Saturday, March 17, 2012

Damaged Vocal Cords, Bleeding Polyps, Nodules, Nodes, Dysphonia, and etc.
Does it have Anything to do with the Conventional Vocal Training?

Yes, the answer is that unfortunately it does have a lot to do with the conventional vocal coaching or self-inflicted bad vocal habits.

The conventional vocal coaching suggests to the artists to drop the jaw down, to stick the stomach out and to drown the voice as low and as deep as possible into one's anatomy...?

Let's analyze this and examine if there are any logical grounds underneath of those methods.

To my knowledge and everybody else's knowledge who at least attended Grades 6 or 7 physics and geometry classes, that the sound is a physical, material body and it travels as such.

If you visualize a pitcher, would you visualize him pitching the ball downward or rather above and on top of his physical body, trying to establish a high altitude and thus, a high level of flight trajectory to achieve the aimed destination with his thrown ball?

Respectively, the sound will also fly on top and above of the physical anatomy, taking the centre of the physical body for consideration, while concurrently leaving the vocal anatomy and the anatomy in general underneath, while employing the abdominal muscles for the support of the sound, now restructured and removed from the vocal box all together to the set of the facial muscles, which will in turn play the role of the natural resonator and amplifier, amplifying one's voice at least quadruple times over.

This has been my revolutionary discovery, now close to four decades.

Meanwhile, the whole world continues to employ the so called conventional vocal technique in the completely opposite direction.

As a result, every second known singer and even remotely known ones, are losing their voices, cancelling their tours and undergoing vocal operations.

Interestingly enough, when my management or myself approach the troubled and injured artist's management, quite often they reply that they have their own team and their own vocal coach.

For some very mysterious reason, they do not connect that that very vocal coach is perhaps responsible for the vocal trouble of his famous protege.

The so called successful team doesn't find anything better to do, as to address the now injured performer right back to the same vocal coach, thinking that something now should change.

This never ceases to amaze me.

I can swear my life on the Bible that I do not know any of my students past or present (and I've had over 19, 000 - estimated amount) who have lost their voices or, God forbid furthermore, undergone any of the vocal surgeries.

On that premise, I must admit, I'm probably doing something right.

It might not be too modest, but it is the truth and that's what counts.

My wish for the management of those troubled artists is to look a little bit closer to the cause of the vocal injury their artists are experiencing, and then perhaps pick up a clue that there is something that must be wrong in their vocal approach via vocal coach, vocal or music producer, and of course the artists' themselves.

The voice is the spirit and it has to be discovered, uncovered and made to be flown away and above of the physical body and not with the physical body.

Moreover, it will identify the actual blueprint of the artist's voice, and make their voice that much more unique.

Hopefully, it won't remain to be a mystery for that much longer.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

"Hammer" Your "Instrument" then Fix it and then What...? Continue "Hammering" it? Or... Learn How to "Play" on it... PROPERLY!

Let's imagine that a so called piano player, instead of playing properly the given instrument, is constantly hammering on it, instead of playing on it with both hands and using the right intensity, as expected.

Please take a wild guess to what could happen next...?

It is inevitable that their instrument (piano in this case) will fall to pieces. Then what?

Then, the best piano technician will be employed to put together that wonderful instrument and sometimes even make it better sounding and performing than the original had ever been.

And why not?

Now the aforementioned piano has new strings, new PIANO hammers, and all together, new "bells and whistles". The only thing that would be needed is a good piano player who would make it sound even better and will not break that instrument in a short order again.

But instead...?

The player still has a "hammer" in his hand, which, unfortunately,  has never gotten to be removed in first place!

And what do you think he would do now?

Nevertheless, he will be hammering with the new acquired strength and harder than before, as he would want to prove to himself and to the world that everything is fine now and nothing like that will ever happen again...?

But to his and his peer's surprise, now coming... THE PAYOUT TIME.

By the law of averages and any remote logic, that wonderful, perhaps "Steinway" instrument will end up broken to pieces... ONE MORE TIME AGAIN!

How sad, you may exclaim!

It is indeed! But what did you expect?

The manner of playing has never been changed, the "hammer" was never removed from the players hand, and in the case of the singer, the "knife" was never taken from his hand, which, metaphorically speaking, he was continuously trying to put into his throat.

The musicians worldwide employ a very well known saying - "No gig lasts forever".

And it is right.

IT EVIDENTLY DOESN'T!

At least so far, nobody proved it otherwise that it will.

Look at John Mayer now. He had a second occurrence of the growth on his vocal anatomy.

Why is that, you may ask?

