By Christine Whitmarsh, RN, BSN
The voice can be a delicate thing. I learned this from experience in the basketball pep band, screaming it out, and by observation, watching shows like American Idol where contestants frequently “sing out” their voice and vocal chords. Enter the speech therapist and speech language pathologists and their expert abilities to heal the broken otherwise healthy voice and help repair the diseased or otherwise disabled one. Speech therapists have also been known to help patients stop snoring. Traveling speech therapists and travel speech language pathologists are also extremely valuable in this regard, seeing and treating patients with voice problems in destinations and clinical settings across the country.
Watching the American Idol auditions, I often wonder if traveling speech therapists could create a valuable service where they go up and down the contestant lines, teaching aspiring idols how to properly use their voices without destroying them for the sake of singing. While this might not be feasible, there is another potential career opportunity for traveling therapists like speech therapists who have a background in singing. “Singing voice specialists” are singing teachers with medical training akin to speech language pathology or speech therapy. They specifically treat and rehabilitate patients with vocal injuries. Most have some type of professional singing experience in addition to the required anatomy training.
Training to become a singing voice specialist is informal and is usually a combination of apprenticeship combined with speech language pathology or speech therapy training. Most of the time it is the singing teacher or professional teacher who adds speech therapy training to their repertoire, but anything is possible for the individual with the medical training and singing talent.
Additional Resources: Voiceproblem.org, National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) – www.nats.org
Christine Whitmarsh is a Registered Nurse with a BSN from the University of Rhode Island. She is a freelance health journalist and medical writer and a contributor to Travel Nurse Source and Allied Travel Careers.