Adele and the Stigma of Vocal Injury

Adele and the Stigma of Vocal Injury

Good morning all you beautiful singers/teachers of singing! It is going to be another hot summer day here in the northeast, and that's just how summer is supposed to be! I love it. Summer is my favorite time of year. You can have all the winters you want, but please don't take my summer away!

We started the summer off right by traveling to Puerto Rico a couple of weeks ago for a much needed 7 day/7 night vacation. I tell you those beaches, the palm trees, the food, the music and the lovely people of that gorgeous island are something I will remember, especially on cold days that will inevitably return later on this year. Puerto Rico is a magical place to be. I know there are many political problems and financial problems there, but for the most part the people of the island seem happy. Must be the weather!

Ok, I've talked enough about the weather and our P.R. trip. It's time to get to the business of singing.

I have resisted talking about Adele and her recent vocal injury mostly because it is a topic that seemingly every vocal coach has covered or commented on in a FaceBook post, a blog or even a youtube video. As a huge Adele fan I found most of the comments were less than kind, some downright mean and others seemingly from self-righteous sounding vocal pedagogues claiming he or she had the answers to all of Adele's problems. Dr Gupta writes about this in the article I am sharing here.

Personally I applaud Adele for being so open about her vocal challenges and not trying to hide it or cover it up. What happened to this great artist could happen to any professional singer who is out on the road night after night, sleeping in hotel rooms that thousands of other people have slept in, flying on planes that circulate dirty, filthy air, eating food from restaurants that may or may not be sanitary, doing interview after interview in every town they perform in, and trying desperately to maintain a level of singing that sounds exactly like the recording of the artist's latest or past hits.

I found this article by noted laryngologist Dr. Renee Gupta and wanted to share it as it truly shines a light on the stigma of vocal injury.

http://www.ohniww.org/adele-voice-injury-canceled-concerts/

 

Adele and the Stigma of Vocal Injury | Los Angeles ENT Doctors ENT Specialists Top Surgeons

When I heard about Adele cancelling the last two performances of her tour, I felt profound sadness for her. I know how hard she has worked to endure injury,…

OHNIWW.ORG

Testimonial from a professional singer

From Georgia Carr 

singer/songwriter and recording artist

 

I consider myself to be one of the happiest singers in the world right now!  I am so delighted and deeply grateful that I have found such an amazing singing coach and mentor in Jeffrey Alani Stanfill.  So far I have had twelve transformational singing lessons with Jeff and I am singing for joy that my voice is back, stronger and more beautiful than ever.  

 

As a teacher, Jeff has an extraordinary blend of passion, experience, sensitivity and lightheartedness.  He is a veritable encyclopaedia of techniques and practices to help strengthen and support one’s natural voice.  His generosity in sharing everything he knows is amazing.

 

Together with his depth and breadth of understanding about how the voice works, how to keep the vocal chords healthy, and breathing practices to support you in your singing, I have thoroughly enjoyed every moment of my lessons and practices in between.  Because I live in Australia I have lessons via Skype which works brilliantly for me.  I record each session too so I can practice with those particular exercises throughout the week.

 

In 2015 after 9 months of losing my voice due a virus which caused pneumonia, thyroiditis and then laryngitis my vocal cords were in a terrible mess and my singing voice was very weak and unreliable.  

 

In 2016 my voice is completely healed and is soaring again.  I feel confident to sing my heart out effortlessly, and my range is both higher and lower than before.  Also my understanding of what I need to do to keep my voice healthy has broadened enormously through my coaching lessons with Jeff.  

 

I couldn’t recommend Jeff more highly.  His extraordinary skill, warmth, generosity and integrity shine through every lesson, and I am profoundly grateful to have found him, and privileged to be learning so much from him.  Thank you Jeff!