That is because NOTHING HAS BEEN CHANGED, except his "instrument" was fixed, before he started "hammering" (however softly in his case) on it again. And as a result, now he is going on an indefinite hiatus for his vocal rest and perhaps another operation.

Will the second operation help? Yes, it might.

But it might also produce the scar tissue and thus, the "instrument" will not be as sound as before, not to mention that the "player", has not changed anything just yet with respect of his vocal care and vocal technique. I hope, though, that he will in the near future, as otherwise, now on both counts, the next "VOCAL CRASH" will be inevitable.

Adele, while interviewed by Anderson Cooper before the Grammy Awards, was asked outright, if she thought that she could have another occurrence of a loss of voice, and she responded without any doubt in her mind or any hesitation, "Yes, of course".

She mentioned a future tour where she would have to perform in over 200 venues and thus, she naturally had a predicament, that the similar problem with her voice she just experienced several months ago, would no doubts occur again.

Being very smart and now quite experienced, she too knows that nothing in particular has really changed in her own vocal performance/application of her voice. What changed, is that she acquired a much better, so to speak "instrument" to "play on". But she also knows that it's only a matter of time before that "instrument" also begins to "break", unless something would have drastically changed with the perhaps newly adapted vocal technique.

If her next tour will indeed consist of at least 200 concerts, the wear and tear on her vocal anatomy (and on anybody else's for that matter) will be enormous, especially when, in a real sense, the singer(s) do not know what they are doing vocally (technically speaking), except, so to speak, "playing it by ear".

And in the case where you really don't know, and you are "shooting" your sound blindly, while also keeping your fingers crossed, hoping to get through the gig, your chances are very high that you might not be able to deliver your performance without the occurrence of the vocal trauma.

Adele admitted that she had anxiety attacks before the performances and when she was asked why by the interviewer, she said in her own words, "Because I'm afraid not to deliver my performance".

And rightfully so.

You don't fly the plane without a license, you don't drive a train without the license and you don't practice law without a license either.

Why would you "play by ear", instead of "playing" upon design, and why would you want to put a huge pressure on your anatomy and physiology while doing it?

This question, at the moment, remains to be unanswered.

So once again, could any gig last forever, or at least for a prolonged period of time?

I personally do believe that there are ways to elongate that gig to the desirable time span, i.e. to take a proper maintenance of the instrument, to remove harmful tools such as "hammers and knives" from the hand of the performer, so to speak, and equip the performer with the right tools, i.e. with the right technique and application of that technique, where the use of the vocal anatomy is minimized and practically eliminated, where with the minimum effort, the maximum result will be accomplished, where the performer, instead of dying 10 000 deaths before and during the performance, will use their voice upon design and will know preliminarily what kind of sound will come out of their mouth and how and where it will be safely and successfully delivered.

The question is, what price tag could you put on that?

The answer is... IT IS PRICELESS! (Just ask any vocal performer).

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Voice vs American Idol - What is Similar and What is Different?
One Thing in Common This Year; BETTER SINGING THAN EVER!!!

I'm religiously watching both television shows - The Voice and the American Idol.

And I have to say to my pleasant surprise, both shows "raised their bar", almost to the max!

The word "almost" suggests that I'm not 100% in the agreement with the judges of The Voice. However, even that proximity is pretty high. I would say, I agree with their choices at about 95% of the time.

It looks like they are looking for something different, i.e. unique tone and unique delivery of the song, but they are not as much concerned about the pitch and the technical aspect of vocal performance. And I guess on those counts, I'm not 100% in agreement with them.

Whereas American Idol, at least this year, is possessing incredibly good and sound performers. The female clan is almost unbelievably good. I'm afraid to say that some of them are better than the original artists.

And also, to the credit of the judges, the participants are truly judged on their technical and artistic merit, as it should be, and independently of the participants' looks, age, nationality and what have you.

There were, throughout the competition, somewhat original singers and performers who were not sound, technically speaking, and whose pitch was definitely not perfect, and they have been eliminated, in spite of the great looks they possessed, and how unique their tone or performances were.

I found it extremely attractive and also suggestive to the future auditioners, that now you can not just hope that you will ride only on your looks or craziness, for that matter, to get discovered and be pushed on the big stage and in the limelight.

Maybe the audience who is considering down the road to become participants themselves, will get a clue that before auditioning it wouldn't be a bad idea to run a checkpoint, i.e. Do I know what I'm doing technically? Do I have anything unique to offer? Do I need to consult top notch professionals before I submit my application?...

That said, this competition then, will be treated much more seriously and will attract much more serious, intelligent and educated people, let alone people with the true and unique vocal talent and not just performance talent.

As for The Voice, the judges might have some unique discoveries, but if they will be vocally up to standards, remains to be seen and heard.
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