Singing Voice Care with Melanie Tapson, Singing Voice Specialist (SVS)
So, you’ve probably read already that I’m not just a speech pathologist (SLP), but I’m also a Singing Voice Specialist (SVS). What the heck is the difference?!
The Voice Foundation has a great document describing what an SVS is 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.