Showing posts from 2011

Vocally Speaking, Against all odds, There is a Change with… No Change?

One of my friends likes to use this expression; “There is no change without change”. Usually, it’s very much so true. Lately, it’s been no secret that quite a few well known singers have acquired a lot of vocal problems; bleeding vocal chords , polyps, nodules , dysphonia and other nasty vocal disorders. Why is that... and what is the cause, you may ask? “We love the voice, we love his or her songs, we love the emotions, we love the performance…” So, what is the problem then? The problem is that nobody knows or pays attention to the voice application and how exactly that voice is being used by the singer. And yes, the industry usually picks up a good looking person, quite often with good song writing skills and with the potential of that person becoming the world wide recording Artist and performer. And yes, when it comes to recording, the best producers and engineers will be producing their magic using, available to them, their magical high-tech technology. Now w

The Question is: Am I Evidently Getting Older, or has the World Gone Crazy?

In all honestly, I think the answer is - both. Granted, I am an old school. My teaching experience is on its 38th year, so you can do simple math and conclude that I'm in my mid-50s. No, I do not have a mid-life crisis, but what I do have is a regret that the best times of our lives are gone and never will be back. Let's look at the music of 50s and 60s: Elvis Presley, Tom Jones, Roy Orbison, Platters and many, many more. Those were the true musicians, true singers and true performers. Came the 70s and 80s and in those times, we had the best bands: White Snake, Skid Row, The Doors, The Eagles, to name a few. Great music, great performance-ship, exceptional singing... And in the past decade...? - No singing by definition - Some bands, e.g. Simple Plan, can not play their records live, let alone sing it - Vocal troubles and operations galore... Where do I begin? The question is why? The answer - it became "too easy". The technology along with

X Factor: Spot on Reality... Part V - Contestant's Choice...
Close Observations, Constructive Criticism and Praise!

X Factor just had an interesting couple of weeks. First, the Michael Jackson tribute was offered to them, which I found was quite difficult for the contestants to keep up with. In my opinion, it was one of the least successful performances on the show. However, as usual, it was very entertaining. This past week, it was contestant's choice, which I find very beneficial for the contestants themselves. I do not believe that any singer could be thrown into any style of music. It's obviously good to be versatile, but every human being has their own emotional and physical make up and nevertheless, their own biological DNA. All of that dictates the disposition, the character, the behaviour and the vocal expression of that person ( speaking or singing for that matter). In my opinion, the voice is definitely an expression of who this artist as a person is, and also a quite precise identification of the state of their being. And if their inner selves suggest to them that they

Dysphonia and it’s Causes for Speakers and Singers.
Vocal Science™ Protocol/Case Study

What is Dysphonia, you may ask? Definition of Dysphonia: Voice disorders characterized by hoarseness, weakness or even complete loss of voice are called dysphonia. However, I have to assure you, my reader, that it is not as easy as it sounds. The loss of voice is only a symptom (a print out of, so to speak, "disturbed software" containing a virus). The cause of it is much more complex and needs to be addressed in full details. Through my experience, the majority of the clients, especially non-singers, came with some emotional trauma in the past and in the recent past. Usually, it revolves around unsuccessful relationships and/or health issues other than the vocal anatomy. Due to the above, the throat literally closes on those clients, but being with disagreement of the latter, they push even harder and now involve the muscles of the neck and shoulders as well, while concurrently causing symptoms. Alsmost 100 out of 100, their thyroid is involved as well. It

When Your Voice is Going and Gone...
What Choices as an Artist Would You Make?

Your multiple choice test: A) To hire a whole bunch of dancers/strippers and bring so to speak a live video on stage to distract the audience from your singing completely. B) To bring a huge choir, which has been chosen by your team via vigorous auditions, and which sings extremely well to camouflage your vocal inadequacy. C) To hire a vocal technician who would not only save your voice, but assure the safety, health and longevity of your voice for life. Please take your pick. If you answered C, you evidently do have an above average IQ. Congratulations! If you, however, managed to pass a fake performance for the real one, congratulations also! You fooled the public and they unfortunately took it for the real thing! However, the times are changing and the public is becoming smarter. Not that the level of their IQ is necessarily rising, it's just they're getting fed up with lip synching, bad singing (for which they pay top dollar) and the circus or strip show, whi

X Factor - Spot on Reality IV... Thanks to... Thanksgiving Holiday!

