The History of Vocal Mastery Academy
"Without scientific knowledge my voice collapsed.
Thanks to science, my voice is stronger today in my 60s than in my 40s.”
I discovered that I had a voice. It took me from the highest-level conservatories that music education offers to the highest-level opera houses and concert halls in the world. Happier than ever, I was contracted with the Vienna State Opera, and singing all over Europe! I was learning major roles from the top people Europe had to offer; everyone from Leonard Bernstein, Leonie Rysanek to Margaret Benz.
But singing everyday without knowing how my voice functioned was the tragedy of my singing career. I was being coached all day and performing at night. I was being criticized constantly, and I was taking all of the criticism personally. Although I had the voice, I did not have the emotional stamina and the technical vocal knowledge required to sustain such a demanding career.
In the middle of my career, the voice began to deteriorate. I was losing the entire upper octave. My low notes were disappearing. The volume and intensity decreased to such levels that sustaining a pitch or a phrase was close to impossible. Breaks and cracks in certain areas of my range were evident; An indescribable tension lived in the throat and neck areas any time I sang for even a few minutes. Fear began to take over and any confidence I had disappeared. I ran out all my contracts and embarked on the most challenging part of this career of mine.
But what became the worst moment of my career became the best moment of my life. On an emotional level, I began to realize that criticism I was receiving wasn’t about me as a person. It was about what I was doing - acting, singing, etc. The person giving criticism didn’t know who I was - what country I came from; where I lived, if I had a family, dogs cats. I realized that in taking the criticism personally, I was literally choking my voice.
On a technical level, I set out on the road to repair and rebuild. I began by studying my father’s medical books. My father was a retired otolaryngologist/ear, nose, and throat surgeon, and he told me that no one who had not studied or known about the application of vocal production could help me. In other words, he did not know how to repair or fix a damaged voice!
So, I delved into the world of medical research. I learned the scientific facts about the breathing and vocal apparatus and began to see what Dad meant. A doctor could help me if I had a sore throat or some other pathological illness but would not have been able to repair tension in my throat or breaks in my voice or find the reason I could not sing that high note!
With years of study and repairs to my own breathing and vocal apparatus, I discovered the road to optimal vocal production. My instrument has totally regained its capabilities. I have control over my breathing and vocal apparatus. I tell it what to do. I do not hope that high note will come out. I do not hope it will function well. I do not wonder whether I can make it through the phrase or if the low note will be heard. I do not blame anything or anyone for its poor production. I now know it produces correctly, because I control what makes it function optimally. The findings of my research gave birth to my book Performance Mode and The 10 Technical Commands to Vocal Mastery TM, found in the original library of Congress.
After re-building my own voice, I wished to pass this knowledge on to others. I set out to create a studio to address the two skills I knew were necessary to endure a demanding career: confidence and healthy vocal technique. Students I teach learn vocal technique rooted in an evidence based system that directly addresses, repairs and builds specific vocal challenges, whether they speak or sing.
Today the Vocal Mastery Academy has students who are on and off Broadway, on TV and in movies from LA to NY. They are contracted with Opera houses, hired to be on nation-wide tours, have top-40 winning songs, recording contracts with Nashville, and are winners of scholarships to universities. They are able to sustain both the physical and emotional demands of careers in the performing arts.
My students who do not perform and have chosen to learn the confidence skills I teach. Their professions vary from doctors, lawyers, chefs, teachers - but all know the value of pursuing their dreams without fear.
There is an exquisite balance between the integrity of emotions and the integrity of technique. The Vocal Mastery Academy aims to prepare both amateur performers and professionals with the appropriate tools, emotionally and technically in order to bring life to the stage and beyond.