The capabilities of the human voice have been thoroughly explored by Burbank, CA-based singer/songwriter and speech pathologist Joanna Cazden. While she's performed everything from Appalachian folk tunes to Yiddish songs, Cazden's greatest successes have come via her work with speech disorders. In addition to working in the voice and speech departments at Cedars Sinai Medical Center, Cazden has lectured throughout the United States. She presented such programs as "Arts Medicine and the Folk Performer," delivered at the National Folk Alliance Conference in 1993, and "Body/Mind Perspectives in Voice Rehabilitation," for the Voice Symposium Foundation, in Philadelphia, in 2001. She continues to write about voice technique and vocal health for Electronic Musician and Onstage magazines.
Cazden inherited her musical skills from her father, who taught piano in the family home. As a youngster, she was instructed in the basics of music theory and harmony. Singing at camp from earliest memory, she took her first vocal lesson at the age of 11, in preparation for a role in a Shakespeare play presented by neighborhood kids. Studying theater arts at California State University, Cazden was introduced to the voice method devised by Kristin Linklater. Although she began singing in folk music coffeehouses in the early '70s, she remained fascinated by Linklater's teachings. Moving to Los Angeles in 1980, Cazden earned a master's degree of fine arts in theater from the California Institute of the Arts two years later. She became a licensed speech pathologist in 1994.