BIG APPLAUSE yet again to Simon Cowell! What a BRILLIANT idea the well known MUSIC MOGUL came up with! He tied in the whole show with the American Thanksgiving holiday! If that wasn't timely then what is? Mainly, it clearly helped to open up every single participant's emotions and now we've seen them in a different "limelight"! On a regular basis, naturally, they're pretty scared, very anxious and very stressed trying not to fall out of the frame of the show and thus, not to win the $5 million dollar recording contract. For the first time in any shows of that kind (American Idol, Canadian Idol previously, The Voice and what have you), the winning conciliation prize was always an issue. All of the participants were claiming how poor they were, how much they wanted to help their families, and how much they wanted to realize their financial dream. Honestly, and I wrote about it before, it always left a "bad taste" in my mouth. As I said p

X Factor - Spot on Reality III - Participants Up Close and Personal

One more time again, I'm anxiously awaiting for the next episode of X Factor, but I would like to comment on the one I've just recently seen and heard. Now from the colourful stages, lighting, dancers, "spacesuits" and what not, we arrived to the actual singing (big credit to Simon Cowell), but unfortunately, not necessarily in the best understanding of that word. Whatever happened to the singers from the moment they were auditioning to the last episode which I witnessed a week ago? All of them, when they were auditioning, were sounding quite decent and quite promising. My guess would be that they were receiving some vocal coaching in the interim between the shows. I'm sure some of them had vocal coaches before and as every one of them (me, naturally, would be included) is preaching their own techniques, styles and methods, the participants quite likely could have gotten confused, especially under the pressure, stress and last minute advice. The question is, do th

The Artist's Team - How Open Are They to a New Reality?

Lately, a lot of performing and recording artists are experiencing difficulties (to put it mildly) with their voices. It is very sad, but it is the fact. We're hearing a lot about bleeding vocal cords, laryngitis, polyps, nodes and nodules in Artists' throats. Some also have dysphonia and some, acid reflux, separately or along with the aforementioned diagnoses. Now what...? The artist is in distress, the management and record company are in loss of millions of dollars! How to remedy the situation like that? It should be not that difficult; find somebody who knows how to solve these types of problems, preferably non-surgically and non-invasively, i.e. somebody who knows how to change the voice application so that the vocal anatomy would not be irritated by the pressure of the sound and somebody who knows about natural herbs and remedies, which would greatly aid any human voice, and especially the singer's voice. Find somebody, who, after the voice repair, will fi

X Factor: Spot on Reality... Part II

I have to say, I am religiously watching the progression of the X Factor television show every Wednesday and Thursday on Pacific time (meaning from 11 p.m. until 1 a.m. of the next day) and I have to say, it's becoming more intense by the minute, and in my opinion, any good show should possess exactly that quality. I think about 95% of the time, it is spot on, i.e. participants are somewhat right and the judges are quite fair. However, in my opinion, and occasionally in Simon Cowell's opinion, the show reminds me of a big cabaret: the dancing, the lights and the effects are completely camouflaging the singing and moreover, all of the above are competing with the actual vocal performance. It is just too overwhelming to watch, however, in my childhood I really liked the Russian circus and it certainly has an echo of something precious that I used to enjoy when I was 10 years old... But then I remind myself that I'm not actually watching the Russian circus and then the q

Vocal Science(TM) - Vocal Invention

What does Vocal Science(TM) mean and why is it considered to be a "Vocal Invention", you may ask?   The answer is: This technique allows the voice to work at the fullest capacity possible with positively no pain or strain on the vocal anatomy. It works wonders for the healthy voice, but i f the vocal cords or the vocal box in general are already damaged (or pre-damaged), this technique will help to restructure the voice into a different set of muscles (facial/sinus cavities), which will play the role of the natural amplifier or resonator, while simultaneously being put to work in full conjunction and coordination with the abdominal muscles and where the latter will provide the support for the sound to be lifted off of the vocal cords and off of the vocal box, thus in turn, the use of the throat, larynx and the vocal cords will be minimized and practically eliminated. In the case of the voice repair, the natural herbs and remedies will be administered to enhance

The Vocal Talent Made in Heaven... So is Thunder and Lightning...

