Thursday, April 24, 2014

Vocally and generally speaking... What are the benefits of voice/vocal instruction for children and adults?



Teaching now for over 40 years, I could right away sense if the child, or now adult, has ever been taking any activities which require mind/body coordination, like for example: Ballet, Gymnastics, Figure Skating and, of course, participating in some of the other recreational or professionally oriented events and sports. Those who did not do it I their childhood, could not literally “walk and chew the gum at the same time”, so to speak. Some of them could not walk a straight line, let alone on their tippy toes with their arms up, as per the requirements of Vocal Science Method and Technique.




Some of them simply do not possess any motor skills.




Their brain is not trained to give a command to their bodies, which in case of the voice training and voice powering, it requires a great deal to visualise how the physical sound travels, and then connect the sound to the upper back muscles, upper diaphragm and lower abdomen, to achieve the total voice performance, speaking, or furthermore, singing. 




Obviously, since the person’s vision is improving, as well as the person’s focus, nevertheless, the total coordination between the brain, sound and the body is achieved.




Once the person is in control of their actions and motions, needless to say, the person becomes more balanced, and thus gains confidence and self-esteem. The aforementioned person, (child and/or adult), learning how to listen and then how to hear the instructions, coupled and balanced with self-analysis.



And lastly, once the person has achieved all of the above mentioned skills, his/hers’ emotional makeup becomes that much stronger. Needless to say, that the social skills will be also improve exponentially.




So even if the parents think that their child might not become a professional Ballerina, professional Figure Skater or professional singer for that matter, the benefits which the child acquires during the training for whichever field, will be priceless and, nevertheless, will be carried throughout the child’s lifetime. As the foundation which the child gets’ while growing up, will define the quality of the child’s adulthood. 




Give your child or yourself the gift of skills and thus, a better quality of life.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Vocally and otherwise speaking, The world, evidently, gone crazy… And, unfortunately, it looks like it could be to the point of no return.

Let’s examine what has happened to the world lately?

What has happened is that nobody speaks, especially on the phone. Everybody is texting and e-mailing and practically nobody communicates otherwise.  Not necessarily any of those people have a voice problem; and that’s why they are afraid to speak. But, all of them, however, independently, have a problem in common; they simply do not know how to communicate anymore, (voice problem or not).
Some of them, primarily young people, who were born in this technological craze, evidently, had never been taught either how to hand write, nor how to read actual books, (not the internet mishmash), and let along speak, as even passing school tests, they had to respond in writing; choosing one answer out of 3 or 5 choices (multiple choice method).

How scary is that? Some of them cannot even sign their own name, unless electronically!

In my world, those, (the above described people), are often inquiring about either singing or speech lessons or, moreover, about non-surgical voice repair for their damaged or per-damaged voices. And guess what, they do not choose to speak to me over the phone, and they are e-mailing or texting to “death” until I give up answering in writing, as first of all, it is very time consuming and a lot of things are getting lost in translation. Moreover, I explain to these people that in order for me to know what I will be dealing with, I NEED to HEAR THEIR VOICE!!!

2 Days ago, It took me almost 6 hours in total to convince the person, with obvious speech impediment, to actually call me. During that call, I found out that I was conversing over the cyberspace with a young girl who was an University of Toronto business graduate and who would definitely never be able to find a job, unless she would fix her voice and her actual speech, which, in turn, would give her confidence and the ability to pass the job interview. I had no clue if it was a male or female, as she happened to have a unisex African name, which could be suitable for any gender.
What does that tell you about our society today?

My evaluation on the latter would not be getting very high marks.

But what is most frustrating is not even as much the young population who don’t know otherwise, but my generation and older, who knew and experienced relatively good and fulfilling lives without any electronic interference and then lived happily ever after. However, nowadays, even them, sometimes in the late 70’s, refuse to speak on the phone and bombarding me with e-mails and requests to fix their problematic vocal issues via Facetime or Skype!

Go Figure!

What have they done for the last 60 years, and how did they manage to live and function without this electronic pollution, so to speak…

Beats me.

I personally feel very sad right now, as I am missing the times where and when, over my 30 year old business, I could speak with people over the phone, hear their voices, somewhat detecting the type of their personalities and then gladly was meeting them in person. Today, with all of this technology, I employ, minimum to say quadruple effort, and achieve, at best, to say less than a half results. Needless to say, the personal touch is greatly missing, and that I am mourning the most about.

The question is: if the people do not want to use their voice for any communication, why fix it? If they are, so to speak, being mute most of their awakened time, then why are they thriving to get their voices back? Isn’t that redundant?

In this society, to say it bluntly and sadly, they only need a “smart” phone and somewhat decent computer, and they are very well on their way…

It’s all good, but is it normal? Perhaps for the animals, it could be, but here, we are talking about human beings who, at least occasionally were (ordered by the Higher Power), to use their brains and their voices, for that matter.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Voice Problems. What Kind Of Impact It Makes On People Surrounding the Person With The Voice Disorder?



Very often, I get the phone calls, (especially from the US), from the husbands or wives of the vocally effected individuals. They inquire about the Non-Surgical Voice Repair on behalf of their loved one and I, in a lot of times, am hearing and even suspecting that there is something wrong with their own voices. Since some people are not able to coherently express themselves outright at the beginning of the phone conversation, I presume that they inquire about themselves!

