Melanie Tapson

Professional Singer & Voiceover Talent
Singing Voice Specialist
Speech Language Pathologist – Voice Therapist

My name is Melanie, and I’m a CASLPO-registered, SAC-certified, ASHA-certified Speech Language Pathologist (SLP).  And I’m in good company; there are lots of us out there!  However, most of them don’t do the kind of work I do.  And that’s a good thing!  You want your SLP to be well trained and experienced in the kind of therapy YOU require.  And if you need help with your voice, you want someone who really, really, really, really, really knows – and loves – all things voice.  Which means you’re in luck.  I’m not just a speech pathologist who practices in voice therapy, I’m also a Singing Voice Specialist (SVS).

If you want to know more about my training and experience as an SLP, jump down to the bottom and read more.   If you want to know more about what an SVS does and the background they have, the Voice Foundation has a great document here.  But the short version is this:  SVS is a designation for a singing teacher who has special training equipping them to work in a medical environment with singers who need rehabilitation.  As an SLP who is also an SVS, I use my skills, knowledge, and experience to inform my practice as a voice therapist every day.

Here’s my favourite bit from the Voice Foundation’s description of an SVS:

“A few of the best singing voice specialists are ALSO certified, licensed speech-language pathologists. This combination is optimal, provided the speech-language pathologist has sufficient experience and
training not only as a performing artist, but also as a teacher of singing.”

The Voice Foundation nicely describes an SVS as a separate classification of singing voice teacher that, when paired with SLP training, is an optimal combination of skills. And I’ve got all the boxes ticked; I’ve been both a professional singer (with Disney, Paramount, Universal Records, the list goes on and on) and voice teacher (privately, in voice/music studios, at Concordia University, and as an Ontario College of Teachers certified teacher – I taught high school voice in music, drama, and music theatre at schools including the audition-only Etobicoke School of the Arts) for over 20 years. My first pro singing gig was in 1990 and my first teaching gig was in 1993.  (Yep.  I’m older than I look.  😉 ) I also have a degree in voice performance (BFA) and one in voice pedagogy (BEd), as well as the requisite extra training in anatomy/physiology of voice and training in rehabilitating injured voices (both that go well beyond the SLP program).  I also have an in-depth knowledge of laryngology and medication as it applies to voice, and I work as part of a voice care team with a laryngologist daily, where I use my skills as both an SLP and SVS jointly in rehabilitating professional voice users.

Basically, as a singing voice teacher, I am an SVS.  And as such, it is a wonderfully complementary skill set that enhances my work as an SLP who practices almost exclusively in voice therapy.  So if you’re looking for a voice therapist who understands your voice not just as a clinician but as a professional voice user with a lifelong love of the voice, you’ve found me.  And I’d absolutely love to know how I can help you find your best voice.

Selected Continuing Education I’ve Taken To Enhance My Skills

Listen.  I don’t know if you’re picking up what I’m putting down yet or not, but I’m really into voice.  Like, really really into voice.  I don’t just sit around playing Angry Birds in my free time.  I am constantly out there learning, reading, lecturing, engaging, talking to my colleagues, listening to my patients, and I’m constantly honing my skills.  If I did have free time, I’d probably spend it on more voice stuff!  But the reason I don’t have any free time is because I literally can’t get enough of all things voice.  So here are a few of the associations I’m proud to be involved with and a selection of the extra things I’ve done above and beyond “basic training” to help me become the kind of voice therapist you lie in bed at night dreaming about.  (Please don’t do that.  I’m more than enough excited about voice for the both of us. You get back to whatever it is you love doing this much and let me take care of your voice.  K?)

Anyway, I digress.  Here’s a (very, very) short list of some of the associations I am proud to work with and some really neat conferences and courses I’ve done:

Memberships in Organizations

  • PAMA (Performing Arts Medicine Association) member, on the 2017 Toronto Regional Meeting planning committee
  • PAVA (Pan American Vocology Association) member and Website Committee member
  • ViP (Vocology in Practice) member as a Singing Voice Specialist and SLP; here’s my profile:  Melanie Tapson, SLP
  • SAC (Speech Language Audiology Canada) member, former National Student Advisor on the board; re-elected, served 2 years
  • OSLA (Ontario Association of Speech Language Pathologists and Audiologists) member, current Board Director and member of the Social Media and Website Committees, as well as an ad hoc committee discussing advanced practice certification
  • ASHA (American Speech Language Hearing Association) member and CCC-SLP certified, Special Interest Group 3 (Voice & Voice Disorders) member

Courses and Continuing Education

  • PAMA Annual Conference (NYC, July 2016) – I also lectured at this conference with Dr Lucinda Halstead, ENT
  • Care of the Performing Voice:  De-Catastrophizing Vocal Injury (Dr Lucian Sulica, Christine Estes CCC-SLP, Melissa Cross, Shirley Tennyson CCC-SLP/SVS) (Weill Cornell, NYC, July 2016)
  • OSLA Voice Conference – conference chair and presenter (Natalia Evans, Gwen Merrick, Marta DeLuca, Dr J Anderson, Dr T Davids) (Toronto, June 2016)
  • Estill Voice Training Refresher (Tom Burke, CCC-SLP, Master Estill Teacher) (Live webinar, June 2016)
  • Broadway Voice Box (Tom Burke, CCC-SLP) (Web series, 2014-present)
  • Holistic Vocology (Robert Sussuma, Estill Master Teacher) (Web series, 2013-2016)
  • Approaches to Voice Therapy (Linda Rammage) (Webinar, June 2015)
  • PAMA Toronto Regional Conference (Toronto, March 2015)
  • Toronto Voice Course (Gwen Merrick, Marta DeLuca, Dr J Anderson) (Mt Sinai/U of T, Feb 2015)
  • Vibrant Voice Technique training (David Ley, Elissa Weinzimmer) (Live web training, Sept 2015)
  • Transgender Voice and Communication Workshop(Sandy Hirsch, Leah Helou, Christy Block) (Live webinar, September 2015)
  • Intro to Buteyko Breathing Courses(Hadas Golan, CCC-SLP) (Webinar, September 2015)
  • Toronto Voice Course(Dr Jennifer Anderson, Dr Taryn Davids, Gwen Merrick, Marta DeLuca, Tim Poon) (Mt Sinai/U of T, February 2014)
  • ALERT Model: Client-Centred Management of Voice Disorders in Adults(Dr Linda Rammage) (Toronto, February 2014)
  • Estill Voice Training Level 1(Tom Burke, CCC-SLP, Master Estill Teacher) (NYC, January 2014)
  • LMRVT & CSCFT Voice Therapy Spectrum(Dr. Kittie Verdolini Abbott, CCC-SLP) (Webinar, September 2013)
  • Knowledge/Skills Needed to Become a Singing Voice Specialist(Dr Karen Wicklund, CCC-SLP) (Webinar, September 2013)
  • Transgender Voice and Communication Workshop(Sandy Hirsch & Leah Helou) (NYC, July 2013)
  • Resonant Voice Therapy(Dr Joseph Stemple) (SAC (CASLPA), St John’s NFLD, April 2013)
  • State of the Art(s): Vocal Medicine and Phonosurgery(Dr Clark Rosen) (SAC (CASLPA), Montreal PQ, May 2012)
  • Toronto Voice Course(Jackie Gartner-Schmidt, Gwen Merrick, Marta DeLuca, Dr Jennifer Anderson) (Mt Sinai/U of T, Feb 2012)