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Found 167 results

  1. Lately, I'm dealing with a lot of clients young and older with the voice/speech problems. Most of them spent months and years with speech therapists and speech pathologists. Some of them have gone to the regular check-ups with their ENT specialists and in the final analysis have not accomplished anything, by having no resolution to their voice problem. How frustrating could that be? It is extremely sad for them and their relatives, not to mention that the majority of those poor people, understandably, keep coming in and out of depression. Some of them lost their professions and their hobbies for that matter, like singing, for example, or playing some sports or even watching some sport or concert events have become a big challenge. It is usually quite noisy in those venues, and those with voice problems feel even more silent as they cannot compete with the screaming crowd. Some of them have lost hope, some of them are still researching and looking for the cure or at least for some improvement to their condition. In some cases the partial or even full recovery is possible, in others the improvement is definitely possible, but the full recovery is only desirable. Vocal Science techniques voice condition speaking or singing.advocates the maximum improvement of one's By the virtual fact that the voice via special exercises will be lifted off of the vocal box and restructured to a set of the facial muscles, the release of the neck and chest muscles will be inevitable. While those facial muscles will be working in full conjunction and coordination with the abdominal muscles, the pressure on the vocal anatomy will be also dramatically released. Now the sufferer will get a, so to speak, vocal rest, by removing the intruder [their own voice] from the dangerous places such as vocal box in general, neck, chest and shoulders. Once the voice drown so low in its position, the lower anatomy, such as described above, is heavily encaged, not to mention that all of it could cause such diseases and disorders like muscle tension dysphonia, or even spasmodic dysphonia, fibromyalgia and most likely acid reflux. Due to the low anatomical position, the voice could easily meet the gastric acid and the vocal cords could be burned in no time, thus severe damage to the vocal cords could occur. The moral of it is: Get away from the vocal anatomy as far as possible to preserve that anatomy for life. The conventional speech therapy promotes exactly the opposite of the above. They are working very heavily on already damaged vocal anatomy and in the majority of cases do more harm than good, or more damage than there was originally. How sad is that? The sufferer feels now more pain and strain than before and in a lot of times the voice sounds more hoarse than it originally did! A lot of time, energy and money spent, but the mission was never accomplished. There is still a voice disorder and very little hope left The Vocal Science Method is designed to work on a person as a whole. The approach is completely natural and completely holistic. The main philosophy of that is to release the vocal box from the pressure of the sound and then heal the vocal anatomy with natural herbs and remedies, while concurrently heal the troubled person hugely affected by the nasty voice disorder, and not only vocally but in any conceivable way. The Vocal Science Method also recognizes the psychological trauma as well as the vocal trauma, and due to that, needless to say, the holistic/alternative method works with flying colours and evidently produces unprecedented results. View full articles
  2. Lately, I'm dealing with a lot of clients young and older with the voice/speech problems. Most of them spent months and years with speech therapists and speech pathologists. Some of them have gone to the regular check-ups with their ENT specialists and in the final analysis have not accomplished anything, by having no resolution to their voice problem. How frustrating could that be? It is extremely sad for them and their relatives, not to mention that the majority of those poor people, understandably, keep coming in and out of depression. Some of them lost their professions and their hobbies for that matter, like singing, for example, or playing some sports or even watching some sport or concert events have become a big challenge. It is usually quite noisy in those venues, and those with voice problems feel even more silent as they cannot compete with the screaming crowd. Some of them have lost hope, some of them are still researching and looking for the cure or at least for some improvement to their condition. In some cases the partial or even full recovery is possible, in others the improvement is definitely possible, but the full recovery is only desirable. Vocal Science techniques voice condition speaking or singing.advocates the maximum improvement of one's By the virtual fact that the voice via special exercises will be lifted off of the vocal box and restructured to a set of the facial muscles, the release of the neck and chest muscles will be inevitable. While those facial muscles will be working in full conjunction and coordination with the abdominal muscles, the pressure on the vocal anatomy will be also dramatically released. Now the sufferer will get a, so to speak, vocal rest, by removing the intruder [their own voice] from the dangerous places such as vocal box in general, neck, chest and shoulders. Once the voice drown so low in its position, the lower anatomy, such as described above, is heavily encaged, not to mention that all of it could cause such diseases and disorders like muscle tension dysphonia, or even spasmodic dysphonia, fibromyalgia and most likely acid reflux. Due to the low anatomical position, the voice could easily meet the gastric acid and the vocal cords could be burned in no time, thus severe damage to the vocal cords could occur. The moral of it is: Get away from the vocal anatomy as far as possible to preserve that anatomy for life. The conventional speech therapy promotes exactly the opposite of the above. They are working very heavily on already damaged vocal anatomy and in the majority of cases do more harm than good, or more damage than there was originally. How sad is that? The sufferer feels now more pain and strain than before and in a lot of times the voice sounds more hoarse than it originally did! A lot of time, energy and money spent, but the mission was never accomplished. There is still a voice disorder and very little hope left The Vocal Science Method is designed to work on a person as a whole. The approach is completely natural and completely holistic. The main philosophy of that is to release the vocal box from the pressure of the sound and then heal the vocal anatomy with natural herbs and remedies, while concurrently heal the troubled person hugely affected by the nasty voice disorder, and not only vocally but in any conceivable way. The Vocal Science Method also recognizes the psychological trauma as well as the vocal trauma, and due to that, needless to say, the holistic/alternative method works with flying colours and evidently produces unprecedented results.
