Saturday, May 26, 2012

Vocal Talent Meets the Skill or Today's Skill-less Cool Style?

I am a fan of all arts related talent shows. 
The other day, I watched "So You Think You Can Dance" and one of the judges commented on the performance of one of the auditioners. 
He said something along these lines, “It was so nice to watch you and even nicer to witness your talent paired with the great skill you own.”

I right away made a mental note and thought, “I would not say it better myself”.
However, by the looks of things, it mainly applies to dance, but somehow not to vocal performance. 
Over the years, I’ve been on a lot of panels and ran a lot of vocal workshops and seminars within the industry format, and the comments were always directed towards the great song, the great dance performance, while singing, the great overall talent, but not to the great singing performance or vocal skill, for that matter.
It felt like the industry did not account for the skill required to produce at least a decent vocal performance. 
They treated it not even as the icing on the cake, but more so like the cherry on the icing, which you could have or not have, and if you do, it’s a bonus. 
How sad is that? 
No wonder that vocalists in the majority of cases are simply not listenable, and as a consequence, every second if not already every first of them, is losing what’s left of their voices and facing nodules or polyps operations and all kinds of dysphonias
Given all that, you would think that now would be the time for the music industry professionals to look at the overall situation and decide if they want to continue like that and in the same fashion, i.e. passing some modern style for the actual singing performance and "killing" the artists while at it. 
Not enough that the artist’s health is ruined, the audience lost their favourites, the industry lost the artist, and sometimes indefinitely, just like in the case of John Mayer, and as a side effect, lost a lot of the revenue. 
Wouldn’t it be cheaper to train the artist how to use their voice properly and avoid inevitably prone voice injuries? 
Or instead, pass the so-called style for the actual vocal technique?
It does, unfortunately, look like that today’s “cool style”, which is very popular among kids and teenagers, is taking the lead. 
I was religiously watching the 11th season of American Idol and predicted from the start, that the two best singers, Joshua and Jessica, would be competing between each other. 
The singer who won, Phil Phillips, in my opinion wasn't anywhere near the other two. Moreover, I never even noticed him throughout the shows, until he all of a sudden got into the top 10...?

I find that his pitch is awful and unless he is performing chosen by him songs, where he could cleverly cover up his inadequacy with his style, he sounds completely off key, off tone and off tune. 

Unfortunately, it appears that at least our young population has not only gone crazy, but also gone deaf, and therefore, injustice has been done.

We have a semi tone deaf American Idol...?

How is it possible, the people who have ears and who have some idea about music, may ask?

This is the "two penny" - not even a dollar worth - question and at this moment, I have no answer, but only regret watching how our society and respectively the music genre is deteriorating by the minute. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Vocal Science(TM) Technique... Via Skype?
Is that Possible and could that be Effective if Executed?

Needless to say, on an everyday basis, I have been getting a substantial amount of e-mails with the inquiries about my private services, group workshops, books, herbs, and what have you.

As technology is progressing rather rapidly, more and more inquiries are about whether or not they could sit at home, stare at the computer and nevertheless, not only learn how to sing professionally, but also fix their quite substantial damages in their vocal anatomy...? Go figure!

It never ceases to amaze me how naive and, I'm afraid to say, ignorant some people are.

They absolutely have no clue that the voice is a part of their physiology and anatomy, not to mention a big part of their emotional make up.

At least my own approach is very holistic to the voice mechanics and to the person as a whole.

In my opinion, the person, speaking or singing, represents, so to speak, the instrument and the player at the same time.

That said, the certain posture should be conducted to achieve a maximum result, while producing a speaking or singing voice.

Let's visualize a violin player who holds the violin upside down, or crooked for that matter.

I don't think the player to begin with, will be hitting the right strings and thus, produce the pleasurable for the ear music.

The danger of the above is also that the player will strain his neck, his arm and his back, while playing incorrectly.

In other words, the physical body of the player will be in jeopardy and the musical performance will definitely not be up to par.

Similarly, when I work on the speaker or singer and especially on their already pre-damaged or damaged voices, I need to assure that they are in person and physically present directly in front of me.

During my instruction, I employ quite a bit of physical activities, which help me, via body language, to bring the body and the voice in complete synchronicity and balance between each other.

