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Vocal Science:
A Singing Lesson for Vocalists.

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Vocal Science - Flight to the Universe

by Diana Yampolsky, a Toronto-based Vocal Coach/Consultant.
(Scroll down for Diana's bio)

In this column, I would like to seriously offer a different approach that will hopefully help you learn how to reach your full potential as a singer. Whenever I conduct one of my educational seminars, I always start by saying to the audience that I did not come here to prove anybody wrong or to prove myself right; I came to offer something different and you can accept it or reject it. And on that note, I would like to talk about two things that may at first seem different or even rather conflicting in nature: Science and Spirituality. Your first response may be something along the lines of "I hated science in high school" or "I sing rock music not gospel." Therefore, I would like to invite you to open your mind and entertain the possibility of seeing yourself and your voice in a completely different way.

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I call my method of vocal instruction Vocal Science because I believe that I have developed a proven scientific method of producing sound, as well as the best possible vocal performance. The first point to recognize is that sound is a physical material body and it travels as such upon the laws of physics and geometry. The second point is that you can compare your body to a very complex, high-level computer, where your anatomy and physiology represent the hardware. As you probably know, software is an algorithm, essentially a set of instructions, and hardware is useless unless you have the proper software running on it. Your brain is like a computer's CPU and everything you do, (i.e. walking, talking, eating), is essentially the process of running software. The act of singing works the same way, and your voice is the output resulting from your physical hardware and your software, i.e. training or lack thereof.

Unfortunately, we cannot simply drive to Radio Shack and buy the software that will make us a great singer (or painter, or athlete or doctor). We acquire our software through learning. There are two ways you can learn: through your own experience or by having someone teach you. When I start instructing students, I not only have to give them the proper program, but I have to DEBUG or UNINSTALL the previous software or deal with a "VIRUS" on their system that they have somehow caught. Then through the method of visualization and special exercises we can access the cell in the speech center of your brain, (Broca’s Area), which is responsible for the voice, (singing and speaking), and input the instructions that will allow it to do exactly what we want it to.

In almost a quarter century of teaching, I have discovered that there are four components that make up the mechanism which allows your voice to reach its fullest capacity:

  • Physical Support of your body,
  • Structure,
  • Placement of the sound and,
  • as a final outcome, the projection of the sound to its aimed destination.
Complying with these components will guarantee that there is no pain or strain on your vocal anatomy. There is one thing that sets human beings apart from complex machines running algorithms: our spirits. In many ways, singing is a lot like the martial arts. Most Martial Arts are not only techniques for fighting or self-defense, but are also philosophies of how to live your life. They consist of good technique and a spiritual component. I approach singing in the same way. Good technique is the basis upon which a singer's spirit is free to soar. It is your spirit (along with your completely individual physical body, i.e. no two people have the exact same DNA) that makes you different from anyone else and makes you unique. (Why try to sound like Celine Dion or Mick Jagger. The world already has one of each.) Only when you sing with proper technique are you able to project a voice that is purely yours and reflects your INDIVIDUAL self. It is your spirit that separates a technically good performance from one that is truly authentic. Many of my past and present students have not only developed good technique but have improved in all aspects of their life or have changed their lifestyle completely. They are healthier, more positive, and more fulfilled.

The process of learning proper balance for singing will result in more balance in your life. Conversely, a singer with incorrect technique cannot give a truly special performance because their spirit, (voice), is inhibited by "bugs" or "viruses" in their software. Many people come to me, dying to express their emotions through their voice. I help them to discover and uncover it and let it soar. The congruency of the physical sound and the emotional rapport with the audience produces the desired total performance, i.e. combination of technical skill and artistic merit.

Vocal Science is at its most basic an alignment of the subconscious mind, conscious mind, and the physical body, which are then put into total integration and synergy with each other. This is the formula for the ideal vocal performance. By using specially designed exercises with the appropriate repetition, you can program your mind so that when you sing, you will perform many of the technical aspects of singing subconsciously. Seventy-five per cent of your performance will come out on automatic pilot and you will need only a small amount of conscious effort to put your performance in place. Your physical body is the condition of your hardware; your spirit is the individual intangible that will make your voice and performance something that is unique and reflective of your state of being. The release of your spirit into the performance of a song is dependent upon using the correct technique.

The act of singing is then a combination of good technique and individual identity. I have titled this book to reflect my belief that a scientific approach to vocal instruction is what will allow your voice (i.e. spirit) to take flight and soar. I expand upon these ideas in my aptly titled book, Vocal Science – Flight to the Universe. You can also learn more at my website, www.vocalscience.com.

Diana Yampolsky is a Toronto-based Vocal Coach/Consultant/Voice Repair Specialist. She is the creator of the Vocal ScienceTM Program, which has been designed to achieve Accelerated Vocal Development and guarantees to turn a beginner into a professional singer in a matter of hours. This technique focuses on the idea that the voice is an expression of the emotional, physical and spiritual state of the person singing and Diana therefore works not just on the voice but on the performer as a whole. The Royans School for the Musical Performing Arts (http://www.vocalscience.com) specializes in Accelerated Artist Development, including Vocal Coaching/Consulting, In Studio Vocal Production Expertise, Style Identification & Differentiation, Voice Repair and Psychology of Performance.

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