  3. Quite often, I am getting inquires from people who are indicating that they are interested just in regular singing lessons. So, I quote them the price for just singing lessons, not suspecting that they are already having some kind of a voice problem. Usually, they never admit it over the phone or the e-mail, unless they definitely have been already diagnosed, and the hoarse sound of their speaking voice, is very pronounced. However, luckily, some singers with the vocal problems do not have their speaking voice affected. Therefore, when I get them on the phone, sometimes, I cannot even pinpoint that they have any voice issues, as their speaking voice sounds completely normal. Then, they finally arrive to my studio and, after the first 5 minutes, I realize that they have actually enrolled in the wrong course vocal lessons, (instead of a non-surgical voice repair course)! In reality, they needed a voice repair, and big time, in some of the cases. Their vocal technique is completely wrong, as some of them, breathing with their stomachs out, (looking like pregnant ballerinas and dancers. LOL), throwing the sound down to their necks, shoulders and chest while, concurrently, dropping their jaws down to their knees. Not a very pretty picture. Hah! They are scooping the sound from underneath of their vocal anatomy, while gripping their neck really tight. And thus, setting the stage for, minimum to say, a muscle tension dysphonia, or some nasty growth on their vocal cords and on their vocal anatomy overall. We are talking now aboutnodes,nodules, polyps, cysts and even lesions, to name a few. Meanwhile, right off the bat, they are expecting regular singing lessons! I could compare it to a runner who, unfortunately, acquired a really bad injury on his leg, and who would think that after he applies some analgesic cream on a sore spot, he will be able to run marathons with no problems, not really fixing his actual problem first. Go figure! So now, the challenge is to explain my so called, singing students, that first, they need to do the real voice repair, coupled with the natural herbal and, sometimes, added homeopathic treatment. They need to learn how not to kill their singing voice with the wrong application of their speaking voice and concurrently heal the flora of their throats. And lastly, now, they need to learn how to sing without the abuse of their vocal anatomy and their health in general. Statistically speaking, lately, 98% of my singing clients do need a voice repair in various degrees and stages. So, singing lessons with a twist, you may wonder? Indeed View full articles
  4. Quite often, I am getting inquires from people who are indicating that they are interested just in regular singing lessons. So, I quote them the price for just singing lessons, not suspecting that they are already having some kind of a voice problem. Usually, they never admit it over the phone or the e-mail, unless they definitely have been already diagnosed, and the hoarse sound of their speaking voice, is very pronounced. However, luckily, some singers with the vocal problems do not have their speaking voice affected. Therefore, when I get them on the phone, sometimes, I cannot even pinpoint that they have any voice issues, as their speaking voice sounds completely normal. Then, they finally arrive to my studio and, after the first 5 minutes, I realize that they have actually enrolled in the wrong course vocal lessons, (instead of a non-surgical voice repair course)! In reality, they needed a voice repair, and big time, in some of the cases. Their vocal technique is completely wrong, as some of them, breathing with their stomachs out, (looking like pregnant ballerinas and dancers. LOL), throwing the sound down to their necks, shoulders and chest while, concurrently, dropping their jaws down to their knees. Not a very pretty picture. Hah! They are scooping the sound from underneath of their vocal anatomy, while gripping their neck really tight. And thus, setting the stage for, minimum to say, a muscle tension dysphonia, or some nasty growth on their vocal cords and on their vocal anatomy overall. We are talking now aboutnodes,nodules, polyps, cysts and even lesions, to name a few. Meanwhile, right off the bat, they are expecting regular singing lessons! I could compare it to a runner who, unfortunately, acquired a really bad injury on his leg, and who would think that after he applies some analgesic cream on a sore spot, he will be able to run marathons with no problems, not really fixing his actual problem first. Go figure! So now, the challenge is to explain my so called, singing students, that first, they need to do the real voice repair, coupled with the natural herbal and, sometimes, added homeopathic treatment. They need to learn how not to kill their singing voice with the wrong application of their speaking voice and concurrently heal the flora of their throats. And lastly, now, they need to learn how to sing without the abuse of their vocal anatomy and their health in general. Statistically speaking, lately, 98% of my singing clients do need a voice repair in various degrees and stages. So, singing lessons with a twist, you may wonder? Indeed
  5. I have been teaching and repairing voices for many years now. I have taught actors, professional media personnel, voice-over speakers, fitness instructors, and, of course, singers of all calibers. To survive in those described above professions, you need a strong voice, a voice which will never let down its user. Those people's livelihood directly depends on the strength, lose their voice, their livelihood would be very much so in jeopardy. health and command of their voices. If the person, of any of the described above professions, would damage and/or Over the years, I've fixed the voices of quite well-known radio and TV personnel, public speakers, pastors, worship leaders, to name a few. All of them needed their voice back to the normal operational state and as soon as possible! So there was no time to just speak about it or feed them with promises of a future recovery I had to go to the action and to act upon their matter right away! These people were desperate, as they were literally losing their jobs and their passion and zest for life. Some of them just had to restore their speaking voice; some - their singing voice; but others had to restore both. I cannot describe the emotional, physical, and mental impact the damaged voice had on those sufferers. The voice is our main tool for communication. It reflects on the state of our being and actually identifies who we are. When the voice is damaged, the in-congruency between who that person is in reality and what he/she is able to express, makes the whole matter devastating. The voice sufferer ultimately loses his/her known, to them, identity. When the voice damage occurs, the surrounding people now have difficulty to assess the person in front of them due to verbal communication breakdown. The person with the voice problem becomes, understandably, less communicative due to the difficulty of speech and constant tiredness of their voice. When they happen to be in a loud environment, they nearly become mute, as they intuitively feel that if they tried to speak, and on top of it loud, they might push their voice the last time and lose whatever is left of their sound. So, in not so many words, it is a real tragedy and practical help should be on its way immediately. A lot of voice practitioners, speech therapists, vocal coaches like to theorize about it, but the clock is ticking and every day is counting, especially for those who have to return back to their everyday lives, not to mention, their speaking and/or singing career. Now voice repair hands-on-experience should take place. Majority of people, especially with growth on their vocal cords like nodules, polyps, lesions etc., do not want right away jump onto the operating table. They are usually looking for alternative ways to solve their vocal problems. Now, I the non-surgical voice repair specialist have to go into action, along with my client, as it takes two to tango, so to speak. Both of us, my voice repair client and I, are facing a very tedious syllable-on-syllable, word-on-word instruction, to first fix the speaking voice (it applies to both speakers and singers); and then, to teach a singer how to sing a new way not pushing the sound of their voice down to their throat by virtue of dropping the jaw almost down to the knee, and also not simultaneously sticking the stomach out and pelvis forward. Those actions described above would, nevertheless, help to kill anybody's voice on a root. To recover the voice, the speaking and singing voice application has to change completely. To accomplish this, I have to practically use a Pavlovian conditioning method and virtually re-teach the psyche and the human anatomy a completely different behavior, which also falls in the science of neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). So it is a complex endeavour and it cannot be treated lightly. There is indeed no time to just speak about it; there is a lot of mental, physical, emotional and vocal work to be done, and in practice, not in theory. Our device: We don't speak, We do! And we make it happen in all cases where it is possible! View full articles
