of how to make your voice work upon design and inner-command. Recently, I received a singing client who happened to be very talented and even possesses absolute pitch, (perfect pitch).

Being a musician since an early age, playing a few different instruments, it was an absolute pleasure to start a Private Master Vocal Coaching Session with him.

However and evidently, his singing and, for that mater, speaking voice, does require a lot of work.
Being in his late 30’s, he adapted a lot of bad habits on his own and with “help” of his previous teachers. I told him that if I had compared his singing to a puzzle, then his puzzle would consist of a head of a cat, body of a snake and the tale of a dog (of course, figuratively speaking). It was very difficult to make heads or tales of his singing (no pun intended).

In other words, what he heard in his head and with his ears was completely incongruent with the sound he was producing.  Even in spite of having perfect pitch, he hit quite a few flat and sharp notes and his timing was definitely quite speedy. In other words, the whole voice thing was out of balance, so to speak.

So starting the first session, I had to show him how to set his “vocal GPS”, i.e., how to program it and how to properly map it using my wall-based diagrams, which portray the exact message about the physical sound and its movement and direction based on the law of physics and geometry.  Once the student understands it intellectually, the physical application of the sound is next. Now that the “vocal GPS” is on, I begin to play the role of a “driving instructor” and navigate my student, not only via “GPS”, but also verbally explaining to him, “along the road”, how not to “fall out of the road” and achieve an aimed delivery of his sound.

Finally, after a number of hours spent, we collectively and separately arrive to the destination preset by the “Vocal GPS”.

You would think that our journey is over which actually, granted, physically, it is.
But, little that you know that, if the “destination” is not set in memory, the “driver” will not be able to embark on the same road again without reprogramming the destination back to the GPS.
Sometimes, since the “driver” is new, he might have difficulties to recall the route back on his own, and again might need professional help to get back on the “driving seat”.

I hope you, my reader, is getting my drift and fully understanding my figurative and allegoric manner of speaking.

In other words, It takes approximately 30 hours of instruction to “seal the deal”.
That also, and furthermore, applies to the non-surgical voice repair cases when the 30 hours of instruction and natural herbal and homeopathic treatment is a must.
Let’s break it down…

  • The first 10 hours, it allows us to set the vocal GPS.
  • The Next 10 hours will take the “actual driving” to the set destination.
  • And finally, the last 10 hours, (which is now 30 hours in total), will take to confirm the destination and lock it in the human psyche, brain and every conceivable muscle of the body and the vocal box appropriate muscles, in particular.
So to conclude, the 30 hours is the protocol for success - singing, speaking or non-surgically repairing the voice.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Vocally Speaking and Otherwise… Be your Healthy Best! Prevent your Vocal Disorder!

Nowadays, my practice consists of at least 85-90% of nonsurgical voice repair clients. It is unfortunate, but it is a fact.

One of the reasons is that people, overall, are getting to be not as healthy as they used to be. Our earth is deeply polluted and respectively, the food we eat and the air we breathe is also very toxic.
A lot of voice disorder cases I am receiving are being effected environmentally, and then of course, a lot of them have been misusing their voices while speaking and, or, singing. But, first and foremost, the problem with the majority of cases begins with their inner health inadequacy.
Also, a lot of those people are very intense, loud and extremely emotional. Right away, speaking loudly and forcefully, they are putting their vocal chords, and the whole vocal box in general, in great distress. They are straining their vocal chords and twisting their larynx on a consistent, everyday basis. Their posture is usually not intact as well.
And then, due to extreme emotions, their thyroid locks on them and thus, their voice gets stuck. There is no surprise, as by the holistic teaching, the thyroid represents suppressed emotions and hurts. Almost 100 out of 100, these people experience rocky and highly unfortunate relationships with their boyfriends, girlfriends husbands, wives, children, parents, …
And a good percentage of them, on top of everything else, is smoking, drinking and/or using drugs…
Summarizing all the above, it is not surprising that it is affecting all of their organs, and obviously, the voice is not any different from the rest of the human anatomy. Therefore, when they go to the ENT doctor, a lot of times they are told that there is nothing wrong with their vocal anatomy…?
The patients are thoroughly surprised, as they know that their voice is definitely affected a great deal, and something is definitely wrong and out of order, so to speak.
The ENT specialists are not looking at the matter holistically. Their only concern is the one’s vocal anatomy, which sometimes, concurrently, is also damaged. If they do detect the damage, they would often offer a surgical interference, which still will not solve the patient’s vocal problem, per say.
If the cause of the vocal disorder is just a vocal anatomy misuse, the person involved should be taught a healthy and efficient application of their voices while speaking and/or singing. To fix the, so-called, instrument, is only half of the overall problem’s salvation.
To teach the person how to properly use their voices is the other extremely important part of the equation. In other words, if the person is overall healthy and balanced from the health point of view, he/she should not have any voice problems, at least related to the inner well being.
The proper use of the mechanics of the voice would definitely be another chapter…

