Friday, October 9, 2015

Vocal Disorder: Some people, as it appears to be, love having it?

It sounds completely absurd, doesn’t it? Believe it or not, in some cases, it is completely true. At first, when the person gets diagnosed with any kind of voice problems, they become devastated, then frustrated; after that, depressed and then, believe it or not, they get used to it and, in some cases, they truly embrace it.

They have no other choice, you may exclaim!

Yes, partially you are right, my reader.  They have to embrace it and get into balance to be able to deal with their voice issues accordingly and promptly. However, a lot of people, after conducting a short search, give up on getting better and soon give up on even claiming their life back.  Moreover, they discover support groups where they get “support”, but not how to fix their voice problem, but how to learn to live with it; and yes, “love” it.

So now, they are caught in a catch 22 situation, so to speak.

They have found, so called support, from group members.
They also seem to have found emotional support from their family members and friends. Everybody is feeling sorry for them and expressing their sympathy. And before they know it, they, very quickly, get use to it. Then, sometime down the road, they discover the real help, which could actually suggest and lead them, in majority of cases, to the full recovery of their normal, or even better voice then they originally owned.

And then, believe it or not, instead of getting excited, they are getting scared. . ?

Of what, you may ask?

The answer is; they are afraid of taking action towards becoming better and conquering their voice issues.

And why?

Because once they are back to normal, they might lose the attention of those who originally were expressing their sympathy and feeling sorry for them. They got use to it and they do not want to lose it.

Having a voice disorder, they feel, somewhat “special” and expect special treatment by the people surrounding them.

I am just going to give you one example from my 40+ years of practice dealing with all sorts of people with and without vocal disorders, issues or problems.
About a couple of years ago, a young girl of 26 years of age, walked into my studio/clinic with a horrible voice disorder known as muscle tension dysphonia. She hardly could speak and told me in despair that she used to be a medical assistant for ophthalmologists. When she lost her voice due to her very erratic behavior, (smoking, drinking, drugs and loud late night parties), she was let go from her position, as she could no longer communicate with the clients.

At that point, she was collecting employment insurance.

Nevertheless, I offered a huge discount for my non-surgical voice repair program, consisting of psychological counseling, diet and nutrition counseling, my unique voice instruction coupled with certain body movements which help to lift the voice off of the injured area (the neck muscles and the vocal box); and lastly, natural herbal and homeopathic treatments to heal the throat flora by also removing all of the impurities (like acid and mucus) from the bottom of the throat.

After I explained to her all of this, which took about 2 hours, she left with no charge from my side and with tears in her eyes and promise that she will be back as soon as possible to take me up on my generous offer.

Sometime after, she called a couple of times, arranged appointments and payment schedules, and never showed up once. Eventually, after about a year and a half from our initial meeting, she called again and now said that she is definitely coming to pay me and pick up a set of herbs so she could start her instruction and treatment with me almost right away.

She showed up a couple of times; each time late for at least an hour or longer.

She did half of the instruction, as she always had to go somewhere; and also she was, according to her, feeling tired. Out of 10 hours she arranged with me, she took only a maximum of 6 hours in total, which she had stretched for over a year period of time and canceled her appointments with me, at least 10 times in the process.

Then she disappeared for another year and, as usual, being apologetic and blaming herself, she almost “swore on the bible” that this time around, she would finish her remaining hours, as she wanted to go back to work. (All this time, she was collecting government assistance and gotten used to staying up late and getting up at 3:00PM).

Nevertheless, by now, she was loving it all the way.
However,  (not being stupid, by far), she intellectually knew that it was all wrong and she should get better and get back to her normal life. She also kept confirming that I was her one and only vehicle to bring her to victory.

By now, it is shooting close to 3 years from the beginning of this ordeal.

She contacted me at the beginning of this year again and promised to restart the program with me no later then, now, past April/May.

Ever since then, I have not heard from her for about 8 or 9 months.

Go figure!

She is in her late 20s by now and, as far as I am concerned, her young life is ruined. She fell in love with her present lifestyle on a physical and psychological level and constantly fighting with her intellectual understanding of the matter.

However, it does not prosper her forward and frankly, I don’t think that it ever will.

How sad is that?

To conclude: Please don’t get used to your voice disabilities.
Please don’t fall in love with it and with the newfound “lifestyle”.  The longer you are in it, the harder it will be to snap out of it.

And if you don’t, it will be a complete waste of your, once precious, life.

I have numerous examples of that happening which I will reiterate to you in my future upcoming blogs.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Niagara Falls Concert and “Legends” Overview.

My Husband and I attended yesterday (October the 4th) Legends in Concert and really enjoyed it and loved it. It was very well staged; in general, the performers were very look-alike to the original artists and also sounded quite close to the original acts.

The absolute best, in my professional and personal opinion, was Tina Turner’s look-alike and actually, in my professional opinion, she was sounding better then the original Tina Turner. As a Master Vocal Coach and Voice Repair Specialist with over 40 years of experience; teaching, consulting and repairing voices, I should say, that even I, could not improve anything in that act, singing or otherwise.

Way to go Cookie Watkins!

As for the person that I could have truly professionally helped, especially with the high range and a better pitch, would be the Roy Orbison impersonator, Brian McCullough. In my professional opinion, his voice was quite low positioned while singing, and that suggests right away, that the struggle with the high range and the pitch throughout the performance will most definitely occur.

The voice was projected from the chest cavities instead of the facial muscles, which are supposed to work in full conjunction and coordination with the abdominal muscles. The drop of the lower jaw, (very much so), had contributed to the drop of quite a few notes on the vocal cords and on the chest, thus somewhat compromising the pitch as well.

The performer was truly “saved by the bell”, via backup singers who were picking up dropped notes and nicely blending with the singer.
Way to go guys!

Mr. McCullough, however, possessed a very good look-alike demeanor and definitely had a good voice, as the actual “instrument”, so to speak. So if the application of that beautiful voice would be improved, the audience, especially those who are aware of what is actually going on with the singer on stage, would be even more enlightened by the totally perfect performance.

Overall, it was a very enjoyable show, especially for everyone’s heart and soul.

So my husband and I would highly recommend to anybody (especially for those who had lost, or will lose, money in the casino.. LOL), to rejuvenate their spirit and then, on a happy note, perhaps, win not only in the casino, but in life in general.  

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 Non-Surgical 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 effecting 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 wellbeing.
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
There was an error in this gadget