  6. I have been teaching and repairing voices for many years now. I have taught actors, professional media personnel, voice-over speakers, fitness instructors, and, of course, singers of all calibers. To survive in those described above professions, you need a strong voice, a voice which will never let down its user. Those people's livelihood directly depends on the strength, lose their voice, their livelihood would be very much so in jeopardy. health and command of their voices. If the person, of any of the described above professions, would damage and/or Over the years, I've fixed the voices of quite well-known radio and TV personnel, public speakers, pastors, worship leaders, to name a few. All of them needed their voice back to the normal operational state and as soon as possible! So there was no time to just speak about it or feed them with promises of a future recovery I had to go to the action and to act upon their matter right away! These people were desperate, as they were literally losing their jobs and their passion and zest for life. Some of them just had to restore their speaking voice; some - their singing voice; but others had to restore both. I cannot describe the emotional, physical, and mental impact the damaged voice had on those sufferers. The voice is our main tool for communication. It reflects on the state of our being and actually identifies who we are. When the voice is damaged, the in-congruency between who that person is in reality and what he/she is able to express, makes the whole matter devastating. The voice sufferer ultimately loses his/her known, to them, identity. When the voice damage occurs, the surrounding people now have difficulty to assess the person in front of them due to verbal communication breakdown. The person with the voice problem becomes, understandably, less communicative due to the difficulty of speech and constant tiredness of their voice. When they happen to be in a loud environment, they nearly become mute, as they intuitively feel that if they tried to speak, and on top of it loud, they might push their voice the last time and lose whatever is left of their sound. So, in not so many words, it is a real tragedy and practical help should be on its way immediately. A lot of voice practitioners, speech therapists, vocal coaches like to theorize about it, but the clock is ticking and every day is counting, especially for those who have to return back to their everyday lives, not to mention, their speaking and/or singing career. Now voice repair hands-on-experience should take place. Majority of people, especially with growth on their vocal cords like nodules, polyps, lesions etc., do not want right away jump onto the operating table. They are usually looking for alternative ways to solve their vocal problems. Now, I the non-surgical voice repair specialist have to go into action, along with my client, as it takes two to tango, so to speak. Both of us, my voice repair client and I, are facing a very tedious syllable-on-syllable, word-on-word instruction, to first fix the speaking voice (it applies to both speakers and singers); and then, to teach a singer how to sing a new way not pushing the sound of their voice down to their throat by virtue of dropping the jaw almost down to the knee, and also not simultaneously sticking the stomach out and pelvis forward. Those actions described above would, nevertheless, help to kill anybody's voice on a root. To recover the voice, the speaking and singing voice application has to change completely. To accomplish this, I have to practically use a Pavlovian conditioning method and virtually re-teach the psyche and the human anatomy a completely different behavior, which also falls in the science of neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). So it is a complex endeavour and it cannot be treated lightly. There is indeed no time to just speak about it; there is a lot of mental, physical, emotional and vocal work to be done, and in practice, not in theory. Our device: We don't speak, We do! And we make it happen in all cases where it is possible!
  7. Let's suppose you have a car, and you know how to drive it. Does it mean that you also know how to teach driving, or how to fix the car if it's broken? The answer is - not necessarily. You could be a very good driver, but when it comes to fixing the car, you probably would need a certified/professional car mechanic who specializes in technical issues of the matter. In fact, when my child reached 16, she asked me to teach her how to drive, and pointed out that a lot of parents do exactly that. My response to her was; My dear daughter, I definitely know how to drive, but you will not pay me a million dollars to teach you how to drive. I will leave it to a professional who would make sure that you will go on the road, won't kill anybody and, yourself, come back in one piece. Similarly, when somebody claims to be a vocal coach, it should not be assumed that this person also knows how to fix the voice issue/problem, if such occurs. However, I have received quite a few obvious Voice Repair clients from various vocal coaches who were desperately trying to fix someone's voice, having no idea how to even approach it. Moreover, they used the conventional approach to voice mechanics, which is, in the first place, not very beneficial to a human's vocal anatomy. The conventional vocal coaching suggests you to drop the jaw down and stick the stomach out, which could be very detrimental to the vocal health. In that instance, the voice gets drowned very low in its position and it pressures upon the components of the vocal anatomy and thus produces the strained vocal cords and abused larynx. All of the above on its own could lead to growth on the vocal cords, (nodes, nodules, polyps), or even to a muscle tension dysphonia or spasmodic dysphonia. In my book, Vocal Science Flight to the Universe, I have a chapter which is called, How not to become a singer and work harder at doing it. That pretty much describes the 'methodics' of the conventional pedagogy, or the lack thereof. So let's analyze this: If the conventional approach to voice mechanics could actually be harmful to the human anatomy, how could it fix the already occurred vocal damage, which was caused, most likely, by that very approach or, perhaps, by the sufferer's own experimentation's? Sounds like an oxymoron, doesn't it? It does, as evidently, it is the fact and it is true. So, whatever you do, please separate the ingredients, so to speak. If you need to learn something, find a teaching guru. If you need to fix something, find the top mechanic and truly, it has to be a voice technician, who specializes in the field of VoiceRepair. View full articles
  8. Let's suppose you have a car, and you know how to drive it. Does it mean that you also know how to teach driving, or how to fix the car if it's broken? The answer is - not necessarily. You could be a very good driver, but when it comes to fixing the car, you probably would need a certified/professional car mechanic who specializes in technical issues of the matter. In fact, when my child reached 16, she asked me to teach her how to drive, and pointed out that a lot of parents do exactly that. My response to her was; My dear daughter, I definitely know how to drive, but you will not pay me a million dollars to teach you how to drive. I will leave it to a professional who would make sure that you will go on the road, won't kill anybody and, yourself, come back in one piece. Similarly, when somebody claims to be a vocal coach, it should not be assumed that this person also knows how to fix the voice issue/problem, if such occurs. However, I have received quite a few obvious Voice Repair clients from various vocal coaches who were desperately trying to fix someone's voice, having no idea how to even approach it. Moreover, they used the conventional approach to voice mechanics, which is, in the first place, not very beneficial to a human's vocal anatomy. The conventional vocal coaching suggests you to drop the jaw down and stick the stomach out, which could be very detrimental to the vocal health. In that instance, the voice gets drowned very low in its position and it pressures upon the components of the vocal anatomy and thus produces the strained vocal cords and abused larynx. All of the above on its own could lead to growth on the vocal cords, (nodes, nodules, polyps), or even to a muscle tension dysphonia or spasmodic dysphonia. In my book, Vocal Science Flight to the Universe, I have a chapter which is called, How not to become a singer and work harder at doing it. That pretty much describes the 'methodics' of the conventional pedagogy, or the lack thereof. So let's analyze this: If the conventional approach to voice mechanics could actually be harmful to the human anatomy, how could it fix the already occurred vocal damage, which was caused, most likely, by that very approach or, perhaps, by the sufferer's own experimentation's? Sounds like an oxymoron, doesn't it? It does, as evidently, it is the fact and it is true. So, whatever you do, please separate the ingredients, so to speak. If you need to learn something, find a teaching guru. If you need to fix something, find the top mechanic and truly, it has to be a voice technician, who specializes in the field of VoiceRepair.
