Every now and then, in my career as Vocal Coach, it happens to have some moments of relaxation. What better city than Rome to relax and soak up the wonders of the eternal city?
Today I want to share a video that I made with Giovanni Scialpi, Aka Shalpy, on my last visit to Rome.
Since Giovanni is a man of great culture and kindness, it is always a pleasure to chat with him. The result is a sort of lecture/interview that I had the pleasure of doing just for you!
Here’s the full video (In Italian with Captions):
Here is the transcript (cleaned of overlaps) of the entire conversation:
Giovanni Scialpi: So, I’d start from a question that I ask you at a simply technical level, but then we develop all the discourse related to your work, namely that the voice is not just a matter of technique, but is something deeper, introspective. I take the excuse that since I fitted the pacemaker, so since I became a cardiopath, my breath has been shortened. As my breath shrank, the power of my voice automatically decreased as well.
Mylena Vocal coach: Absolutely!
Giovanni: What do we do now?
Mylena: You have to go and find out how much breath you lost, how you lost it, and then try to restore it, clearly within the terms of what you can do as a result of what happened to you. When you suffer some trauma in your body, each person processes it in different ways. Someone behaves exactly as if nothing had happened, someone behaves more frivolously than before, someone instead carries it as a big boulder. I think this is your case!
Giovanni: I think the third hypothesis is right: the great boulder!
Mylena: A big boulder because the impact is not only from a physiological point of view, but also from an inner one. This boulder constantly weighs down the breathing, which is the desire to exist, live, believe in life, so even the diaphragm itself suffers the consequences and tends to be less elastic, heavier, which leads directly to a shorter breath.
Giovanni: Is there anything to do, forgive me if I interrupt you, when I sometimes find myself short of breath?
Milena: Absolutely. Apnea always means not breathing correctly, the rhythm and the flow of air that reaches our vocal cords. As a result, the vocal cords are no longer supported as usual and therefore begin to prefer the lower notes more than the ones that are more tonic and central.
Giovanni: In fact, this happens to me. But this paradox is strange, because if you think that I have a pace-maker that marks a rhythm, I should have more voice than before, since before my rhythm was still slowed down. Of course, I didn’t have an extra systole, even if I have a small heart murmur that carries an arrhythmia, but I’ve lived with it since I was born so my breathing was still natural, since I started to sing using this breath and in those circumstances. But lately I feel completely unsettled on the breath, I even arrive, even for a mental fact, to sing the phrase normally, and then I arrive with a little breath to the closure: I can not finish it!
Mylena: You memorized the breathing necessary for that sentence and now with the reduced fact, with the breathing changed as a result of the operation and many other related and connected elements, your diaphragm is still trying to reproduce the same performances, but it no longer has the same rhythm as you had before, but a new one, it is no longer yours, but it has been artificially added to you.
Giovanni: and as is mechanical, is not human.
Mylena: Rhythm is absolutely a main element to develop elasticity, so if it is mechanical, it is hardly very elastic, while the diaphragm, from the moment we are born, has a really elastic consistency.
Giovanni: Now I’m making a joke. Either I come to Boston, or you come to Rome. How do I follow you?
Mylena: Come to Boston and it’s nice and cool! Seriously, you can follow me very easily. I’m in Italy a couple of times, sometimes 3 times a year, it depends on my commitments, so I’m happy to come to Rome. But I work a lot Online, in fact 80% of my work is done mainly online, with the whole world, especially Italy, Europe, Hong Kong, Hawaii and clearly the United States.
Giovanni: I mean, I have to get used to seeing you on the screen!
Mylena: Yes! The interesting thing is that people often remain strange when they meet me live after only meeting me online. Everyone tells me it’s the same experience, because the energy I send from the screen is exactly the same.
Giovanni: and I can confirm that!
Mylena: Every time I go back to Italy and meet in person the kids, students and people who have only approached me online, I want to check how far they are with their voices and if it actually worked online. In fact, at the beginning before the more than 17 thousand sessions of experience I have now, I was quite doubtful about the effectiveness of the online. But every time I come back there is confirmation that the Inborn Voice method is suitable for Online: the exercise was done well, they followed well. Maybe I have a talent, but when I try to communicate to someone this great love I have for all the vocality, not only related to singing, but to all the expressiveness of us human beings, my message always comes loud and clear.
Giovanni: It is practically like now that I am far from Leo, from my love, and that I live it only via a screen, but there is the same intensity, even if then I have to go back in person to Los Angeles to check. We are combining some fun with reasoning, with a clear mental structure. I’m playing the artist a bit, because what you said reflects a model that is not only technical, related to your work, but I also think in life. As an artist, I communicate through video, so my feeling has to go through it. When you say “pierce the video” and because the energy must also pass through the technical means and reach those who are at home. This same thing happens in your work.
