24 Sep The Positive Effects of Singing For Those Who Stutter
What do B.B. King, Mel Tillis and American Idol contestant Lazaro Arbos have in common?
If you said they were singers you would only be partly right.
They also live with a speech impediment: stuttering.
You wouldn’t know it if you only heard them belting out beautiful tunes. Their stuttering seems to miraculously disappear once they begin to sing. This “miracle” has intrigued scientists and speech therapists who want to help people work through their impediment.
Here is what they discovered:
- Talking ignites activity on the left side of the brain while singing sparks the right hemisphere. In short, stuttering is a problem that originates from the left hemisphere.
- Singers tend to know all the lyrics to the song they’re singing and don’t have to search for the right words to say. Word retrieval may be another cause of stuttering, according to The Stuttering Foundation.
- Other activities such as whispering, speaking in unison, and blocking out their own voice also makes the stuttering disappear.
We included a video of Mel Tillis early in his music career to show you the remarkable difference talking and singing has on those who stutter. In this clip, you’ll see Tillis talk to host Porter Wagoner and the audience. He stutters a few words that causes the audience to laugh. It is a brief moment but it’s a bit heartbreaking. Wagoner assures the audience that “He has a little speech defect that doesn’t bother your singing at all or writing at all. You’re fine man.” Those are some wonderful words of encouragement and, of course, Tillis sings with his deep, beautiful voice and just wows the crowd.
Based on our limited knowledge, there is no cure for stuttering. However, various therapy options are available, including singing, to make the impediment more manageable. If you or your child stutters talk with your doctor about voice lessons. You can foster your love of music and build confidence while overcoming a personal challenge.
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