  9. folks, if you haven't seen this video and you want to sing "steve perry like" (lighter registration) please check this out. this really was explained in such a way it really hits home. especially if you tend to sing on the heavier side, this is a good watch.
  10. About Semi-Occluded Workouts Vs. Vocal Warm ups This article is about a specific kind of vocal warm up exercises. These kinds of workouts are called semi-occluded vocal tract postures. They are popular with singing techniques and with voice therapists. Their purpose are three-fold, as I have come to know them at The Vocalist Studio: Create More Efficient Phonation And Balance They balance the sub-glottal and super-glottal air pressure (above and below) the vocal folds and thus help the singer to create more efficient phonation and balance with the increased velocity of air required for singing. Inherently, speech vocal mode is not efficient compared to phonations used in singing, so the semi-occluded vocal tract exercises increase the efficiency of the relationship between the singer's respiration and vocal folds. Seamless Passage From Lower - To Higher Vocal Registers Semi-occluded vocal tract exercises establish a resonant track. They help the singer to get into a seamless passage through the vocal bridges (breaks), thus preparing the voice for good bridging from the lower vocal registers to the higher registers, namely, (chest to head voice). Lift The Voice Into Healthy "Top Down Phonation" They lift the voice out of what we call at The Vocalist Studio, bottom-up phonation into more healthy and successful top-down phonation. It excites the resonators (mouth, nose, sinuses), gets the overtone production placed in the mask and removes throaty singing. Summary This essay first published December 11, 2009 on The Modern Vocalist.com the Internet's #1 community for vocal professionals, voice health practitioners and pro-audio companies worldwide since November 2008.
  11. About Semi-Occluded Workouts Vs. Vocal Warm ups This article is about a specific kind of vocal warm up exercises. These kinds of workouts are called semi-occluded vocal tract postures. They are popular with singing techniques and with voice therapists. Their purpose are three-fold, as I have come to know them at The Vocalist Studio: Create More Efficient Phonation And Balance They balance the sub-glottal and super-glottal air pressure (above and below) the vocal folds and thus help the singer to create more efficient phonation and balance with the increased velocity of air required for singing. Inherently, speech vocal mode is not efficient compared to phonations used in singing, so the semi-occluded vocal tract exercises increase the efficiency of the relationship between the singer's respiration and vocal folds. Seamless Passage From Lower - To Higher Vocal Registers Semi-occluded vocal tract exercises establish a resonant track. They help the singer to get into a seamless passage through the vocal bridges (breaks), thus preparing the voice for good bridging from the lower vocal registers to the higher registers, namely, (chest to head voice). Lift The Voice Into Healthy "Top Down Phonation" They lift the voice out of what we call at The Vocalist Studio, bottom-up phonation into more healthy and successful top-down phonation. It excites the resonators (mouth, nose, sinuses), gets the overtone production placed in the mask and removes throaty singing. Summary This essay first published December 11, 2009 on The Modern Vocalist.com the Internet's #1 community for vocal professionals, voice health practitioners and pro-audio companies worldwide since November 2008. View full articles
  12. Can you use it and not lose it? As you may know from experience, powerful singing is a style that seems plagued by its own punishment - strain, hoarseness, laryngitis, throat discomfort, loss of upper range, or a frequent need to "clear your throat." Severe cases may result in nodes (calluses on the inner rims of vocal folds) or polyps (blisters on the tops or undersides of the vocal folds), which are painful and may restrict your singing. Metal and Rock singers often have the attitude that training will make them sound too pretty. So not knowing what else to do, they bash and trash their voice resulting in canceled gigs, recording sessions or whole tours. Does singing powerfully automatically mean that you'll wreck your voice? The good news is that it's not what sounds you make, but how you make them that will save your voice! Through over 40 years of my own vocal performance, and over 30 years of vocal research and coaching others, I've found there are techniques that allow you to sing any style you want and without the bad effects. Vocal Blow-Out Vocal blow-out stems from both external and internal conditions. The main external conditions are: late hours, insufficient rest, bad nutrition, alcohol, drugs, smoky clubs, PA and monitor problems, incorrect microphone design for your voice, and competing with band volume. The key factor, however, is internal: improper use of your vocal instrument when singing powerfully. To scope this out and get a handle on it, an understanding of your instrument is necessary. Vocal Basics Vocal sound, as you may already know, is the result of the vibration of your vocal folds (often called "vocal cords" but they're not cords; they're folds and that's their actual name). The inside of your throat has two vertical tubes; one positioned in front of the other. The tube in front is for air (trachea), while the one for swallowing food (esophagus) runs behind it, more in the center of your throat. Your two vocal folds are positioned just behind your Adam's apple and lie horizontally across the inside of your trachea. They are coated with mucous membrane and come equipped with their own tuning pegs, which are connected to the back ends of the folds. The folds remain open during regular breathing. But for every sound you make, their tuning pegs automatically pivot and close the folds so they are lying rim to rim next to each other. With each sound you decide to make, the muscles of the folds prepare and adjust by stretching, thinning and shortening the length of the rim that will vibrate. Higher pitches require less air for the folds to stretch, thin out and a shorter length of them to vibrate. For low notes, the reverse is true. The principle involved is similar to fretting the strings on a guitar: a shorter length and thinner string gives faster vibrations and higher pitches; a fatter string and longer length gives slower vibrations and lower pitches. Examining the Problem To produce vocal sound, air is released from your lungs and vibrates your stretched and closed vocal folds. If you push too much air up against and through the folds, too much pressure is created. The muscles of your folds will tighten, your throat muscles tense, and your problems begin. Many singers unconsciously associate tension with big emotion and hard singing. For your sound to be big, just the opposite is needed. The louder and harder your sound, the more resonance is needed. If your throat and tongue tighten or your mouth closes, you shut down your acoustic chamber and there goes the resonance. The stress created by the push of excess air pressure and muscle tension can cause an irritation and