Mylena: That’s right, it’s the energy of the person behind the screen who, if it’s powerful, comes from the other side too. We sometimes talk about telepathy and the like. I love these topics very much
Giovanni: We should open an even wider discourse! Give me an example, that is, now I have no voice, give me the abc, let me do an exercise, even mental or something more physical that can give me voice again. Now I’m undertone, due to the gastric reflux and other various causes, so probably is irritated. Taking this situation into account, at this moment if you wanted to have a more effective dynamic, as a setting, what would you recommend?
Mylena: Well, it’s very complex, but let’s create a specific exercise for Giovanni Scialpi. Let’s do this. To the regret of those who watch the video, I ask you to close your eyes, because you are a very sensitive person and the emotions also pass through them. I have to use your first matrix, to say so. I ask you to breathe with your diaphragm about ten times and every time you have to imagine that this diaphragm is going up a mountain, as you did in Peru during Beijing Express. You have to imagine the diaphragm toning up as you get on, so in your case, closing. Opening and Closing. Lightweight. It must be like those steps you took to climb with such determination during the tv show. When you feel ready, you think you are almost there. I don’t want you to have already reached the end of the climb, but you are toned, you feel toned during the climb.
Giovanni: I take the rhythm
Mylena:Have you heard anything that’s changed yet?
Giovanni: especially in my mind!
Mylena: Even the spoken voice is already different. Now I ask you to take a little step further, I repeat this is the approach for you and for your particular sensitivity. Those who are more technical will have a different approach. Now that you are in this moment, imagine that you have reached the end of this mountain. Just by using your voice, try to make a note resonate. I prefer to use the letter U, because I really like it. Center this note from the back always carrying it forward imagining the diaphragm that continues to make the climb but now it has arrived. It also brings together the satisfaction of having reached this mountain. Tonicity is the secret. You choose your note. Repeat it five times, so we can tone up. Try not to lighten in the while. Believe it! Now try to say one simple, very slow.
Giovanni: You bring me Joy
Mylena: Did you hear the difference?
Giovanni:I’d say! I really have to work on the tonicity for the recovery
Can I reopen my eyes?
Mylena: Of course, the only thing I’ll tell you is that you often lift your shoulders. When you breathe in, you must always and only use the diaphragm: very light. Everyone thinks “let’s push the diaphragm”. No, you always have to be soft. Clearly now you have to tone up. So opening and a slight return, the diaphragm needs caresses and with caresses it becomes as strong as a rock!
So I brought you a little bit to Peru.
Giovanni: I was in Ecuador. So admitting, and I already hear, that the voice, my timbre has now already changed
Mylena: You need to experience this sensation of ascent because the voice, the diaphragm, and everything that has happened to you in life, and your fans know it very well, has crushed you and then the force of gravity has brought you towards you if, which is not good. Clearly, when we have found a centre, we can play on higher intonation, but slowly, because first you have to create the structure.
Giovanni: in fact my note was quite low-medium, but now I can’t keep it for many reasons. Because it’s irritated, a bit because I felt that there’s a strange vibrato: I usually have a perfect rhythmic vibrato. And I lost that too!
Mylena: When the vocal cords suffer what you suffered, so I do not exaggerate by saying it was a small hypotonicity, automatically their vibration loses tone and obviously also elasticity. Elasticity is the key word, always!
Giovanni: I have sharpened my mental elasticity precisely from my experience of life and my work.
Mylena:What about sentimental elasticity?
Giovanni: also! The thing that I miss is that now I no longer have a voice. That is, when it happens to me that I have to do a concert I have no problems, but in a quiet situation, I can not. During the concert there is the adrenaline that comes to you, there are a number of factors that combat this type of disorder, as you said and as a good professional, as an old sea dog, the waves I can ride them.
Mylena: Bravo. Because at that moment, when you return upwards, returning this energy, everything returns. You said that you feel sentimentally elastic and certainly you are, but from my point of view when there is something that hurts you, you accuse it ten times more than normal. Luckily your audience gives you strength and energy and all the hearts you want during the live on Facebook are just what you need. You have to work on it. The main concept on which I would work is just that, that of giving tone and totally believe in the positivity of the sentimental aspect.
Giovanni: this is what is happening. I repeat, I would like the voice to follow this path because it seems to me that the last wheel of the cart has remained and I do not want it to be like that!
Mylena: It must not be the last wheel of the wagon! Clearly when we devote ourselves to a feeling, an emotion, whether it’s a new love or whatever you prefer, it takes away our heads and hearts. It also works on the part of the diaphragm, but the physiological aspect needs total recovery. A bit like if you had to run for love. Once you could do it without any problems, but you wouldn’t be able to repeat it a hundred times. This is the same thing as the voice because being all muscular, cartilage and so on, it needs to be toned back, so the emotion gives the initial charge, but then it clearly takes training. If you go to Leo in Los Angeles and run to meet him happy is not a problem. Try repeating it 100 times, like in a song while you sing. This example is the thrust of the emotional aspect, but then you must clearly support the whole body.
