Help People Shine: Become a Certified Instructor

Making a difference is immensely rewarding and there is a great need for classes around the U.S and Canada. Every SongShine instructor is certified through 20 hours of exciting, high energy training. Screened before the certification process begins, instructors must possess a background in music, speech, drama, or arts in healthcare, with the ability to read music, sing, or act. They must also have a passion for working with neurologically-challenged people. After training, instructors open and team-teach their own SongShine classes. Join us, and learn how to use your creativity to help people shine!


Certification Training is team-taught by Dr. Ruthanna Metzgar and Mr. Peter Harris. Please contact us to bring the training to your location!


Dr. Ruthanna Metzgar

A consummate pro, she is an author, speaker, teacher, professional singer and conductor, and conference presenter. With 40 years as a voice teacher and professional singer, Dr. Metzgar also collaborated for a decade with speech pathologists and otolaryngologists for voice rehabilitation. She holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Music (Voice) from the University of Michigan, and a Doctorate in Music (Doctor of Musical Arts in Voice) with Distinguished Honors from the University of Washington.


Mr. Peter Harris

He is SongShine’s Director of Speech, Diction, and Drama: in his capable hands, participants’ abilities to speech, act, and imagine take flight. Mr. Harris was trained in the Drama Division of The Julliard School as well as at Broadway’s famed Circle in the Square Theater School. Part of the Original Tour Les Misérables, he spent 20 years as a professional actor. He is the co-trainer with Dr. Metzgar and co-author of the instructor training manual: Brain, Breath, and Emotion – The Resurrection of the Voice.

2016 Vancouver, BC Certification Class with Dr. Ruthanna Metzgar (front row, fourth from left) and Mr. Peter Harris (front row, third from left)

2014 Evansville, IN Certification Class with Dr. Ruthanna Metzgar (front row, far left) and Mr. Peter Harris (middle row, second from left)

Frequently Asked Questions

...Concerning SongShine Music-Based Vocal Therapy Certification



Q: Would I be instructing only people with Parkinson’s?

A: SongShine is for anyone with voice issues caused by neurological disorders or aging. An integrated classroom yields the best results for all students. However, if you prefer to only allow Parkinsonians that will be your choice.


Q: Why are instructors certified?

A: Trained instructors are necessary to maintain quality and consistency. Certification also signifies the commitment of the instructor.

Q: What skills are required to teach SongShine?

A: A background in either music, speech, drama, or arts in healthcare (vocation or avocation). You should be able to read music and enjoy singing, acting, teaching, and working with neuro-challenged voices. 

Q: Are piano or keyboard skills required?

A: A person on your team who reads music and has good keyboard/piano skills is required.

Q: Are participants taught individually or in groups?

A: SongShine is designed to be taught in groups. Creating a sense of community, interaction, and socialization is vital. 

Q: What is the frequency and duration of SongShine classes?

A: Some groups meet weekly for a ten week series and start again after a small break. Others are ongoing throughout the year. Classes can be either 1 hour long or 1-1/2 hours in length, depending on the choice of teachers and students. 

Q: Is the same material taught every ten weeks?

A. No: Each ten weeks will be varied. There are specific exercises that repeat because of their ongoing value, but new material is being created and new songs should be continually added

Q: What types of locations/settings are appropriate for SongShine classes?

A: Any setting that is handicapped accessible: Senior Centers, Senior Living Facilities, Hospitals or Clinics that offer Arts in Healthcare programs, churches, synagogues, educational facilities.

Q: I already have a degree in music, drama, or speech pathology; Why do I need training?

A: SongShine integrates music, speech, respiratory and physical awareness techniques, imagination, and drama. Certification classes prepare SongShine instructors to successfully integrate multiple disciplines.




FAQs, continued

Q: Is SongShine individually or team taught?

A: SongShine needs a team approach because instructing can be demanding and different instructors have different skill sets.  It is advisable to have a lead teacher. There are instances where one person does all the instructing, but they are assisted by volunteers.

Q: If I become an instructor may I charge tuition to cover expenses and to compensate me for my time?

A: Yes. Some groups charge tuition, others, by choice, are run by volunteers. A reasonable tuition may be asked. However, no student should ever turned away from SongShine due to lack of personal funds.

Q: Could we integrate a few SongShine exercises into existing, on-going activities?

A: No. To achieve maximum benefit, SongShine should be taught separately.

Q: Is a Celebration Concert required at the end of a class season?

A: Instructors and students will decide what is appropriate for their group.  A Celebration event, however, has proven to be a great motivation for practicing and gives participants an additional, very satisfying goal. Additionally, end of the season events provide publicity and fund-raising opportunities.

Q: What does certification require?

A: In-person certification classes require 20 hours of instruction spread over two and one half days. Classes are lively and enjoyable and prepare trainees to develop creative approaches to voice strengthening. The energy of a class and interaction with other participants is an important part of the training. Call Ruthanna Metzgar (425-210-3612) or email if you hve further 


Q: How many people must there be for a certification class to take place?

A: Minimum of 10. Maximum of 20.

Q: Can there be more than one SongShine group in a community or region?

A: Yes. Programs are not competitive or exclusive.

Q: Is there a charge for Certification Training?

A: Yes.  For the joint project with Parkinson’s Society British Columbia, please contact them at  for cost and details. For other training events contact our Executive Director, Mr. Jim Wilson ( for additional details.