swelling of your folds. The result is usually: hoarseness, power loss, range shrinkage, and other difficulties, including a strained and off pitch-voice. I work with several techniques that permit powerful singing while eliminating the risk of vocal blow-out. While all the techniques aren't possible to fully detail in this short article, you'll find it helpful to apply the following. Self Test Try saying the word "how." Put extra emphasis on the "H" as you do so. Now sing the word in the same way. Notice how emphasizing the "H" makes your throat feel and your voice sound. Sing the word again, and this time, as you sustain the tone, form the "W." Decide if you like this outcome. Now try singing it with minimal air on the "H" and instead, emphasizing the "O" (which will sound more like an "Ah" when you sing it). Notice the result. This should feel and sound better. Vowel sounds result from the vibration of your vocal folds. Consonants are created with an exhaled air stream and are formed by your mouth. If you emphasize consonants when you sing, it will push out too much air and tense the muscles in your throat and mouth. This makes it difficult for your voice to work well and you may find yourself tightening throat and tongue muscles in an effort to hit the note. This stress and strain will choke off your sound killing resonance, cause you to go off pitch or miss the note entirely, run into register break and at the very least will result in vocal fatigue. The problem usually magnifies as you sing higher and louder. Vowels, worked with correctly, will relax the acoustic chamber of your throat and mouth and increase your volume through resonance. Consonants should not be shaped at the same moment as you sing the note/vowel. They will crush your sound and tighten your vocal muscles. Let the vowels take the spotlight. Putting this to Use Go through a song you find challenging, as follows: 1) First sing the melody of the song through using the vowel Ah. Pronounce it naturally, and focus on singing the same pronunciation for each pitch. With the Ah, sing the melody very smoothly, note to note. 2) Now sing the song through using the lyrics and note any changes. 3) Next, talk through the lyrics and notice the sound of each vowel. Maintaining this awareness, sing the song. Be aware that the pronunciation of many vowels, when sung, is often different than the spelling. (eg. "I" is often pronounced more like "Ah." "Say" uses more of an "Eh" than an "A" sound.) 4) If you run into any trouble spots, chances are you're pushing and closing your mouth on the consonants that begin or end the word, while simultaneously singing the vowel. 5) Sing that word or phrase again, focusing on the vowel and letting the consonant(s) take a secondary role. 6) On any melody note that you sustain, such as at the end of a phrase, notice; are you closing your mouth prematurely simultaneously ending the word, or are you letting the vowel sound sustain? Try it both ways and decide which you like better. Practicing with this new awareness may at first take some extra thought. But it soon becomes second nature, while your sound is enhanced and singing the way you want becomes easier! You will find more information and the exercises you need for powerful singing in my book and CD course: The Contemporary Vocalist. This essay first published April 22, 2009 on The Modern Vocalist.com the Internet's #1 community for vocal professionals, voice health practitioners and pro-audio companies worldwide since November 2008. View full articles
  13. Can you use it and not lose it? As you may know from experience, powerful singing is a style that seems plagued by its own punishment - strain, hoarseness, laryngitis, throat discomfort, loss of upper range, or a frequent need to "clear your throat." Severe cases may result in nodes (calluses on the inner rims of vocal folds) or polyps (blisters on the tops or undersides of the vocal folds), which are painful and may restrict your singing. Metal and Rock singers often have the attitude that training will make them sound too pretty. So not knowing what else to do, they bash and trash their voice resulting in canceled gigs, recording sessions or whole tours. Does singing powerfully automatically mean that you'll wreck your voice? The good news is that it's not what sounds you make, but how you make them that will save your voice! Through over 40 years of my own vocal performance, and over 30 years of vocal research and coaching others, I've found there are techniques that allow you to sing any style you want and without the bad effects. Vocal Blow-Out Vocal blow-out stems from both external and internal conditions. The main external conditions are: late hours, insufficient rest, bad nutrition, alcohol, drugs, smoky clubs, PA and monitor problems, incorrect microphone design for your voice, and competing with band volume. The key factor, however, is internal: improper use of your vocal instrument when singing powerfully. To scope this out and get a handle on it, an understanding of your instrument is necessary. Vocal Basics Vocal sound, as you may already know, is the result of the vibration of your vocal folds (often called "vocal cords" but they're not cords; they're folds and that's their actual name). The inside of your throat has two vertical tubes; one positioned in front of the other. The tube in front is for air (trachea), while the one for swallowing food (esophagus) runs behind it, more in the center of your throat. Your two vocal folds are positioned just behind your Adam's apple and lie horizontally across the inside of your trachea. They are coated with mucous membrane and come equipped with their own tuning pegs, which are connected to the back ends of the folds. The folds remain open during regular breathing. But for every sound you make, their tuning pegs automatically pivot and close the folds so they are lying rim to rim next to each other. With each sound you decide to make, the muscles of the folds prepare and adjust by stretching, thinning and shortening the length of the rim that will vibrate. Higher pitches require less air for the folds to stretch, thin out and a shorter length of them to vibrate. For low notes, the reverse is true. The principle involved is similar to fretting the strings on a guitar: a shorter length and thinner string gives faster vibrations and higher pitches; a fatter string and longer length gives slower vibrations and lower pitches. Examining the Problem To produce vocal sound, air is released from your lungs and vibrates your stretched and closed vocal folds. If you push too much air up against and through the folds, too much pressure is created. The muscles of your folds will tighten, your throat muscles tense, and your problems begin. Many singers unconsciously associate tension with big emotion and hard singing. For your sound to be big, just the opposite is needed. The louder and harder your sound, the more resonance is needed. If your throat and tongue tighten or your mouth closes, you shut down your acoustic chamber and there goes the resonance. The stress created by the push of excess air pressure and muscle tension can cause an irritation and swelling of your folds. The result is usually: hoarseness, power loss, range shrinkage, and other difficulties, including a