Trisha B: Milwaukee, WI USA – Computer Instructor for Holland America Cruises – Case Study –
After 30 hours of the Non-Surgical Voice Repair Course
(No natural herbal/homeopathic treatment had been administered in this case)
Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016 – Day 1
I started my first session, of my 30 hour course, today with Diana and was filled with butterflies about what I was going to be doing and whether or not I could be successful.
I arrived at the house and was greeted with a smile and a hug, was brought into the studio and we chatted for a few minutes getting to know each other, but this was also a time for Diana to assess my situation.
Diana saw right from the beginning that I dropped all of my words too low into my throat and didn’t breathe properly while speaking.
We began with some diction exercises, and I will be honest in saying it sounds much easier than it is in actuality to produce the sounds correctly after 40 years of speaking incorrectly.
Diana was very encouraging in saying that what mistakes I habitually was doing were normal and not just made by me, but most clients with my same vocal issues.
I left this evening both hopeful and anxious as to whether I would actually be successful in learning this. I have seven more days and plan to work hard and do my best, but I am excited also that this is going to be so beneficial.
I work for a cruise line, teaching classes to guests for 6+ hours per day/7 days a week for 4 months at a time. This vocal repair training is critical to my career if I wish to be able to continue doing what I love.
Thursday August 25, 2016 – Day 2
We continued our exercises today and I feel a bit like a dunce. But I’m not a quitter and I do want to succeed. We changed the technique a bit for how I stand and place my hands while practicing, to produce a more consistently correct sound. I can’t yet seem to hear the difference between correct and incorrect sound placement and resonance yet, but again I am retraining decades of incorrect habits. I’m praying for a mental breakthrough to happen. Even in the midst of my own mental frustration Diana has been very encouraging and supportive in assuring me we are learning a process that will translate to real life after I learn the formula that will be the building blocks for all other speech.
Friday and Saturday August 26-27, 2016 – Days 3 & 4
We continued our sessions and in between sessions took some time to enjoy some different venues in the city. It’s nice to play a little in the midst of working hard.
I’m feeling muscles in my face now I never felt before and I am producing correct sounds I think about 50% of the time now.
Diana has me reading a few commercial scripts to practice the drills we’ve been doing and one of the scripts she says others don’t begin in their training sessions. So, I’ve been encouraged that while I’m being really hard on my own self, at this number of training hours I am actually progressing well.
Sunday August 28, 2016 – Day 5
Today I finally had a mental breakthrough after I finished my last session. Not a breakdown, haha, a breakthrough in what I’m supposed to do to produce the sounds correctly. Diana said that the basic sounds from our warm up diction exercises translate to all other words and I am now hearing in my head the drills and how I made those particular sounds, and I am starting to now produce those same sounds in different and new words more consistently. When she says “on top, on top” I have to speak the words a certain way that finally clicked in my head. I haven’t perfected it yet, but I do now get the concept. This is a major breakthrough!! I appreciate so much the professionalism and understanding that Diana has, after so many years of honing her craft, that she is able to see when I don’t understand and change her way of explaining to better fit my learning style. She reads body language and tone very well to understand what I’m thinking before I even know what I’m thinking. That has been very beneficial in this whole process. She also knows by observation when I’m needing a break and we lapse then into conversation. Even this is part of the process as she is getting me to relax or casually observing my progress in normal speech compared to the lessons.
Monday August 29, 2016 – Day 6
Diana had an analogy today that I loved. She said that what she is doing is like teaching me to drive. Just like in driver’s Ed, I have to learn the skills from the instructor and practice them correctly to pass the test. Once I pass the test I then have to go out on the road and learn to drive. What does that mean? She can teach me the technique and I can pass her course, but then it is up to me to keep working it and finessing it until I no longer have to think about the technique consciously. Like a new driver who thinks about “turn your head, the brake is this pedal, place your hands at 10:00 and 2:00” but eventually driving becomes more subconscious, so also will this new technique become more subconscious. It is important to have the right teacher and then that teacher must equip the student to have the confidence to take to the road without them and still drive correctly. I’ve had others make suggestions that didn’t help, but finally I’m seeing in my own self that when I do it the way she instructs that my throat feels better and the sound is much more pleasant when I’m speaking. It does feel a bit unnatural still, but again after so many years of bad habits, it takes awhile to retrain the brain.
Tuesday August 30, 2016 – Day 7
After the breakthrough I had the other day, I arrived today and finally flew through the warm up exercises in the first session and was able to do very well on the first script in record time for me. We video taped me after that session and I really did sound so much better than when I arrived last Wednesday!! I only wish now I had another 20 hours to keep going to really entrench it in my subconscious. I don’t want to just lift my voice, which is happening very nicely, I want to work on my pacing and intonation to have an interesting voice. I love theater and acting and would actually enjoy doing voiceover work. But that is an entirely different training course separate from the vocal repair course, as it is a more advanced level.
Diana, her assistant Jamie, and I had a great laugh tonight as we read the scripts in different accents. I started it, sounding more British than American for a phrase, and so then we started talking to each other in different accents and it was too funny. There has been laughter and tears as we make strides forward this past week, but I am definitely so grateful I picked the right teacher to guide me in this process. Tomorrow is the last day and then I will have my license to drive. After that it’s up to me to keep driving until it is subconscious. I’ll be sad to go.
