“…The most crucial moment in my journey with PFT was the spring of 2018 when I lost my voice. This loss terrified me because I had just shared with Dr. Veera my aspirations for my life and the goals I had for my singing career. To my surprise, the response I got from a woman who had quickly become my mentor, was to not wait.”
The first time I worked with Dr. Veera Khare Asher was as her student at Loyola Marymount University. She became my professor at the beginning of my sophomore year when I was 19 years old. Prior to working with Dr. Veera, the only vocal training I had received was from community theater and high school music programs. While these programs fostered my passion for the arts and allowed me a chance to practice my skills, I had never before received any formal vocal training.
Though I had been singing for my whole life, I was winging it. I was performing based solely on my ability and without any foundation to catch me when I got nervous or felt tired. By foundation, I do not mean musicality. Years of music education and dance had taught me about things like dynamics, phrasing and the basic approach to singing that is taught by most voice instructors in schools and theaters. The revolutionary thing about Dr. Veera’s technique is it acts as both an emotional and physical support to the performer.
The instruction and technique I received from Dr. Veera was absolutely life-changing and has become what we call the ‘secret weapon’. I now use PFT and Bubble Cheek in every aspect of my life, both performance-related and personal. The technique I learned in my voice lessons was a power technique which I could apply to my singing, dance classes, acting classes, and regular communication throughout my day. Each facet of my life was fluidly improved by my use of this technique. I began to experience multifaceted growth which spread from one area of my life to the next.
For the first time in my life as a performer, I didn’t feel nervous about how my voice would sound from one day to the next. Dr. Veera had given me the tools I needed to succeed. So, I activated my breathing and my body to put myself in the optimal position for performance. When I did that, I was granted a new level of confidence I hadn’t experienced before.
The most crucial moment in my journey with PFT was the spring of 2018 when I lost my voice. This loss terrified me because I had just shared with Dr. Veera my aspirations for my life and the goals I had for my singing career. To my surprise, the response I got from a woman who had quickly become my mentor, was to not wait. With her encouragement, something clicked in me. I decided to fully commit to a plan to graduate from school in three years and begin my life as an artist. However, that spring of 2018 triggered one of the scariest experiences of my performance career.
I lost my voice during the run of a musical at my university. The lead role I played was vocally demanding and a combination of sickness and spring allergies resulted in a total loss of sound just a few hours before showtime. With no understudy for my role, I was both terrified of doing further damage to my voice and letting down my fellow cast members who were counting on me to sing that night. I was panicked because at the time I couldn’t talk, let alone sing. It was at this point that Dr. Veera came to the rescue with the solution I needed and within a few hours, I was able to perform for that night. However, what I would do for the four final performances ahead was daunting in an industry where the mentality suggests that, no matter what, the show must go on. Here are a few words from Dr. Veera who served as both my performance coach and emotional support system during this time.
“According to her medical exam, Lena had swelling of the vocal cords due to overuse while I assessed she was already fatigued both vocally and physically. It put the health of her vocal cords at risk. She needed to rest. This was going to be a big decision for her to make, as there was no understudy. However, I made sure to let her know that once there was an injury, then the cords could be prone to injury again. So I suggested that she should step away from the show before it closed, and save her voice for the professional career she was already primed to activate…
Lena made the mature decision, to do one medical treatment (whole-body) to help the swelling with the cords. She then worked with me on what type of techniques she could use to help her get through the show, support her fellow performers, and yet, not risk further injury. With the notion that the sacrifice of one performance could save a lifetime of performances to come, she realized the gravity of the situation. Her game-changing attitude and the decision she made, literally helped other singers resist the peer pressure of pushing through a show, at the sake of losing future opportunities in performance. In my opinion, this is no different than the decisions that elite athletes have to make when under pressure. Lena did well.”
In reality, the true decision was to let the show find a way to go on without me. After school ended, I went home for the summer and went on complete vocal rest for the following weeks to assure full recovery of my vocal cords before I went back to singing. Dr. Veera and my laryngologist, Dr. Dinesh Chhetri, collectively agreed this would be the best and only option for me under the circumstances.
The traditional protocol is to go on vocal rest and is seen as the only solution for performers with a similar diagnosis. It is thought to be the only choice we have in order to heal and to move forward without further damage. What the world and I didn’t know and what Dr. Veera would come to prove in a landmark case for PFT and Bubble Cheek is possibly the most exciting part of this whole journey; the part of the journey that needs to be shared with the whole world and has already sparked a revolution for singers and beyond.
