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Voice Coach Teaches A 'Mind Over Vocal Cords' Philosophy

By Don Ford, Entertainment Editor
Originally published in the Brampton Guardian, Friday, May 12 1995

Give Diana Yampolsky a microphone, video camera and 10 hours, and she can transform average singers into quality performers.

Yampolsky runs the Royans School for the Musical Performing Arts (197 Queen St. E.) where she provides students with what she says is a one-of-a-kind teaching method that concentrates on the performer as a whole and not just their voice.

"The approach I take is absolutely mental," the Russian native explains, adding that, "the voice is really just a printout of what's inside a person."

The voice, Yampolsky believes, is like one big muscle that relies heavily on other parts of the body including the face and abdominal region for assistance during its performance.

From singers hoping to become professional recording artists to people who simply want to improve their karaoke skills, Yampolsky offers people an opportunity to come in for an individualized introductory assessment to determine how much potential they have and get a taste of what she has to offer.

What Yampolsky has to offer is a background in music that includes eight years of training at Leningrad's School of Music followed by four years of music teachers' college where she earned Bachelor of Music Education degrees in voice and piano.

In 1980, she came to Canada with the intention of singing and teaching. She soon realized that the vocal exercises she was doing before singing only helped to warm up her voice, instead of helping improve any technical problems that might exist.

Over time, Yampolsky developed her own vocal technique that relies more on facial and abdominal muscle use and result in less strain on the vocal cords.

How much natural talent a student has usually dictates how far they can go with the training. Yampolsky says her program's technical component will provide 75 per cent of any singer's performance. Singers who can supply an additional 15 to 20 per cent natural ability, should be able to perform at a professional calibre.

According to its inventor, the method works for all types of singers from classical to heavy metal.

"It's not just singing lessons," the teacher insists, noting that her method is not being taught by any other Toronto-area school. For those who choose to enrol in her accelerated program, Yampolsky even offers a money back guarantee to back up her bold claim of 100 per cent success.

Videotape evidence of the program's achievements can be found along a wall of the energetic vocal trainer's studio. Yampolsky always videotapes the before and after performances of her clients as living testimonials to the success of her method.

In addition to the audio/visual evidence, Yampolsky can boast actual examples of former students who've gone on to reach their ultimate goal of singing in public, in some cases professionally. Some former pupils of the Royans school have included Raine Maida of Sony recording group Our Lady Peace, George Michael impersonator Mark McAllister and Sabina Petermann, a singer invited to perform the national anthem at Maple Leaf Gardens before a Toronto Maple Leaf game.

In addition to improving the voices of singers over a short period of time, Yampolsky offers one-on-one sessions to correct speech problems.

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