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 30 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. Dr. Metzgar also collaborated for a decade with speech pathologists and otolaryngologists, developing strategies for voice rehabilitation for those with voice disorders. 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 Program Director and Instructor of SongShine Palm Desert / Coachella Valley. In his capable hands, participants’ abilities to speak, act, and tap into their imaginations 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.

2018 Palm Desert, CA Instructor Training class with Dr. Ruthanna Metzgar (kneeling, third from left) and Mr. Peter Harris (standing, third from left)

2017 Indian Wells, CA Instructor Training class with Dr. Ruthanna Metzgar (center, kneeling) and Mr. Peter Harris (center, seated)

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.

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: Ongoing classes are the ideal model for the benefit of the student. However,  we recognize the need for breaks due to holidays and seasonal flexibility. A minimum goal is 30 weeks per year, broken into 10-week sessions. Classes are one hour in duration.

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 thrives under a team approach because different instructors have different skill sets (singing versus speech and drama). However, each SongShine Chapter is required have at least one Certified lead teacher who does the instructing, assisted by volunteers who monitor the flow of the class.

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

A: Yes. During training, you will receive instruction on setting up a business model in which a reasonable tuition may be asked. However, no student should ever turned away from SongShine due to lack of personal funds.

Q: May we integrate a few SongShine exercises into existing, on-going programs or 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 consist of 30-plus hours of instruction, usually spread over a few 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. You should be in good general health. 

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. Call Ruthanna Metzgar (425-210-3612) or email if you have further questions.