Merrill TannerCreatively combining her singing and speech, language and voice therapy skills to help people speak and sing better has been a lifetime passion of Merrill’s. Kindergarten children’s speech and language improved with song and speech therapy early in her career.

At the Adult Speech Language Centre in Saskatoon she developed multiple group therapies to better serve the large and diverse caseload. She used singing to help with group cohesiveness for stutterers, stroke victims and people with Parkinson’s disease (PD). 

The singing portion of the group treatment seemed to be especially beneficial for those with Parkinson’s disease, helping with vocal and respiratory conditioning and actually improving breath support, voice quality in the speaking voice. She explored this idea further by studying the effect of singing lessons on the voices of people with PD and then later completed a PhD studying a group vocal strengthening approach including singing also for people with PD.

She has started community Choral group for PD sponsored by the Parkinson’s Society of Alberta called Parkinsong, and has introduced Vocal Strengthening Groups for all diagnoses at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital.

To learn more about Merrill's work, visit the Singing Therapy page.