strained and off pitch-voice. I work with several techniques that permit powerful singing while eliminating the risk of vocal blow-out. While all the techniques aren't possible to fully detail in this short article, you'll find it helpful to apply the following. Self Test Try saying the word "how." Put extra emphasis on the "H" as you do so. Now sing the word in the same way. Notice how emphasizing the "H" makes your throat feel and your voice sound. Sing the word again, and this time, as you sustain the tone, form the "W." Decide if you like this outcome. Now try singing it with minimal air on the "H" and instead, emphasizing the "O" (which will sound more like an "Ah" when you sing it). Notice the result. This should feel and sound better. Vowel sounds result from the vibration of your vocal folds. Consonants are created with an exhaled air stream and are formed by your mouth. If you emphasize consonants when you sing, it will push out too much air and tense the muscles in your throat and mouth. This makes it difficult for your voice to work well and you may find yourself tightening throat and tongue muscles in an effort to hit the note. This stress and strain will choke off your sound killing resonance, cause you to go off pitch or miss the note entirely, run into register break and at the very least will result in vocal fatigue. The problem usually magnifies as you sing higher and louder. Vowels, worked with correctly, will relax the acoustic chamber of your throat and mouth and increase your volume through resonance. Consonants should not be shaped at the same moment as you sing the note/vowel. They will crush your sound and tighten your vocal muscles. Let the vowels take the spotlight. Putting this to Use Go through a song you find challenging, as follows: 1) First sing the melody of the song through using the vowel Ah. Pronounce it naturally, and focus on singing the same pronunciation for each pitch. With the Ah, sing the melody very smoothly, note to note. 2) Now sing the song through using the lyrics and note any changes. 3) Next, talk through the lyrics and notice the sound of each vowel. Maintaining this awareness, sing the song. Be aware that the pronunciation of many vowels, when sung, is often different than the spelling. (eg. "I" is often pronounced more like "Ah." "Say" uses more of an "Eh" than an "A" sound.) 4) If you run into any trouble spots, chances are you're pushing and closing your mouth on the consonants that begin or end the word, while simultaneously singing the vowel. 5) Sing that word or phrase again, focusing on the vowel and letting the consonant(s) take a secondary role. 6) On any melody note that you sustain, such as at the end of a phrase, notice; are you closing your mouth prematurely simultaneously ending the word, or are you letting the vowel sound sustain? Try it both ways and decide which you like better. Practicing with this new awareness may at first take some extra thought. But it soon becomes second nature, while your sound is enhanced and singing the way you want becomes easier! You will find more information and the exercises you need for powerful singing in my book and CD course: The Contemporary Vocalist. This essay first published April 22, 2009 on The Modern Vocalist.com the Internet's #1 community for vocal professionals, voice health practitioners and pro-audio companies worldwide since November 2008.
  14. I received a very interesting comment about over-trained singers at my page here on The Modern Vocalist.com: "What I strive for: no two voices are the same. It's that unique strong signature characteristic that separates people who can sing from people who become icons in music. Take Sting for example, not the greatest vocalist, but there's no mistaking that aged husky whimper of his. Technique is important for power and control, but I find that there are too many people sounding too trained. I believe that one should incorporate one's personality into one's sound as much as possible in order to go about creating that strong iconic signature sound that no one else can recreate. Take Chino from Deftones-that guy can't sing a note- but the Deftones wouldn't be anything without him. Same goes for Trent Reznor from Nine inch Nails. I think it's a fine balance between a trained and untrained voice that needs to be found." - Timothy Ian David Lester This is, in fact, why some people think you can know too much about music or voice. They feel that too much musical knowledge can cause a musician or singer to over-think and turn their art... artificial. Actually, sometimes they are right, but only because they are not being taught well, in my humble opinion. The first thing we vocal coaches should do is to interview our new student and find out what his or her vocal and musical goals really are. Do they need to sing classical songs to get into (or through) college with a major in voice? Do they want to sing what they are writing: R&B, country, pop, jazz, hip-hop, alternative? We must know so we don't guide them into a style that is not where their heart is. Yes, people can learn to sing both classical and popular genres, but sometimes the jump can be hard. It's like learning to speak different languages very fluently. Yes, you can do it but it takes time, careful and accurate coaching and exposure to the masters of the musical genres you want to sing to perform multiple genres well. If you want to sing in more than two or three genres (like pro session singers must), this is what I call "stunt singing". Does your student really want to be jack-of-all trades, or do they want to be a master of one? I believe we need to do exactly what Timothy is suggesting: help our clients find their uniqueness. This is what really sets the heart free, and sometimes gives a vocalist a career as a recording and performing artist. It really takes experimentation, a feeling of safety to try new ways of using the voice and feedback from someone with great intuition about how an audience would react to what they are hearing. We want an audience's immediate reaction to be: "Wow what a song, what a delivery of that song!" Not, "Wow, I wonder who this artist's vocal coach is and what method they use?" My favorite artists actually play with their voices, sometimes "de-supporting" for a weak, sensual or sad sound. But when it's time for business, they ramp up all the vocal wisdom they ever learned and deliver such controlled power that we are mesmerized with their song. They scream, use breathy or husky sounds on purpose, but -- and here's the rub -- they NEVER hurt either the listener's ear or their voice. It's like an aural (instead of an optical) illusion. And it comes from being -- you guessed it -- very well trained. A good example is the masterful performance of a great actor. If they are doing what they should, you never even detect the slightest whiff of "acting", do you? But you can bet your bottom dollar that they used top dollar acting teachers to get to the level they are at in their craft. According to her biography, Janis Joplin planned every "impromptu" scream she did. A singer who is serious should be trained by an insightful and wise vocal coach who will train them so well you don't hear "vocal training" when they sing. You hear a song that elicits from you an emotional response. Period. This essay first published August 4, 2009 on The Modern Vocalist.com the Internet's #1 community for vocal professionals, voice health practitioners and pro-audio companies worldwide since November 2008. View full articles
