28
March
2013
|
23:13
America/Tegucigalpa

Vocal vibrator video goes viral

Drama professor David Ley demonstrates how to improve vocal power, range and tone using a hand-held vibrator.

(Edmonton) There’s no denying the story’s sex appeal. University of Alberta drama professor David Ley discovered that a simple hand-held vibrator—the love-shop variety—could be used to improve vocal range and power for singers, actors, teachers or anyone who places a heavy demand on their voice.

Ley’s discovery, recently featured in the U of A’s What’s Next public awareness campaign, soon took off on YouTube and in the media. At last count, it had more than 150,000 views, compared with only a few thousand last week. The story was also appearing in media around the world, including the Guardian and Daily Mail in the United Kingdom, and Cosmopolitan Magazine, the Huffington Post and even Playboy Radio in the United States.

Late-night host Jay Leno mentioned the vibrator in his monologue on the Tonight Show Tuesday, and Ley will soon appear as the lead story on the CBS television show The Doctors, with audiences in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Australia, Ireland, Sweden and Finland.

“I’ve gotten emails from around the world,” he says. “Romania, Australia, England, the U.S. I even Skyped with a speech pathologist in Singapore.”

By and large, those who have approached Ley take the vibrator seriously and are looking for instruction on how to use it for the purpose Ley has in mind—to relax muscles around the vocal folds and to locate optimal points of vocal resonance on the head and neck.

At the same time, however, the story has taken on a life of its own. For much of the media, says Ley, “you have to negotiate around the sex-toy thing, because you know that’s their way in. They keep trying to steer it into a joke, but I’ve mostly been able to get beyond that.”

Most frustrating, he says, are the media outlets who run the story second-hand without talking to him, or who use it on the most dumbed-down of all media—morning radio.

“Now it’s getting stupid—everybody’s ripping everybody off.  It’s getting three or four times removed and evolving into something else. It’s like that game where a story goes around a circle, and by the time it gets to the end the fish gets a whole lot bigger, or turns into, God knows what, a dinosaur.”

Producers at The Doctors, however, are not the least bit interested in the salacious sex-toy angle, says Ley. They want to see how the vibrator works on the voice, and are sending him a laptop-like device with a camera so Ley can perform a demonstration remotely.

After that he heads to Philadelphia to conduct a workshop at the international symposium of the Voice Foundation. “What was going to be me doing my little dog-and-pony show is going to turn into a standing-room-only event,” he says. “I’ve had requests to attend from people who aren’t even part of the foundation.

“It’s fascinating to be at the centre of a social media phenomenon, and I have a lot of people telling me what I should do [to benefit personally from the discovery]. But to stay true to myself, I have to remember that I came up with this to help someone, and that’s really what lies at the heart of this story.”