It also allows me, via body language and body response, to see exactly where my opponent is, and direct him/her to the right conduct of his/her mind, body, soul, emotions and thus, his/her voice as an outcome of the integration and synergy of all of the above listed components.

I instill in my performer a wholesome mechanism, which consists of lower abdomen and upper diaphragm support for the voice to be lifted off of the physical body, in order for the sound to get projected to its aimed destination.

I employ facial muscles, which play the role of the natural amplifier/resonator to work in full conjunction and coordination with the abdominal muscles.

I assure the structure of the sound, taking for consideration the central line of the human body (nose, bellybutton parameters).

And lastly, a very subtle, almost like fine acupuncture points, placement of the voice to the facial/sinus cavities.

Could you visualize all of that to be done via Skype?

I suppose, if you can visualize ballet lessons, gymnastic lessons, chiropractic or acupuncture treatments done virtually (lol).

In other words, if you are looking for the real thing, you have to be really present in all aspects of that word and in every conceivable way.

If you are looking for a magic pill while you have a severe growth on your vocal anatomy, or a DVD with the instruction, which is not interactive and even if completely right, is still one sided, or you think that your virtual presence is good enough, please make sure that you will block my e-mail address and never will dial my phone number.

On a positive note, I do hope to hear from you, preferably via phone, especially if you are facing a scare of otherwise never regaining your previously "sound" voice, so that I could at least hear the sound of your voice and pick up on your emotion, which is also important for a future success of our mutual vocal endeavour.

I mentioned the emotion in my previous paragraph and I would like to elaborate on how the emotional state, especially of the voice repair client, will play the positive or sometimes, unfortunately, a very negative role.

To conclude:

In this day and age, people are obsessed with technology and paranoid of the scams.

They suspect everybody and anybody, while in turn forgetting that they are the ones who need help, and not the other way around, at least from where I sit.

They insist on Skype lessons and condemn me that I am not agreeing to do so.

In some cases, no explanations as I gave in the above paragraphs, or even more explicit elaborations, would make sense to those troubled (in my opinion, by that point, on every level) people.

They're screaming for help,  but in a real sense, they don't do much to receive it.

They have been busy being paranoid and suspicious and also been busy thriving on their technology fix.

Some of the singers point out on a busy performing schedule, while having 3-5 nodules or bleeding polyps on their vocal anatomy. That's how they justify why they can't reach me in my studio and only could do Skype at best.

From my side, I sincerely wish them all a speedy recovery with whichever means, however, while at it, I suggest that they should also consider to see a brain specialist, who also, no doubts, will perform their head examination (lol).

Why not, as some of them are insisting instead of a voice specialist (who will do the work on their voice mechanics), to see a chiropractor, osteopath, and perhaps even a gynaecologist, or proctologist to heal their voice problems (lol)...?


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Vocally Speaking - Sinking "Titanic" or...?
Your Voice Will Go On and On...

The "Titanic" movie is the greatest movie of all times, in my opinion.

There was featured the greatest ship, the wonderful love story and a beautiful song "My Heart Will Go On", sung by Celine Dion, one of the greatest Canadian singers.

As we know,  the very sad occurrence happened to the seemed to be safest, fastest and presumed to be strongest ship.

The Titanic was pushed to perform even faster and stronger than it was originally meant to be by those who actually designed this "super boat".

In fact, the ship designer was present on the scene and his words were, "I'm sorry that I did not build a strong enough ship to save all of you".

On this note, let's compare what happens with the newly found and discovered talented artists.

They also appear young, beautiful and strong.

And then... they're pushed to the max.

Rehearsals, recordings, performances, tours, and what have you...

To withhold all of this, you almost have to be a super man or woman, with the strongest ever genetics and not to mention, the vocal box, which the majority of singers are using and abusing at all given times.

If only they knew the trade secret I possess of how to avoid the excessive use of the vocal cords, larynx and vocal box in general,  then a lot of ENT doctors would be out of business, especially charging a lot of money for the laserscopy of polyps, nodes and nodules, which they perform on an hourly basis.

If the music industry also knew about it, they would encourage their artists to embark on such, however not yet fully disclosed and public domained, revolutionary vocal technique, which then no doubts, in a nutshell, would save their massive "Titanic" from sinking and on the contrary, would actually improve their revenues and their success rating.

