A visit to the UW Voice and Swallow Clinic

On Friday afternoon, I brought the Madison Opera High School Apprentices to the UW Voice and Swallow Clinic, a great resource for singers in the community. Our guide was Sarah Melton, a speech pathologist at the clinic, and she talked to the apprentices about healthy practices for young singers. It was also a bit of an anatomy lesson, a chance to see and learn exactly what muscles are used to produce those vibrations we sometimes call arias. The grand finale was for each of the apprentices to get “scoped,” a procedure that involves a scary looking (but harmless) camera taking live video of one’s vocal folds flapping back and forth, rendered in slow motion by, of all things, a mini strobe light. You can click the first link above to browse the Voice Clinic’s page for singers. Go here for information on “Explore the Voice,” a free, day-long seminar on vocal health sponsored by the Voice Clinic and Madison Opera on May 16. Much more on that later, but for now enjoy these pictures from Friday.

Speech pathologist Sarah Melton with scope in hand; brave apprentice in back. The scope rests on the tongue while peering down at the vocal folds.

Watching a re-play of the scope results. The vocal folds slowly come into focus as the camera gets to the back of the mouth, an exciting moment that was generally met with “oohs” and “ahhs.” Google “vocal folds” at your own risk!

Anyone else see the resemblance?

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