"She is talented and has a great voice!" People are exclaiming. Does it mean automatic success in the music industry at large? Sometimes it does. But sometimes, on the contrary, it means a lot of "thunder and lightning" during what appears to be a sudden discovery, recording, performance, fairly quick success... and all of a sudden - CRASH!!! Loss of voice , loss of tour, loss of millions of dollars and shattered dreams!!! Now what...? Now is the time to realize that the good voice and the good talent is only a prerequisite, but the prerequisite is not enough to sustain a long and successful vocal career.  What seems to be lacking? You may exclaim! The answer to this is:  - Simply the knowledge of the proper vocal technique , which would allow the health and length of one's vocal cords and vocal box. - Simply the understanding that anything in life is relevant and related to the science of the matter.  One client of mine who just arrived from L.A. for h

We're Proud of Our Past and are Presently Working Hard to Assure Even Greater Success in the Foreseeable Future

We're just about to arrive to our 28th anniversary of the originally called "The Royans School for the Musical Performing Arts" and today's named, more to the point, "The Royans Professional Vocal School". Looking back and assessing our past, as an owner, president and master vocal coach of the company, I have to say that I'm proud of what we achieved over the last three decades. The fair amount of well known singers today in Toronto and some other cities and provinces of Canada, US and Europe, have come out of our school. At the time, we had a pretty bold statement " Beginner to Pro-Singer in 10 Hours, Guaranteed! ", and at that time, in the precious past, my clients and I lived up to this statement minimum to say 150%. The people then (in 80s and 90s) were much more "awake", much more alert, much more active - intellectually and physically - and had more desires. The immigration of those years was pretty active, especially from

Baby Boomers Age 60 and Over... What posses them to embark on the singing lessons?

For almost over twenty eight years of running my own vocal school , I've taught a lot of people of all ages, all races and all walks of life. The older clan, sixty years of age and over, are definitely in a league of their own. Both older men and women of that class finally finding the time and desire to realize their dreams which apparently they carried  inside themselves for nearly fifty years. As I've learned over the years that a lot of them, while growing up in very poor families, outlined the goal for themselves to become rich and successful, and a lot of them were putting on the line anything and sacrificing everything; love, lust, desires of their hearts, fulfillment of their souls... and much much more. While dreaming towards financial success they, in a manner of speaking, lost the sense of reality and with that the sense of who they actually are and what they actually really wanted out of their lives. Apparently, now working in a very respectful firms and making

X Factor - Big Applause to Simon Cowell
His Show is... Spot On Reality

I have to say that I'm not a big fan of reality TV shows, with the exception of very few, one of which was Rock Star Supernova , which possessed real singers, real music and somewhat fair judges, and the last several seasons of American Idol . Everything else I've been watching concerning music was simply a failure and almost a funny parody onto the big shows, like I mentioned above.  Evidently, they did not have  enough budget or simply a class concerning the judges and the participants. On a parallel track now with X Factor have been running: Cover Me Canada (Canadian Show), Sing Off (American Show) and right before that, America's Got Talent . Let's analyze each of them. "Cover Me Canada" in my opinion possesses very mediocre and boring bands with some mediocre singers who are trying to pose for the best thing since sliced bread. In my opinion, practically all of them are quite pathetic to say least. "Sing Off" consists of some groups with

Vocal DNA - What's That?

One of my clients singing the cover tunes asked me if he ever will be able to find his own voice, whether singing cover tunes or originals. My reply was, evidently so.  The way I instruct singers consists of a very deep connection between me and them during the process. And since I literally engage into their "guts" I pull out the voice out of them, which reflects the state of their being and the voice, which identifies who they actually are. Like fingerprints and overall DNA, each person owns it individually.  Therefore, the newly found voice comes out with unique and very personalized tone from each and every individual I engage to and with. I do not work with them on an anatomical level. I work with them on the level of "being". I connect my energy to their energy and to the universal energy and the wonders come out of their mouth and their body language as well. Sometimes, looking at the clearly straight men, I notice that the newly found tone and mannerism is

On a Personal Note from Diana Yampolsky - I CAN NOT, Seems to Be, Win This Competition, At Least Not Yet!