Also, technique or no technique, they should not exploit their talent to a nearly deadly outcome.

Outside of their voices, their bodies are not made from steel either. And not just any body could withstand an enormous physical pressure.

Therefore, when the breakdown happens, the "movers and the shakers" who are involved in the artists' life are surprised and puzzled, as they thought that the artist they picked was invincible and almost not human, due to their apparent talent and looks.

When the breakdown happens, everybody in a manner of speaking is "sinking".

The concerts are sold out and now the revenue for the tickets have to be returned to the buyers.

The artist is physically and emotionally distraught.

In the case of the Titanic, we already know that the majority of the people had died and only a small amount of people were saved.

The once greatest ship was never recovered in one piece.

Up to this day, they are still recovering its pieces...

Let's don't make it happen to any of our artists. Let's sufficiently train them vocally, and make them stronger mentally, physically and emotionally to the point that they would be able to withhold any "hurricanes" and be able to avoid a confrontation with any "icebergs".

And then and only then, them and their voices will go on, and on, and on...

The True Story - Case Study: From Complete Voice Repair to a Professional Singer in 4 Days and in 10 Hours!

Several months ago I got a phone call from Calgary from a professional musician, who sounded quite hoarse and raspy.

Like everybody else, he nearly interrogated me over the phone with the details concerning my course and especially with the payment for the course.

He did not commit for anything at that time, and I completely forgot about it, as I have a lot on my plate.

About 4-5 weeks ago, I received a call from him again, reminding me that he already has spoken to me and in the interim, pulled inside and out the whole internet, got at least two testimonials provided by my office of the people who just experienced the same, or similar, voice problems, and then came to the conclusion that apparently, nobody else is offering non-surgical voice repair and, on top of it, in the nick of time.

You would think that after this comment, the person would beg me to accept him on my Super Accelerated Non-Surgical Voice Repair course as soon as I would be available, but unfortunately, not at all, at least not in the time frame that I expected that.

The phone and text messaging interrogation began all over again, and... with more intensity...?

Meanwhile, out of the goodness of my heart, I have offered to this musician a tax exemption ($455 nevertheless) and I also offered a non-surgical voice repair kit (value of $250 with explicit instructions), as it plays a very essential role in the voice repair endeavour, and to top it all off, I offered a free copy of my book "Vocal Science - Flight to the Universe" (value of $35).

Nothing seemed to be good enough for my opponent.

When I hung up the phone, I found that I felt frustrated and right in that instance, I wrote to him a text message stating that I am no longer interested in providing my care to him, as I felt frustrated, interrogated and disbelieved.

Almost immediately after, I received a response from my troublesome client to be, pleading for forgiveness and promising, almost on the Bible, that he would never bring up any money or any disbelief in the equation, if I would be kind enough to accept him.

It took me a day to decide whether or not I should attend to his case. I slept on it and decided to give him another chance.

This past Tuesday, May the 8th, he had arrived in my studio.

I ran my first two and a half hours of voice treatment and instruction, and almost immediately after, got a text message from him, "I had a great time today, Diana. I feel like we are making some real progress already. I can't wait to see you tomorrow. Thanks again."

I responded, "Thank you Man, You are great! The best is yet to come! Don't forget to "smile and bite" at all times lol. Diana."

His response was, "Haha".

On that, I said, "See you tomorrow. It was a lot of fun! That's how it should be!"

He says, "Ya. It felt casual and yet very aggressive. Just perfect for a Leo Musician. See ya soon."

I responded, "Thank you for a great output. I told you one day I may use you as my spokesman. I love my fellow musicians. I have a special spot for them in my heart. Remember, I came from the same clan. Read the book and you will find out more about me."

Day 2:

My client said, "Thanks again for an inspiring day. It was over too quickly. I can't wait to get started again tomorrow. Have a great night. See you soon."

I said, "Thank you. Jamie (my assistant) could not believe your singing today. He said it was much better than yesterday. Way to go man! See you tomorrow. Best, Diana".

Yesterday - on the fourth day - we concluded our voice repair course with the absolute up to par professional singing with no trace of damage anywhere to be heard.

At the door, I did ask my client if it was worth it to come all the way from Calgary and pay $3,500. He responded that no amount of money would appreciate the value of the experience and the result he acquired during these past four days.