  15. I received a very interesting comment about over-trained singers at my page here on The Modern Vocalist.com: "What I strive for: no two voices are the same. It's that unique strong signature characteristic that separates people who can sing from people who become icons in music. Take Sting for example, not the greatest vocalist, but there's no mistaking that aged husky whimper of his. Technique is important for power and control, but I find that there are too many people sounding too trained. I believe that one should incorporate one's personality into one's sound as much as possible in order to go about creating that strong iconic signature sound that no one else can recreate. Take Chino from Deftones-that guy can't sing a note- but the Deftones wouldn't be anything without him. Same goes for Trent Reznor from Nine inch Nails. I think it's a fine balance between a trained and untrained voice that needs to be found." - Timothy Ian David Lester This is, in fact, why some people think you can know too much about music or voice. They feel that too much musical knowledge can cause a musician or singer to over-think and turn their art... artificial. Actually, sometimes they are right, but only because they are not being taught well, in my humble opinion. The first thing we vocal coaches should do is to interview our new student and find out what his or her vocal and musical goals really are. Do they need to sing classical songs to get into (or through) college with a major in voice? Do they want to sing what they are writing: R&B, country, pop, jazz, hip-hop, alternative? We must know so we don't guide them into a style that is not where their heart is. Yes, people can learn to sing both classical and popular genres, but sometimes the jump can be hard. It's like learning to speak different languages very fluently. Yes, you can do it but it takes time, careful and accurate coaching and exposure to the masters of the musical genres you want to sing to perform multiple genres well. If you want to sing in more than two or three genres (like pro session singers must), this is what I call "stunt singing". Does your student really want to be jack-of-all trades, or do they want to be a master of one? I believe we need to do exactly what Timothy is suggesting: help our clients find their uniqueness. This is what really sets the heart free, and sometimes gives a vocalist a career as a recording and performing artist. It really takes experimentation, a feeling of safety to try new ways of using the voice and feedback from someone with great intuition about how an audience would react to what they are hearing. We want an audience's immediate reaction to be: "Wow what a song, what a delivery of that song!" Not, "Wow, I wonder who this artist's vocal coach is and what method they use?" My favorite artists actually play with their voices, sometimes "de-supporting" for a weak, sensual or sad sound. But when it's time for business, they ramp up all the vocal wisdom they ever learned and deliver such controlled power that we are mesmerized with their song. They scream, use breathy or husky sounds on purpose, but -- and here's the rub -- they NEVER hurt either the listener's ear or their voice. It's like an aural (instead of an optical) illusion. And it comes from being -- you guessed it -- very well trained. A good example is the masterful performance of a great actor. If they are doing what they should, you never even detect the slightest whiff of "acting", do you? But you can bet your bottom dollar that they used top dollar acting teachers to get to the level they are at in their craft. According to her biography, Janis Joplin planned every "impromptu" scream she did. A singer who is serious should be trained by an insightful and wise vocal coach who will train them so well you don't hear "vocal training" when they sing. You hear a song that elicits from you an emotional response. Period. This essay first published August 4, 2009 on The Modern Vocalist.com the Internet's #1 community for vocal professionals, voice health practitioners and pro-audio companies worldwide since November 2008.
  16. A large part of vocal training involves learning vocal control. Without vocal control, any vocal recording will suffer dreadfully. With it, you can do things you can only dream about without it. Another problem with lack of control is that if you are singing with any degree of power, you are going to experience a lot more vocal fatigue and risk damage to your instrument if you sing too long. With it, you can sing all day and not experience vocal strain. Yes, it's true! And a lack of control will cause you and your recording team frustration, or you'll just give up and settle for the best you and they think you can do. Usually, it's a huge waste of time and resources. Live performances are more forgiving of slight control issues, but studio singing requires surgically accurate control. So what am I talking about? For a great recording, you need vocal technique skills that will enable you to: Control volume. (Without it, your engineer will have to use excessive compression to even out volume, control distortion and bring soft sounds up so they can be heard. Some degree of "riding the faders" and compression is normal and usual, but the less the better. The less your vocals need to be compressed, the richer the resulting sound.) Control vocal lics and embellishments. (Without it, you will not be able to sing some vocal lics you attempt; "scats" or phrasing nuances will not "turn" well or flow evenly.) Control vibrato. (Without it, your vibrato will be too much, too little, uneven or inappropriately applied.) Control tone color. (Without it, the tone color of your voice will be too "covered", "hooty", "edgy", harsh, numb and boring or just plain wrong for the message. Your choices of tone of voice will be seriously limited, and your voice will sound small and/or unpleasant.) Control articulation. (Without it, you will over-, or more usually, under- pronounce the lyrics. There are differing degrees of articulation appropriate for different genres and tempos and types of lyrics. Singers must be able to know and apply the proper way to form words for their songs. For instance, blues music is pronounced more slurry. Hip- hop generally has sharper attacks. Pop is usually articulated clearer. Musical theater diction usually needs to be very crisp, but if you try to use this kind of diction in a pop song you will sound fake. But all songs should be understood, or the connection to the audience is not going to be made well.) Control sibilance. (Without this, recording your vocal can be a nightmare because too much sibilance hurts the listener's ears! And fixing excessive "s" sounds with de-"ss'ers always limits the quality of sound. A related problem is the popping of "p"s and other consonants. You must be able to control your consonants even while you clearly form them.) Control dynamic expression. (Without it, you will over-express and sound fake, under-express and bore the listener out of their minds, or bring too