Of course, if I hear severe voice damage, I know that I am talking to the right person. It is quite peculiar that the spouse, with no voice problem per say, sounds like he/she has one!  It seems, like when I travel to the UK, I also pick up a British accent. Also, when I receive the American clients from Buffalo New York or Texas, my Russian and Canadian accent gets mixed in with their American accent.  It seems to be when one of the spouses has a voice problem and has obvious difficulty speaking, the other spouse is picking up the same manner of speech.

Once, I had a Voice Repair client who came to me from Florida; (Her video before and after my instruction is available on our website). From her own words, she was suffering with the voice damage for over 10 years and undergone 3 voice operations before she arrived to my studio She also told me that during that time, her (then 10 years old) son was born and he also was speaking with a lower, raspy voice, as he never heard his mother’s real voice.

Go figure!

Remember the story about the boy named Mowgli from The Jungle Book, who was raised by a pack of wolves, and was naturally howling like them, as he had never heard the human speech. That said, it probably would make sense for both spouses, or parents and their children for that matter, to arrive for the Voice Repair sessions so that the vocally healthy person could be present, even passively, in the sessions, to also acquire back his/hers normal command of the voice.

Needless to say, people who live side by side with people with any disability are greatly affected by the situation, emotionally and otherwise. I have seen the mother, who arrived with her adult daughter from the UK, being completely distraught and hurting for her child, sitting with tears in her eyes in my studio and watching her daughter struggling with her voice.

She was obviously emotionally hurt herself, as once before, she knew that her daughter had a beautiful classical Opera voice, which was brutally ruined by an incompetent vocal instruction offered to her daughter from one of the well-known arts Colleges in Britain. So sometimes, the rehab (including the vocal problems) could be, nevertheless, administered for the whole family to at least bring back the health and harmony of all parties involved.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Vocal Talent (or not) Vs Adequate (or inadequate) Vocal Anatomy… How do they interact with each other and what would be greater if you had a choice of one?

Having close to 40 years of experience of teaching and repairing voices, I accessed minimum to say over 20,000 people; some with talent, others without, some with good structure of the vocal anatomy and some did not actually have a physical structure suitable for any kind of singing, let alone professionally. Ultimately, the big mouth, the full lips, the good vocal box opening, would be desirable for anybody to become a singer of whichever calibre. 
 
It’s just like a classical ballet. 
The person who would want to embark on a classical ballet scene, would have to have certain lengths of the arms and legs, certain flexibility, slender physique, and a high instep.
The physical requirements for that particular field are very strict. However, outside of the classical ballet, there are some other forms of dance where those particular requirements for the physical structure are not as important. 
A lot of components though, could be somewhat improved such as flexibility, body turnout and even the “bad” feet. So if the person has a real inclination, talent and musicality, she/he could still in spite of some body imperfections, could become a dancer and with the perfect technique could actually compensate for some of the physical body limitations. 
Similarly, the person who is striving to become a singer may also have a musical talent, good ears, good pitch, excellent musicality, and beautiful expression of their soul. However, the physical anatomy might not be adequate enough to make it as a singer on a big scale. 
It could be simply that the size of the mouth is not large enough, the vocal chords are shorter and thinner than they should be, and that, anatomically, might also be not corresponding with the actual size of the person. There is another variable, structurally speaking, which is very important.
It is the actual height (arc) of the vocal box itself.

Is it fixable? Yes, but certainly, with great difficulty.
The problem is that, once I help the student (with the above described shortcoming) place the sound into the facial cavities, the sound often is not locking in, as the vocal box is flat and thus unable to hold the weight of the sound. Therefore, a lot of times the student and I could hear a crackling sound due to the voice slipping down to the vocal chords uncontrollably. However, with the great effort and dedication from both sides (mine and the student’s) the mission gets to be accomplished and the musically talented person is not missing on their dream to become a singer, in spite of their defaulted anatomical structure. The vocal science technique, one more time again, prevailed. What about the person with the small mouth, skinny lips, smaller inside and outside opening, not to mention smaller and thinner vocal chords, you my reader may ask?

Could they become a singer?
The answer is yes, but a lot of technical work will be required to compensate for all of those imperfections. The technique has to become absolutely and totally precise, as they do not have much room for “slack.” The sound has to have a precise height, a perfect width (body), and it has to be placed and totally locked in the set of the facial cavities. Any imprecision of the facial cavities working in conjunction and coordination with the abdominal and upper back muscles for the support of the sound, will cause the sound to be narrow, closed in a “pear” shape and to fall down in a lower position hitting the throat, vocal chords, larynx, and even the chest
That said, the sound will never be able to fly over and above the physical body and thus will not be delivered to its aimed destination. So the question is; what would you chose, to possess a better and more suitable  vocal anatomy or, the actual musical talent, the perfect heart and soul desire to express yourself via your feelings and emotions? Nevertheless, to have all of the above, would be ultimate.
But if any of the components are missed, you can still attempt to work on them to be able at the final stage to account for its totality, and then judge whether or not it is enough substance to achieve your goal and to which degree it will become realistic.

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