Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Synopsis of The Royans Professional Vocal school.

The Royans Professional Vocal School (a.k.a, The Royans School for the Musical Performing Arts), was founded in 1984 by my partner Ted Kowalczyk & myself. Prior to that, Ted and I performed as a duo around the Toronto area which was called Toronto Mini Caravan.

Both of us were involved in multicultural events and had been highly profiled on multicultural radio and TV stations as well as performing at numerous CHIN Picnics.

In 1983, a Veteran Toronto Polish musician named Stephan Pavliak, incidentally overheard me playing piano and singing some Russian romances while I was awaiting in the lobby of the Academy of Music (where I worked as a piano and singing instructor) for my student’s arrival. He approached me, commending me on my talent and offered to help me out (along with my partner Ted) to open a music school which he thought I could successfully carry for many years to come. As of today, the school exists for almost 34 consecutive years.

Unfortunately, my partner had passed away in 1986, right at the beginning of our recording contract with the Canadian Artist Polish Guild. The record was sponsored by an ethnic Polish community, as well as the Polish Radio DJ/CHIN, Carol K. Carol herself was my singing student and, along with Ted, both of them were to sing a duet on the Polish record which I was appointed to be a vocal producer for. The recording was to begin on June the 23rd, 1986. Unfortunately, it never took place, as Ted passed away on that very morning from stroke and a heart attack.

Ted was a quite-known Opera singer from Warsaw, Poland. He was a graduate of the Warsaw Conservatory;  and he also possessed a Master's Degree in political science and was fluent in at least 6 languages.

As to date, with pride, I am carrying Ted's legacy and hoping one day to establish a scholarship for the talented young singers who, in the remembrance of his name, will be offered the full singer/artist development, and needless to say, absolutely free of charge.

Diana Yampolsky

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Vocal Science: Vocal Surgery. You have done it! Now what?

Will you be in  need of anything else for that matter? 

For over many years of my Non-Surgical Voice Repair practice, I have been personally answering numerous emails and phone calls with all sorts of inquiries with regards to people possessing various voice/vocal problems.  Some of them had been already diagnosed with a voice/vocal disorder; others knew that they had speech or singing problems but still were not certain how they acquired them and what exactly they were. And the other category of people had already undergone a vocal surgery.

The latter category of people, at first, were very happy, as they thought that all of their voice/vocal problems had been solved once and for all. And yes, they felt better (some of them, but not all of them) and thought that, after surgical intervention, they could speak or sing better then ever.

However, in a shorter (or even longer) while, they began to notice that their voice started to gradually deteriorate again and slowly, the voice stated coming back to its original ill condition; and in some cases, their voice began to sound even worse then before the surgical interference.

Those people, of course, were quite in panic, as they could not understand why (after their voice was surgically “fixed”) they thought, they had been again experiencing vocal difficulties.

This category of people, unfortunately, could not understand that their “instrument”, perhaps was adequately fixed, but nobody (of course) had taught them a new application of their speaking and/or singing voice; thus there was only 50% of change (with respect of the “instrument”), but the other 50% of knowledge of how to conduct their speaking and/or singing voice properly and safely without harming it again, had been missed. Therefore, given the above, the protection of the health of their voice, let alone for a lifetime, had never been assured.

After any surgery of any kind, the post-surgical trauma is still present and it does require a shorter or longer period of time for the healing to take place.

The latter is the first phase. The second phase is the actual post-surgical care which should be conducted by a qualified voice specialist. The regular conventional medicine quite often suggests a speech therapy to supposedly put one’s voice in order. Moreover, the ENT doctors suggest the above not only for people with speech problems, but also for singers…?

I happen to be that alternative speaking and singing voice specialist and never met anybody (before or after vocal surgery) who would acquire any significant results from above aforementioned services.

Moreover, when people with singing voice problems call me and ask me if I am a speech therapist who can accept their work insurance benefits, it really puzzles me why (especially people with singing voice problems) would want to go to a speech therapist who never sung a note in their life and thus never possessed any kind of vocal technique him/herself...?

When I do ask that question, the answer usually is that those speech therapists are authorized to accept insurance benefits… 

Unfortunately, the vocally injured people (perhaps, out of frustration) lose their ability to think straight; and thus are making totally illogical decisions. Needless to say that, in majority of those cases, while “setting the stage for disaster” they never accomplish any significant results, if even at all.