many changing emotional levels to the song to sound authentic and really move the heart of your listener. You have to know how to express the emotion of the lyric like a great actor delivering lines that invite an emotional response to the message.) Control the beginnings and ends of each phrase. (Without it, you will have trouble getting the beginning of the line right. You will drop off the ends of your sentences, robbing the listener of the complete thought. You will also find yourself with a lack of other kinds of control of initiating and ending lines, because you didn't set yourself up properly before entering the phrase or you've dropped your controlling support too early.) Control rhythm. (Without it, you will not be singing with the groove. You will be too early, too late or have inappropriate placement of lyrics via the beat. Again, different genres ask for different places the lyric should fit with the beat, but you have to know what your genre norms are and have the ability to sing with the beat that way. For instance, hip-hop usually has the lyric slightly behind the beat, pop usually right on top of it, gospel and big band "Sinatra" types are flexibly in and around the beat, but you really have to sing with a lot of the masters to get this authentically right.) Control pitch. (Without it, your engineer will have to tune the vocal too much, resulting in a mechanistic, artificial sound. You may be so inconsistent and inaccurate that tuning becomes almost impossible, because the tuner "grabs" the wrong pitch or can't draw the lic well enough to sound natural. Your bended notes may be so far off there is no way to make them sound in tune. Fact: The less you have to tune a vocal, the better. Don't get complacent here and think you can just have your engineer fix it in the mix. You'll be unpleasantly surprised.) Can you think of other types of control issues you've found in the studio? Which of these would you like to know more about? This essay first published September 21, 2009 on The Modern Vocalist.com the Internet's #1 community for vocal professionals, voice health practitioners and pro-audio companies worldwide since November 2008. View full articles
  17. A large part of vocal training involves learning vocal control. Without vocal control, any vocal recording will suffer dreadfully. With it, you can do things you can only dream about without it. Another problem with lack of control is that if you are singing with any degree of power, you are going to experience a lot more vocal fatigue and risk damage to your instrument if you sing too long. With it, you can sing all day and not experience vocal strain. Yes, it's true! And a lack of control will cause you and your recording team frustration, or you'll just give up and settle for the best you and they think you can do. Usually, it's a huge waste of time and resources. Live performances are more forgiving of slight control issues, but studio singing requires surgically accurate control. So what am I talking about? For a great recording, you need vocal technique skills that will enable you to: Control volume. (Without it, your engineer will have to use excessive compression to even out volume, control distortion and bring soft sounds up so they can be heard. Some degree of "riding the faders" and compression is normal and usual, but the less the better. The less your vocals need to be compressed, the richer the resulting sound.) Control vocal lics and embellishments. (Without it, you will not be able to sing some vocal lics you attempt; "scats" or phrasing nuances will not "turn" well or flow evenly.) Control vibrato. (Without it, your vibrato will be too much, too little, uneven or inappropriately applied.) Control tone color. (Without it, the tone color of your voice will be too "covered", "hooty", "edgy", harsh, numb and boring or just plain wrong for the message. Your choices of tone of voice will be seriously limited, and your voice will sound small and/or unpleasant.) Control articulation. (Without it, you will over-, or more usually, under- pronounce the lyrics. There are differing degrees of articulation appropriate for different genres and tempos and types of lyrics. Singers must be able to know and apply the proper way to form words for their songs. For instance, blues music is pronounced more slurry. Hip- hop generally has sharper attacks. Pop is usually articulated clearer. Musical theater diction usually needs to be very crisp, but if you try to use this kind of diction in a pop song you will sound fake. But all songs should be understood, or the connection to the audience is not going to be made well.) Control sibilance. (Without this, recording your vocal can be a nightmare because too much sibilance hurts the listener's ears! And fixing excessive "s" sounds with de-"ss'ers always limits the quality of sound. A related problem is the popping of "p"s and other consonants. You must be able to control your consonants even while you clearly form them.) Control dynamic expression. (Without it, you will over-express and sound fake, under-express and bore the listener out of their minds, or bring too many changing emotional levels to the song to sound authentic and really move the heart of your listener. You have to know how to express the emotion of the lyric like a great actor delivering lines that invite an emotional response to the message.) Control the beginnings and ends of each phrase. (Without it, you will have trouble getting the beginning of the line right. You will drop off the ends of your sentences, robbing the listener of the complete thought. You will also find yourself with a lack of other kinds of control of initiating and ending lines, because you didn't set yourself up properly before entering the phrase or you've dropped your controlling support too early.) Control rhythm. (Without it, you will not be singing with the groove. You will be too early, too late or have inappropriate placement of lyrics via the beat. Again, different genres ask for different places the lyric should fit with the beat, but you have to know what your genre norms are and have the ability to sing with the beat that way. For instance, hip-hop usually has the lyric slightly behind the beat, pop usually right on top of it, gospel and big band "Sinatra" types are flexibly in and around the beat, but you really have to sing with a lot of the masters to get this authentically right.) Control pitch. (Without it, your engineer will have to tune the vocal too much, resulting in a mechanistic, artificial sound. You may be so inconsistent and inaccurate that tuning becomes almost impossible, because the tuner "grabs" the wrong pitch or can't draw the lic well enough to sound natural. Your bended notes may be so far off there is no way to make them sound in tune. Fact: The less you have to tune a vocal, the better. Don't get complacent here and think you can just have your engineer fix it in the mix. You'll be unpleasantly surprised.) Can you think of other types of control issues you've found in the studio? Which of these would you like to know more about? This essay first published September 21, 2009 on The Modern Vocalist.com the Internet's #1 community for vocal professionals, voice health practitioners and pro-audio companies worldwide since November 2008.