Giovanni: Thank you because these comparisons, seem very simple, since they are carried out by two people who are a bit in the filed of music and deal specifically with psyche, emotions and so on, but actually only very deep and inspiring for those who do not use the emotion. I, for example, know, I have known in my life even recently, without wanting to criticize, but there are people, like Leo, even Roberto, but also Ron himself, who is a long-time friend, who are struggling, as you said, to be emotionally elastic. Or rather, they are in some moments, but then they return to their role
Mylena: They fit into their shell. Express Your Self. It’s really the best way to live life to the fullest, and by the way, if you live it like that, you’ll even get the things you deserve back. Try it to believe!
Giovanni: I always express myself!
Mylena: it’s important because so many people maybe learn, or at least say they want to start singing and using my voice, and only fixate on the technique. They only work on the cerebral part and that’s all.
Giovanni: I hate it when I hear a technical voice. I see dead people, everything dries up and so in my opinion, even to make a fierce criticism of the historical moment in which we live today, we are going in a direction totally contrary to what we are saying.
In everything we see through the media, the reality shows, the other vocal coaches you see also on YouTube. Every now and then it happens to me that someone contacts me or I get an advertisement, but it’s all based on a cold technique that does not give you the opportunity to express yourself. This is not only during a song, but to express yourself in life!
Mylena: Today, among other things, you get to create things that are exaggerated in the control of the vocal cords with machines or other. This is precisely to satisfy the rational concept of being able to reach very high sounds, strange sounds, extravagant sounds. But then the vocal cords present the bill: here you have used me in the wrong way!
Giovanni: It has nothing to do with it, but it’s a bit like the obsession with beauty, exteriority and aesthetics that we have today. Of course you have to look like that, you have to have that vocal stance. It’s all very uniform, all very flat. Instead I remember, having a little more years than you, that until I was a child all the artistic expression, I say this for people who maybe do not deal with art, was linked to uniqueness. Clearly, artistic expression is linked to the time in which it lives, every artist is the child of his time. When I was a child you worked a life to be unique, while today you work two, three years to be the same as all the others. It’s a contradiction!
Mylena: It’s true. After all, when we have singers that we still look at, even if they are not very young, what do modern ones have more respect? They have that quid, they have that emotion, because they have not only developed the body as a technical tool, they don’t have to prove that they reach that note rather than that sound, and they don’t hurt themselves to satisfy the ego. Instead, they have completely respected themselves and have united the body to what actually keeps us alive, which is our soul. Here we can disquisition from the ancient Greeks until who knows when, our soul joins the body and has the strength to maintain its expressiveness to exist. This makes the soul and the body true and continue, and the public perceives it. Those who, on the other hand, stop only in that technical field, then end up. They die because they don’t have a soul, they have abandoned it.
Giovanni: In fact, even today I say that the condition of singing is precarious in the sense that I could develop my artistic and my emotionality, obviously through the voice, because it is an instrument with great emotion, but I try to broaden the horizons because the age allows me to remain more open to 360 °.
Mylena: Among other things, something that could be interesting. In the United States they often call me to work on Voice versus aging, the aging of the voice, because they realize that over time the voice changes, the voice goes down, even without having any trauma. After the age of 65, what happens? Do only hormones change? Surely we undergo a passage of hormonal change, but a client of mine of 65 years, who I love very much, after a little ‘effort to make him understand my teaching, and it was not easy, told me this phrase that in my opinion is fundamental: “you taught me”, I say it in quotes because I do not teach anything, everything is already within us, I just bring it back to the surface. Then he goes on to say “Now I understand which voice corresponds to energy”, you have given me back my voice and with being my energy has returned and I feel younger than 10 years! He’s back in tennis! All this is true because our voice is a vibration.
Giovanni: I have to come with Leo to let you have a quick look!
Mylena: Otherwise, I’m coming to Los Angeles, which is even better. Boston is pretty cold!
Giovanni: you can take a weekend where I blindfold Leo to surprise him and I remove the blind where I say, we choose a location, a place, I would love to talk with Leo and you also because I and he talk about these things. Right from the start we happened to talk about these things as with you, so it could be useful. It was nice to have this conversation, almost a lesson, a meeting lesson, which will continue at this point virtually because you will go away
Mylena: Yes, I’ll leave on June 15th, then you’ll be in LA and maybe this summer I’ll come and see you.
Giovanni: hopefully because I count on going back to LA! I’m happy! Can I give you a hug? Thank you for this beautiful meeting: when souls are similar, they take each other up.
Mylena and Giovanni: Goodbye! Bye!