Name: Melanie Potock, MA, CCC-SLP
Title: Private-practice speech-language pathologist
Location: Longmont, Colorado
Twins Anna and Benjamin Bacon learn about the sensory experience of peeling and eating oranges with SLP Melanie Potock.
Picky eaters and the Grammy Awards. They go together like...well, OK, actually they don't. But maybe they should.
Colorado speech-language pathologist Melanie Potock, who specializes in pediatric feeding issues, recently helped produce a children's music album that aims to woo picky eaters into being more adventurous. It was so well received by the studio that produced it, in fact, that it was submitted for consideration for a Grammy award. Although the CD ultimately didn't make the final cut of nominees up for the award in February, Potock is still in awe that the CD—her first ever—would merit such attention.
"I knew it would go over well with my clients' families, but I was a bit surprised that it spread wider than that," she said.
Potock has specialized in pediatric feeding issues for more than 13 years and has a special place in her heart for picky eaters. After starting her career in the health care field, working with premature babies in the neonatal intensive care unit, she came to appreciate how important feeding issues are.
"I saw it was family-centered," Potock said. "It was so important that parents feed their babies and it never occurs to new parents that they might not be able to. Then it becomes stressful for the parents, the baby—the whole dynamic. It's so much bigger than suck, swallow, breathe. It can really affect your whole life."
Eventually Potock moved into private practice, visiting clients' homes to help parents get kids to try new foods and textures. Her approach was to make it a celebration—a "party of trying new things." She had played with the idea of creating a CD, but hadn't pursued it. Then, during a home visit two years ago, she heard some music she really liked. She asked her client who was singing, and the child said, "Oh, that's my auntie Joan!"
"Auntie Joan" turned out to be Joan Huntsberry Langford, an acclaimed Colorado children's singer and songwriter. Potock contacted her, and the two met a week later, forming a team with Huntsberry Langford singing and Potock contributing only to the lyrics as executive producer. This division of responsibilities was a good thing, Potock said, because "I'm not musical. My kids have actually asked me to stop singing or not sing at all."
The two took their project to Derryberry Studio and, over the course of 16 months, produced "Dancing in the Kitchen." The CD features 11 songs, ranging from a kid-friendly operetta about peas to a blues number about blueberry muffins.
The owner of the studio liked the project, and asked them if they would mind if the studio nominated it for a Grammy?
"Um, sure," they said, humbled by the offer.
What happened next was a lesson in Grammy Nomination 101 (see the Grammy website for the Grammy nomination process). Potock learned that all submissions are reviewed by members of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences who come from all walks of the music world. ("Your local piano teacher could be a member—you never know.")
After two months of drumming up a grassroots campaign for "Dancing in the Kitchen," Potock learned on Dec. 1 that the CD was not selected for the final list of five nominations and, alas, she made no plans to travel to Los Angeles for the awards ceremony.
Not to worry. She has big plans brewing.
"Making this CD was such a fun project," she said. "But what I really want now is a show on the Food Network—we'll see how that goes!"
Contact Melanie Potock, MA, CCC-SLP, at email@example.com.