In the past, the doctors told him to take a vocal rest. I asked him if it helped. He said, "No, it became worse".

Here, we had sessions of speaking, singing and taking natural herbs in between for two and a half hours on end on each day and the voice was becoming better and better in both instances, speaking and singing.

As a side effect, this singer has become by far more professional with respect of the application of his voice, but most importantly, his voice is assured not to experience any damage ever again.

I did advise him though, that this course was conducted in a super accelerated manner, and he should come back at some point and time for a maintenance to assure the healthy and lengthy voice for life.

"Thanks for everything, Diana. I'll be in touch."

Friday, May 4, 2012

“Olympic” Vocal Games… What does it take to produce an “Olympic” caliber, vocalist…? The “Olympic” team.

“We are the champions my friend”. Freddie Mercury of the band “Queen” once sung.
Where does it begin, for example, to become an Olympic champion in figure skating? 
It begins from the moment when the parents take their five or six year old to the skating ring. And then they notice that the child really likes to glide and is not afraid to fall.
Next step they make, they search for a reputable figure skating club, and then, they bring their offspring and hand him or her to the capable hands of experienced trainer. Then it takes eight to ten years of very hard work for the skater, his/her multiple trainers, his/her parents and finally, a quite substantial amount of money to bring the skater first to the nationals, then to the world championship and then finally, to the Olympic games.
For those who remember Tara Lipinski, would remember that she has won the Olympic title at the age of 14.
It is a known fact that her and her mother actually had to separate from her father and move to another city to train with the coach who was in charge of the Olympic team, ie, of those who had the potential to become Olympic champions.
That formula applies practically for every competitive field.But, evidently, for some reason, does not apply to the Artists. When they approach me from other cities, countries, continents, for some reason, they think they could become professional singers or repair their voices to resume their interrupted by inadequate singing careers, via communicating with me either by phone, by Skype or by magic DVD or pill..? 
They don’t realize that to power the voice and project it in its aimed destination, takes an integration and synergy between the mental, physical and vocal state.
From my part, it takes a special skill to connect to the artist’s anatomy and physiology, almost by an umbilical cord and through the application of my own anatomy and physiology, and by application of enormous amount of energy of my own. 
Then, and only then, I am able to discover and uncover a true spirit/voice from the Artist and shape it in “Olympic” quality product, as now the Artist will sound unique and distinct, not to mention, will sound in accordance with the standards of the professional singing. Now we have a vocal product, and now, the rest of the “movers and shakers” have to take over.
I know of a person in the UK whose assignment is exactly that.He puts around the Artists the successful teams. In fact, he is the one who discovered and made Adele   the six Grammy recipient.
Unfortunately, Adele has experienced some serious vocal problems five months prior to that.That suggests that one of the components  of the successful team was not met.
This is the riddle for my readers...
Which component do you think Adele has been missing, if any?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Vocal Mechanism… What would it take to make your voice “tick” with absolute precision?

Everybody knows that for example; A Cartier Watch costs a lot of money. Granted, the watch of that kind also looks really good, but mainly, it costs a fortune, because of the construction of the mechanism which makes this watch tick with absolute precision.

It is indeed a very well-known fact that the more precise the mechanism is, the more value the watch will possess.Similarly, the more precise the vocal mechanism is the better quality of the voice the singer will possess.

That means the pitch will be spot on, the body and the colours of the voice will be expressed fully, the volume and projection of the voice will not be even in question.
And lastly, the safety and longevity of the singer’s voice will be assured for life.

Vocal Science technique offers a so to speak installation of such mechanism in the vocalist’s psyche, anatomy and physiology. Vocal Science method advocates the integration and synergy between mental, physical, emotional and vocal state.

On that premise, the vocalist intellectually has to understand what makes that vocal mechanism work with absolute precision, and kinaesthetically, the artist has to acquire the feel and then retain the intellectual understanding and the kinaesthetic feeling.

Once the voice restructured to the set of the facial muscles and they begin to work in full conjunction and coordination with the Artist’s abdominal muscles, the whole equation starts to tick, ie, the simultaneous application between the lower abdomen, upper diaphragm, structure of the sound, placement of the voice and the actual aimed projection of the voice are complete components of the precise vocal mechanism which makes the voice tick with absolute precision, thus, makes the Artist’s voice impeccable and invaluable at all times and in all instances.