Budding therapist harnesses her passion for singing to help transgender clients

A speech and language therapy student who is using her musical prowess to help transgender people will be singing at a recital today.

Sarah Rabin is one of four DMU Music Scholarship students who will perform lunchtime solo recitals this month, the 21-year-old taking to the stage today, in Bishop Street Methodist Church, from 1-2pm together with Molly Bennett.

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Sarah Rabin, front, in a Demon Theatre production of Oliver 

Ellie Page and Peter Eveling will perform on Friday 28 June at the same venue, also from 1pm.

Sarah, who will be going into her fourth and final year studying at De Montfort University Leicester, said: “Speech and language therapy is one of the most diverse career options that we can choose - you can work with children or adults, specialise in speech or language difficulties, dysfluency and people who have difficulties swallowing, or those with acquired language difficulties.”

In March, she completed a two-month placement at the Nottingham Centre for Transgender Health, shadowing one of their most renowned specialist therapists, Dr Ioanna Georgiadou, and since then has done voluntary work there.

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Third from left, Sarah in Curve Young Company’s Our House.  (Photo: Matthew Cawrey)

The placement gave her a chance to do much of her research at the centre, and Sarah is co-presenting with Ioanna a Research Paper to the Royal College of Speech Language Therapy on the therapy outcomes and which transgender voice therapy techniques/exercises are mostly used by the clients.

“Being able to work with the clients there has been a fabulous opportunity for me,” she added. “I’m really grateful to DMU for organising this placement. There are only a handful of gender clinics and some are very small. It’s a really specialist field.

“Teaching in this field is an emerging area and this is opening up learning opportunities for students, about the singing exercises you can give to transgender clients.”

Dealing mainly with people going through a male to female transition, Sarah worked on exercises in which they first focus on humming, then singing and turn that into sentences and conversation.

One song Sarah focused on during her own singing lessons was Somewhere Over The Rainbow, which she then applied to her exercises with clients, using it for them to learn and practise how to control their voice pitch, resonance, volume, intonation and articulation.

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Sarah with her brother

Sarah grew up with her autistic brother in a Jewish family in the Wembley area of north London, and got interested in child development while studying Psychology at A-level, while at the same time being influenced by her singing teacher’s interest in the science behind singing.

She also got into musical theatre when she was 13, a passion she has carried through to university, where she has been a leading member of the DMU Acapella society while performing in several musicals with the Young Curve Company on Leicester’s main theatre stage.

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Performing with Curve’s Fiddler on the Roof (front left). (Photo: Pamela Raith)

She successfully auditioned for one of the DMU Music Scholarships in mid-January, which entitle the winners to a programme of one-to-one coaching from leading professional musicians. 

She chose, with her tutor Rachel Nicholls, to learn how to sing opera and is looking forward to her challenging half-hour repertoire, which includes a moving song, Lascia ch'io pianga, sung in Italian.

Posted on Tuesday 18th June 2019

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