Diana Yampolsky is the Master Vocal Coach, Studio Vocal Producerand Non-Surgical Voice Repair Specialist at The Royans Professional Vocal School in Toronto, Canada. If you would like to stay up to date with Vocal Science news, follow us on Twitter or join our Facebook group. If you find yourself struggling with vocal performance or are in need of voice repair, you can reach Diana by email or phone at 416-857-8741

Friday, September 4, 2015

It's not Speech Therapy... but Innovative Speaking Voice Repair (Part 1)

Over the years, I have been attending to many clients with voice problems who had undergone speech therapies of one kind or another.

Unfortunately for them, they have not gotten anything out of it and some of them actually got worse. Needless to say that, at best, they left the speech therapy office feeling exactly the same as quite a few speech sessions ago and “quite a few” dollars spent. They were especially doomed if they came to the speech therapy to fix their singing voice.

The fact is that those speech therapists are not trained in vocals, thus they could not be knowledgeable in the restoration of voice mechanics.

Some of the singers who have, so to speak, lost their ability to sing for whichever reason, actually have their speaking voice intact or close to normal. When they come to speech therapy, they are asked to blow into a kazoo or blow a bubble into the water.

They are also asked to “moo and hum” some strange sounds, which really have nothing to do with the brutal reality of the loss of singing, or even speaking voice for that matter.

Out of an estimated 20,000 people who have ended up in my care, not one of them was satisfied with the conventional speech therapy or ENT specialist’s diagnoses and treatments.

So what is the solution, you may ask?

The solution is to approach it completely holistically!

A couple of days ago, I ended up talking with a male individual who, according to 2 ENT’s, ended up, “out of the blue”, with a paralyzed vocal cord.

He, in fact, was not even offered speech therapy but, outright, was offered a “temporary solution” via injections to his vocal cord; or a ”permanent solution” via surgery, which would consist of installing an artificial device which, supposedly, will bring the paralyzed vocal cord closer to the healthy one.

In my opinion, both solutions are not viable.  The cause of the problem with the voice, lies much, much deeper.

After interviewing the potential client, I found out that he was quite a heavy smoker for many years. He also works around a quite toxic environment. And prior to getting his voice sounding very deep and raspy, he acquired some kind of a cold or virus.

In my opinion, the combination of all those ‘mentioned above’ toxins, set off a chemical reaction; and that reaction attacked the person’s throat.

So, in this case, the aforementioned person would have to undergo a very deep cleanse and very heavy-duty build of the immune system and all of the body’s systems simultaneously.

While undergoing the latter, the sufferer’s voice has to be rebuilt and restored, i.e. via special speech exercises, coupled with specially designed body movements, the support, structure, placement and projection of the voice must complete the “installation” of the wholesome mechanism which will allow the human voice to work in the fullest capacity and with no pain or strain on the vocal anatomy.

Needless to say, the annunciation and pronunciation will become much clearer, the projection of the voice, and thus the volume of the voice, will become much louder and the person whose speech was hardly understood by others before, now, with absolute confidence, could totally communicate with no difficulties and be certain that he is received and perceived exactly as it was meant to be.   

I will elaborate in more depths in my next blog about singers with lost voice, their treatment and possible cure.