With technology progressing everyday and every minute of the day, unfortunately, by my observations, people are not becoming much smarter. On the contrary, they think that the technology will give them all the answers and all the solutions to all of their problems, vocal problems included. Moreover, they have little understanding that the voice is a significant part of their anatomy and physiology. I have always said that the voice is the spirit and it has to be discovered, uncovered and, in a manner of speaking, “flown to the universe”.

For greater reference of the above, please refer to my book, “Vocal Science – Flight to the Universe”. The title of my book does refer to the human voice which, with the application of the proper technique, will, so to speak, soar with the “ease of the Eagles”  and to the place where the “sky is the limit”.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Vocal Science: Non-Surgical Voice Repair – Is It Just a Lisp... or Perhaps Something Else That’s Causing It?

Nevertheless, over many years, we treated and cured a lot of people with all kinds of different speech and singing problems.

Some of the voice/vocal disorders were straight forward, but some of them not so much; and I really had to figure out what the exact cause would be in order to correct the actual problem.

Sometimes, there are clients who come with definite diagnosis, like, for example, a couple of years ago, we had a voice repair client from Brooklyn, New York who was diagnosed with solcus vocalis (gap between the vocal cords), 10 years prior reaching our Institute for Non-Surgical Voice Repair, here in Toronto, Canada.

So at the time of such diagnosis, he was 26 years old; and by the time he reached us, he was 36 years old. By the time he finally came to us, his voice disorder progressed to the point whereas the sound of his voice was very scratchy and very raspy.

Luckily, via specially designed by me speech exercises along with the application of the natural herbs and remedies, we were able to synchronize his vocal cords and put them in complete balance with his physical body.

So, as a result, the problem was solved in just 15 hours (3 consecutive days).
However, once the voice was lifted off of the vocal box, releasing the vocal cords off of the pressure of the sound, I begun to hear  something else which I had not heard before or even was aware about.

Underneath of all of this, the very serious voice/vocal disorder (known as muscle tension dysphonia) was awaiting…

In his case, it was absolutely impossible to detect it until the “voice lift” took place to cure the main voice disorder (sulcus vocalis) which he originally had come to us with.
It does happen (however not very often), but it does happen. Sometimes, there are layers of problems lying beneath the main problem (just like the onion has multiple layers where you take one off and there are many more layers beneath each other).
Surely enough, by the end of our 15 hour term, my client exclaimed; “My voice is so much better now, but my neck hurts.” That was a confirmation of my observations. At this point, him and I planned the next course of action; but unfortunately, it did not take place, at least not yet.

Two days ago, a young boy of 13 years of age walked into my studio.

Before coming for what we call a “Diagnosis Exploratory Session”, as prior (for all his life and according to his mother) he was diagnosed by medical doctors with a lisp.

Interestingly enough, when I first spoke to him on the phone, I could not pinpoint what exactly was wrong with his speech.

That is exactly to the point why anything serious like that could not be diagnosed, or furthermore treated, remotely.

I was really shocked when he started speaking to me (now one on one  and in person). I realized that his problem is much deeper and more complicated then just a simple lisp. There were more then few letters he was pronouncing in a quite “twisted” way.

To me, it sounded that something happened during his birth which compromised his speech center; and nevertheless, respectively, his voice application to certain letters and syllables. I could compare it with some “twisted wringing” taking place in his case, which have to be straightened out and “rewired” to its proper state. The “short circuit in such wiring” also has to be fixed.

The whole voice mechanism has to be fixed and put in balance.

However… easier said then done, but definitely can be and should be done, as the whole life of the aforementioned child/teenager is also out of balance and definitely effects his confidence on every level. 

The latter, in fact, is similar to my approach to the treatment of such disorders as Spasmodic Dysphonia (which colloquially, I named “Vocal Epilepsy”)

I am sure, my reader, that the above writing gives you a good understanding of how complicated the treatment of any voice disorders can be.

Both aforementioned clients went, for a number of years, to all kinds of ENT doctors, speech therapists, speech pathologists, etc, trying to rectify their voice/vocal problems.

Some of them got the right diagnosis, some of them did not. But none of those so called “medical specialists” were really able to put a finger on the cause of the actual problem, let alone suggest an appropriate course of action with respect of a proper treatment, let alone cure.

How sad is that?
Sad indeed!
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