Music Therapy is Helping People Recover From Speech Disorders

Group Therapy
“Hello,” singer Adele’s Oct. 2015 release, has quickly become the cathartic crying music for people of all ages around the world. The song’s massive success has led to a phenomenon on the internet, with many cracking self-deprecating jokes about how emotionally devastating it is. Yet despite the laughs, some experts believe that there might be some truth to these jokes.

According to therapists, certain kinds of music can have a powerful effect on individuals, and this treatment can be employed to help treat a number of conditions, from depression to speech problems.

Jennifer Buchanan, a Canadian music therapist and author of “Tune In: A Music Therapy Approach to Life,” said that music activates multiple parts of the brain and therefore can serve many different therapeutic functions.

When people engage in what she calls “intentional listening,” for example, patients can experience vast psychological benefits.

“The research is suggesting that we are looking at about 10 minutes to 20, 25 minutes of intentional music listening can put you right into that headspace,” Buchanan told Fox News.

And for many, music is a language that is often better understood than spoken word.

“Music was my language, how I processed experience in my life, and how I got through my life,” she says. “I learned to use the language of music to deal with anger, conflict, and to communicate my feelings,” said McMillin, a practitioner of music therapy, a psychotherapist, a music therapist, nurse, and musician.

Singing can be used to help people to better communicate their feelings and make words easier to recall. This is because speech is stored in a different part of the brain, that lyrics and rhythm found in music.

“Music has long been used as a way to teach and remember early concepts,” says Kim Lewis, M.Ed., CCC-SLP, a pediatric speech-language pathologist and business owner of Activity Tailor. “Today, therapists also capitalize on its ability to regulate emotional states of children with autism spectrum and sensory processing disorders. The slowed rate we use when singing as well as the multi-sensory experience it provides offers benefits for the rehabilitation of both language and speech sound disorders.”

Take the story of Peter Trollope, for example. After having a stroke, the man experienced a decreased fluency in his language due to a blood clot in his brain.

Soon after, he was rendered speechless. The stroke had occurred on the left side of the brain, which controls speech. His condition is known as “effective aphasia.”

In the hopes of restoring his speech, Trollope looked to speech therapists from MIT for answers. Their method involved music. As part of his treatment, he began attempting simple target phrases to the beat and melody of popular songs.

Low and behold, after many attempts, Trollope was able to articulate sentences by uttering them to the melody and beat of Beatles songs.
Trollope concludes, “So John Lennon and Paul McCartney deserve my thanks. Over the years they have seen me through some good and bad times — but none so important as now.”