Breakout Session

Muscle Tension Dysphonia (MTD) and the Singer

Monday, June 29 

Presenters: Lori Sonnenberg, Carla LeFevre

Muscle Tension Dysphonia (MTD) is a common voice disorder and diagnosis received by singers in the otolaryngology voice clinic. Our presentation encompasses an explanation of MTD and its diagnosis, voice therapy, and follow-up. Discussion includes the roles of the laryngologist, voice therapist (speech-language pathologist), singing voice specialist (SVT) and/or voice teacher. Although MTD symptoms may present in both the singing and the speaking voice, it is more often a disturbance or change in singing voice function that leads the singer to seek professional medical help. Common complaints and symptoms include breathy tone, onset delays, loss of upper range, discomfort for speech and/or singing, vocal fatigue, registration breaks, and intonation problems. Included in the presentation are audio/video samples of larynges with MTD, as well as helpful diagnostic and technical strategies for the singing teacher.

About Lori Sonnenberg

Lori_Sonnenberg.jpgLori L. Sonnenberg is a Speech-Language Pathologist and Voice Specialist. With over 19 years’ experience in the singing and speech pathology fields, she combines her passion for treating injured voices with her extensive background as a singer and voice teacher. This blend of talents and skills makes Ms. Sonnenberg a formidable asset to the clinical and singing voice worlds. Ms. Sonnenberg works exclusively with voice and breathing disorders in her private practice in suburban Chicago and specializes in helping singers overcome voice injuries, post-operative voice struggles, and problematic technical voice issues. She is a certified member of the American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA) holding the Certificate of Clinical Competency (CCC-SLP) and is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS). She is a former Speech Pathologist with Robert Bastian and Bastian Voice Institute in Downers Grove, IL, and has been teaching private voice since 1998.

About Carla LeFevre

Carla_LeFevre.jpgCarla LeFevre is Professor of Voice at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, and also serves as teacher and coach for young artists and professional singers. Her students have been regional winners and National Grand Finalists in the Metropolitan Opera auditions, and first-place winners of various other national competitions. They have gained acceptance as apprentices with the country’s most prestigious summer opera programs, and many are pursuing professional careers in opera and music theater. LeFevre has presented voice pedagogy workshops for the NATS Conference, Pan-European Voice Conference, and Voice Foundation, and master classes for 25 universities across the United States, including such schools as Florida State University, Boston University, Ohio State University, and Michigan State University. She is author/publisher of Diction Study Cards—275 flash cards providing detailed information and practice for each of the rules of pronunciation for Italian, German, and French lyric diction.