Through this landmark case, Dr. Veera worked closely with laryngologist Dr. Chhetri, who was able to verify PFT and Bubble Cheek as another choice for performers otherwise out of options. Here is a quote from Dr. Chhetri who was the same laryngologist that Dr. Veera referred me to. He has been working with Dr. Veera for several years and came to assist her on this landmark milestone. In this quote, Dr. Chhetri is referencing the patient in the landmark case.
“She had to be on voice rest and she continued to need to do some exercises despite being on voice rest. And so maybe the groundbreaking part of [PFT] is that one can activate the muscles and not phonate which is very unique. And that maintained the strength while she was on voice rest and so when she was finally taken off voice rest it looked like she really never rested her voice.”
The patient, in this case, was a professional singer with a deadline for a once in a lifetime opportunity. Vocal rest was not an option for her and this was what caught my attention. She had a more serious, but unfortunately common, injury than the one I experienced. Dr. Dinesh Chhetri explains in the quote below the extent of the injury, the medical treatment and what would be necessary for recovery. He further discusses the benefits of PFT and why this is a landmark case.
“You have to understand the underlying reason for why she developed the polyp, which was that she had some weakness in the vocal cords, and perhaps from technique and some overuse,
The interesting part about that, is obviously she needed a procedure done, an in-office laser, to take care of the hemorrhagic polyp. She needed additional help to improve the vocal cords and the weakness and the imbalance.
You could maybe say that there was some asymmetry where, after the PFT, not only the imbalance was taken care of but the condition of her vocal cords looked much better than they had ever been. We then could objectively show that there was a difference in regards to that asymmetry she had and the condition of the vocal cords. So I think all of that combined, led to increased power and better voice.”
Once Dr. Veera was able to share the success of this landmark case with me, I was intrigued. I wanted to know as much as I could about how to optimize my performance ability in order to protect my career. The key for me was realizing how deep the connection went between the voice and the body. Dr. Veera is a voice coach, but she is also a strength and conditioning specialist and power coach. This combination in addition to her invention of PFT and Bubble Cheek truly make her the first and only person to achieve this revolutionary type of training method.
I knew that I would never again let myself fall back into the situation I was in that spring of 2018 and so In observing the journey of the landmark patient, I learned the most important part of her training while she remained on vocal rest. She was training with Dr. Veera every day with targeted strength and conditioning exercises including gym equipment, which allowed her to train her voice without using sound.
Before we knew about this landmark case, Dr. Veera and I had a discussion about taking my training further with these exercises. I was resistant to the extra level of training that Dr. Veera wanted me to do because I didn’t understand the scope of training that she knew would be demanded of me as I engaged a professional career. Everything would need to be taken up a level, and I got to see first hand the results of the landmark case. I saw this professional singer not only recover from her injury but also return to performance better than she had been before. Dr. Veera helped me to see how necessary it was for me to respect the training and commit to the process she wanted to provide for me.
Dr. V and her technique have been used as a last resort. With both my experience and what I have witnessed in this landmark case, I now know it is imperative that this technique is used as a new benchmark to optimize vocal performance before any injury is able to occur. Dr. Veera and PFT can revolutionize the way singers, coaches, and doctors view injury, injury prevention and what it takes to perform. It has established a new standard in an industry where an individual’s career relies on their ability to maintain performance excellence. Dr. Veera makes her intentions clear in the quote below.
“With this landmark case, we have made progress. Now, every step forward must integrate science and technology if we want to advance our knowledge of the BrainBodyVoice™ complex for human performance. Working across disciplines with an innovative and collaborative approach will help to inform and measure the discoveries we make together for the elite performer.”
I’ve had a passion for the arts since I was a child. This passion has grown and changed with me through development as an artist. I can say now with confidence that PFT and Bubble Cheek are a permanent part of my journey. At this point, it would feel selfish to keep my story with Dr. Veera and PFT from a world that could so greatly benefit from the discoveries my teacher, mentor and friend have made in her lifetime. It is time for her legacy as an inventor and founder of KPerform® to be shared with an audience greater than just those fortunate enough to know her personally. The world needs to know about PFT and more importantly; the world needs to know the name Dr. Veera Khare Asher. I guess what this means for me is one simple statement that will keep me going from this point onward: It’s showtime!