Understanding Compression for Singing

Good morning all of you beautiful singers/teachers of singing. It's a cold, cloudy day here in the the northeast, so what better time to learn more about the voice and some awesome Voice Soaring tips! The picture you see here was taken at my studio home in New York at the Ripley Grier Studios. I have been teaching there for 18 years and am so fortunate to teach so many amazingly talented singers at that studio. In the picture attached you see my lovely student Bijou using an old fashioned toy called the Floating Ball Game. I was first informed about this fun little toy by my dear friend, student and fellow vocal coach Ruth Ratliff. I remember Ruth coming to a lesson one day with the Floating Ball Game for me to try out. I was amazed at how much abdominal effort was required to get that little ball to float! At first I couldn't get it to stay in one position, and it (the ball) would either go flying off to the other side of the room from too much air pressure, or would simply drop on the ground. Once I found just the right amount of air pressure, I was able to make the ball go up, spin in one position and then gently come down to the holder. I began taking this little device to voice lessons to let my students try it out. Each of them had the same challenges I had and each noticed how much abdominal control it took to get the ball to float! I asked them where they felt the resistance in their abdominals, and without fail everyone of them pointed to the center of their abdominal muscles just below the diaphragm. These are the same muscles that we use to control the stream of breath for singing and especially for holding a high note. These are also the muscles that create "compression" for singing. I am currently in the pre-production stages of a video for my YouTube channel which will cover as much of what I know/understand and teach about compression. So stay tuned! Until then, you can find the Floating Ball Toy on Amazon.com for anywhere from $3.00-$8.00. It's a fun and will really work those abdominals so necessary for the sustaining notes! Peace and harmony to you all! Jeff

 

Dropping Vocal Weight and Reducing Breath Pressure for a free easy Singing Voice

 Hello everyone! Fall is here, and the smell of pine cones and pumpkin spice lattes from Starbucks are in the air. Our favorite Christmas tree "pop up store" just received their annual delivery of freshly cut spruces and pines for purchase from folks like me anxious to decorate them for the upcoming holidays!
I just came from my morning workout at the gym where I desperately tried to put in an extra hour to prepare for the onslaught of turkey, stuffing, Pecan pies, egg nog and all the wonderful things I strive to avoid (sometimes failing miserably!) the rest of the year next week.
My biggest struggle this time of year is trying to avoid gaining weight! Can YOU relate to my struggles? If you are a singer in any capacity, it is a very high likelihood that you struggle with weight gain as well. I don't know what it is about us singer's and having a propensity for gaining weight, but it seems to be one of the occupational hazards of being a singer!
But body weight is not the “weight” I'm talking about in this post but rather vocal weight, how it affects the voice negatively and how to reduce it!
One of the things my vocal coach Maestro David Jones noticed about my voice in those first lessons with him in 1999 was that I sang with a tremendous amount of vocal weight, especially through the passaggio area between Eb4 and F#4. Years of incorrect vocal production forced me to sing with an unhealthy amount of breath pressure, which in turn closed my throat to such a degree that I literally had to push the breath through those notes to squeak out anything above the staff in the tenor range. The result of this constant pushing was an unnatural thickening of the vocal folds.
One of the exercises that helped the most in reducing not only breath pressure, but the thickening of the folds was the two octave Vocé Cuperto. This phenomenal exercise which is featured prominently in my instructional DVD/CD called “Let Your Voice Soar” began working it's magic almost immediately.
One of the key components of this amazing exercise is the fact that it balances the breath pressure between the bottom note and the top note in such a way that it becomes almost impossible to push breath pressure to achieve it. Maestro Jones gave me homework after those first lessons and said to me "I recommend you do this exercise often throughout the day!" Because my voice took to the exercise so quickly, I had no problem applying this to my daily vocal work out. In a few weeks I noticed that there was a lot more ease in my overall vocal production. I still had a challenge getting through the upper passaggio notes, but the challenge became less and less with each passing day.
My history of pushing breath pressure through the folds made it difficult for them to close completely. The result was a severe lack of ring or any semblance of resonance in my voice. Maestro Jones soon began introducing exercises designed to create healthy adduction of the vocal folds. This included copious amount of staccato exercises which gave my abdominal muscles quite a workout, but the results were great. I often wonder why I don’t have six pack abs from all of the years of doing vocal exercises which engage them so actively!
It is amazing once you understand that healthy vocal fold adduction and balanced breath pressure go hand in hand. However it is a bit like that question “Which comes first, the chicken, or the the egg?” Do we need to develop healthy vocal fold adduction first in order to develop a balanced breath support system? Or is not the other way around? Actually it’s both at the same time. Vocal exercises focused on developing these key components are immensely important.
I have been so blessed to teach the concepts of the Swedish-Italian school of singing for almost 18 years. I am in constant awe of how quickly the exercises begin to balance the registers of the chest, middle and head voice, reduce breath pressure and thin the vocal folds in such a way that the voice grows on ring, not muscle. Now you can have begin to learn the concepts of the technique with my program called “Let Your Voice Soar” by ordering the digital download from the website: www.voicesoaring.com.
It is now available for 15% off the retail price of $55.00 U.S. Stay tuned for another helpful tutorial in the next few days featuring some of the best staccato exercises I know! ��Happy Singing. Jeff https://youtu.be/fN9yD311e7I…