Wednesday August 31, 2016 – Day 8
We broke up my last day into three separate sessions, each was an hour and a half with breaks in between. This has been a great process and experience, but after this number of days my body is starting to physically feel all the hard the work and I found I was quite tired last night during our second session. So having shorter sessions today helped me to finish strong. I have not only repaired my voice, but I have also seen toning in my leg muscles, my lungs have better capacity as I’ve learned to breathe properly, I know now that even when horribly congested (I seem to have taken on a mild cold) I can still use this wonderful new technique and speak normal “above” the congestion and produce clear sounds. It’s truly amazing all the benefits this is bringing!
We video taped one more time today to have me pick up the pace and try to sound more colloquial, rather than scripted. That was very helpful in trying to remember to breathe, speak “up” with each word of a phrase, have proper posture (never knew that my posture was so bad before, but I totally see and feel the difference now) and still talk naturally in a classroom setting.
Tomorrow I will fly to Venice to go back to work. I will start right in on Friday night with my first class immediately getting to use what I’ve just learned. I’m so thankful to have had the opportunity for this Vocal Repair course with Diana, it has saved my career.
Testimonial – Trisha B., Milwaukee, WI USA
Since 1997 my voice has been a key element in my career. I began as an Outdoor Education Instructor and trained school aged children for over seven hours a day. Starting 2006 I transitioned to working on a cruise ship, first as a kid’s club leader and now currently as a computer instructor. I still use my voice as my primary occupational tool over 6 hours every day, for at least 8 months a year, 7 days a week. All of this speaking has taken a huge toll on my vocal chords. I’ve had pain in my voice for years and have noticed that my voice has dropped lower and lower over time. I hear so many other people my age that also have a lower voice and assumed it was simply from age. This isn’t true, but I didn’t know that yet.
The constant pain and discomfort led me to search online for ways to help me with throat pain, vocal discomfort, proper speaking, etc. Nothing was coming up that seemed truly helpful with those specific keywords. Then I finally (should have started with this) prayed about it. I know that God wants the best for me and that He has always guided me to the right solutions when I place my trust in Him and humbly ask for help. Why do I waste so much time trying to do it my own way? I’ll never know, but in the end I did pray. As soon as I finished asking what I needed to do in this circumstance, I typed into the search “Vocal Repair” and instantly was seeing this website with Diana Yampolsky and the unique approach she has for lifting the voice off the vocal chords. YES! That made total sense to me.
I’m a skeptic when it comes to training courses and whether it’s legit or a scam, so I read every word on the entire site and read the testimonials of others and watched some other people’s videos of before and after sessions. I was now convinced it was what I needed and I contacted Diana to inquire about whether or not she could help me with my particular condition.
Being at sea I had a unique dilemma…no access to the telephone and internet was way too slow for a Skype conversation, so she amazingly agreed to take me on as a student without having heard my voice, just conversing over email. I guess that is very unusual, but I was so grateful that she agreed. We planned out when I would be able to come and I began preparing flights, accommodations and all the other pieces necessary for travel to the Toronto area (as I live in Milwaukee, but after my training would be going right back to work on a ship sailing out of Venice).
The training was amazing. It was hard, the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I’ve discovered muscles all over my body I never knew I had before, it’s that intense. I felt like I was in boot camp at times, and yet I wouldn’t change a thing. I am a very determined person and so when I was corrected for the umpteenth time for the same things I took it as a challenge to learn the technique properly and do it correctly, for me. Diana knows that time is short, just 30 hours in my case, to retrain 40 years of incorrect habits, and so I had to focus and concentrate and assimilate what she was saying in a way that made sense to me. And figure out how to keep doing it consistently in the future.
She gave an analogy regarding the training being like learning to drive. As my instructor it is up to her to teach me proper habits and techniques so that I can pass the driving test and get my license. After I have my license I have to continue using those techniques in order to drive subconsciously and well. I can see how that translates to this training and vocal repair. I’ve now learned the techniques for lifting my voice and it’s now up to me to implement it, and perfect it, so that I don’t have to consciously think about it while speaking.
Picking the right teacher is so important. I have had other speech pathologist friends coach me before and some of what they said helped a bit, but they didn’t fix the problem. Mostly it was like just putting on some ointment and a Band-Aid to ease symptoms. Diana’s technique allows healing and repair to happen for real.
I enjoyed getting to know Diana very much, her heart is so big. She is very generous and giving, extremely professional too during our sessions. She has had some recent personal tragedy and physically she was experiencing side effects of a huge amount of stress. As miserable as she felt between sessions, during our time “on the clock” it didn’t seem to affect her at all…it was amazing to witness…and I told her how much I appreciated that absolute focus she gave me despite it all weighing on her emotionally and physically.
I am so thankful, grateful, blessed to have found Diana through the internet and to have had the amazing privilege of working with her. I hope to have the opportunity in the future to continue working with her on more advanced techniques as she’s now piqued my interest in possibly pursuing voiceover work in the future. I never would have thought that possible, but I’ve always had the desire to do that line of work and never had the validation that I would be fit for it, until now. For right now though, I need to get back to work and teach cruise guests which mouse click to use!
Thank you Diana, Jamie and Chris for making my trip to Toronto an amazing and life-changing experience.
– Trisha B., Milwaukee, WI USA