Bob Fosse once said about musical theater: “The time to sing is when your emotional level is just too high to speak anymore, and the time to dance is when your emotions are just too strong to only sing about how you feel.”
But the same is true for aphasia! When you cannot speak, you can sometimes sing. And singing what you want to say is a powerful communication tool.
Singing can build new language pathways in the brain, making spoken communication easier. The news piece explains how this works:
Emi Isaki, an associate professor in communication sciences and disorders at Northern Arizona University further explained:
“When you look at the brain,” Isaki said, “you have different skills in different hemispheres — for the majority of the population our language abilities are housed in our left hemisphere.”
And melody is held in the right hemisphere.
She said there’s a technique known as melodic intonation therapy, which helps improve speech.
“So that opposite side of the brain is listening to the sing-song of our speech, and it kind of tricks the left hemisphere into better production,” Isaki said.
If you love to sing or want to find an aphasia community bonded by music, you may want to check out an aphasia choir.
- Sing Aphasia: Watch the video at the bottom of the Sing Aphasia page. They will recruit for their next video in June 2022.
- Tulsa Aphasia Choir: This aphasia choir is in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
- The Rocky Mountain Aphasia Chorale: RMAC is a choir for stroke survivors with aphasia as well as their friends, families, and community— all are welcome!
- Aphasia Clefs Neurologic Music Therapy Choir: A small musical ensemble that originated in Rhode Island by the Hands in Harmony Music Therapy Company and a group member. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for information.