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Meet Charlene

Voice Teacher

My name is Charlene Santoni and I’ve been teaching voice since 2005.  I am a performer, academic and teacher with a wide range of skills and experience that have been developed over a long period.

I am a trained opera singer and classical voice recitalist with career highlights that included appearances with opera companies, orchestras and choirs across Canada and the United States (e.g., Edmonton Opera, Pacific Opera Victoria, The Tanglewood Music Centre, The National Arts Centre Orchestra, The Boston Pops).

Academically, I have a DiplMus in Voice Performance (U. Manitoba), a BMus in Voice Performance (U. Western), and an MMus in Voice Performance and Pedagogy (U. Toronto).  After finishing my Master’s Degree, I taught private voice lessons for several years.  During this time, I had the opportunity to teach a young girl with unilateral vocal fold paralysis and cochlear implants.  This is when I became incredibly curious about how singing and voice therapy complement one another.  So I went back to school and got my PhD in Music and Health Science specializing in voice.  My research explored ways of influencing oral-nasal balance in speech and singing in typical speakers and speakers with hypernasality. Portions of my thesis earned publication in several International peer-reviewed voice journals.


While in graduate school, I took several Speech-Language Pathology courses that helped me to understand the spectrum of voice and motor speech disorders that affect children and adults.  I also took several Neurologic Music Therapy® courses that helped me consolidate how to translate non-musical voice therapy exercises into therapeutic musical exercises. This led to my co-authoring a chapter on Music-based speech and language rehabilitation that was published in The Oxford Handbook of Music and the Brain.  I was also awarded the 2014 National Association of Teachers of Singing Voice Pedagogy Award.


I am currently a Neurologic Music Therapy® Allied Professional (NMT-AP) and an Assistant Faculty Member at The R.F. Unkefer Academy of Neurologic Music Therapy where I present lectures on vocal intonation therapy® (i.e., singing-inspired voice therapy) and therapeutic singing®.  In addition to my private work, I am also a sessional voice instructor at McMaster University (Hamilton, ON), as well as at The University of Toronto (Toronto, ON), where I concurrently teach a course in Clinical Voice Pedagogy.  

In 2023, I will co-author two chapters for the 2nd Edition of The Handbook of Neurologic Music Therapy (Michael H. Thaut & V. Hoemberg, Eds.) on Vocal Intonation Therapy® and Therapeutic Singing®.  The book is currently in publication with Oxford University Press.

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