What do you mean by that, you may ask? If you read at least half of written by me articles and/or blogs, you will understand that I'm not your conventional person, vocal coach or whatever other label you, my reader, or music industry people may put on me. I've been in the music business since age 6 and yes, I'm going on my 55th year of existence . Yes, I've taught an estimated over 18,000 people, I realized a lot of people's dreams and in my younger years, I served sometimes up to 70 hours a week of teaching alone. The word "teaching" in my case cannot be translated in the conventional sense of meaning, because I don't "teach", I navigate and I engage deeply into the person at the same time to establish a connection between our beings (almost like an umbilical cord between the mother and the baby). Then and only then, I can transmit what I call the Vocal Science(TM) technique and method. I don't do useless scales, funny trills, and st

What "Canada's Got Talent" is looking for! Vocally Speaking, How Does it Fit in the Show?

For a fact we know that " America's Got Talent " wants something different, unique, exciting and dangerous. So the question is, how in a real sense does the vocal performance by anyone would fit in the show structure. My guess would be that a vocal performer for that matter has to weigh, minimum to say, 500 pounds (i.e. being morbidly obese), have leprosy disease, and preferably showing it on their face, and along with that, sing a well known cover tune with the angelic voice! It is unique alright, my reader may exclaim, but how is it dangerous? My answer would be, it fits the criteria of the show perfectly! Let me elaborate: The performers in general are quite pleasant to look at. They usually have beautiful faces and their bodies are quite fit. They, as a rule, do not possess the contagious diseases, such as leprosy might be and usually, not looking as big as a house, so that the stage, for real, would have a danger to collapse, just like recently two stages did: o

Pick Two Notes You Can Reach in the Lowest Possible Range and Quite Possibly it Will Become a Hit...

But... Hurry up! Somebody like Katy Perry might accidentally discover the third note (ha?). Also, somebody who stutters naturally may also get ahead of you, as stuttering, while singing, seems to be very much so in fashion nowadays. Firstly, you can never differentiate one singer from another. Only by the amount of stuttering and by the amount of notes they have discovered right before the performance. Some of them are sounding like they're sitting on the toilet and having difficulties to relieve themselves. My question is, has the real music gone down to the toilet? Evidently and unfortunately, it might be the case. The positive side of it, though, may be beneficial for people like me... The dieters, i.e. those who are forever coping and fighting with their weight fluctuations. On one hand, while listening to the stuttered and constipated so called music, you can definitely lose your appetite, even if originally you were very hungry and did not eat for a couple of days, t

I've Been Often Asked About What I Do for a Living. My Recent Answer is "Vocally Speaking, I'm Teaching Hippopotamuses How to Fly".

What do you mean by that, my reader may be wondering? I mean quite a lot of things, stating that claim. Let me share with you my experience. I am Russian and in the Russian language, we have a proverb that the "One born crawling will never fly". By the law of averages, this is a legitimate statement. Can we visualize a hippopotamus, camel or elephant for that matter, flying? Highly unlikely! But in the human kind, it's happening all the time. People who have no musical or vocal talents and who do not even possess any kind of a reasonable look, which could identify them with a performing artist, are wanting it by far more than people who actually do have all the components. That brings us to another question. Do we always want what we don't have? By the looks of things, the answer is yes. Moreover, those who do have what it takes, for some reason, even if they want to utilize their talents, think that they have enough to get discovered and be offered, minimum to sa

Vocal Coma So to Speak
A Near-Death Vocal Experience...?

I've been teaching vocals forever and close to four decades now. But never have I experienced such difficulty to deliver my Vocal Science method to people who claim that, minimum to say, they want to learn how to sing properly. Simply speaking, in my opinion, they are hardly possessing any vital signs, at least during the first 5 - 6 hours of instruction. My guess is that the people who are in an actual medical coma have more vital signs than my so called up and coming artists. How sad is that? Figuratively speaking, it brings me near the "heart attack" to wake them up and instill some substance, first into their brains and then, if I'm lucky, activate their motor skills, which the majority of them are not possessing at all. In other words, to walk and chew the gum at the same time would be a great challenge for my "troubled" students. The Vocal Science method requires the integration and synergy between mental, physical, emotional and finally, vocal s