The Music Instinct - Music Therapy: The Pulse of the Planet daily radio program offers free legal online mp3 downloads, exploring the world of sound in nature, culture and science, with audio adventures, world music, extraordinary sound portraits, science diaries, and nature ring-tones; an amazing sonic experience.

Airdate: Jun 17, 2009

The Music Instinct - Music Therapy

The Music Instinct - Music Therapy
Does music have the ability to help stroke patients?


music; ambience therapist and patient singing “My name is Kim. I’m a stroke survivor.”

JM: Can music help stroke patients recover? I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Gottfried Schlaug is a Neurologist at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

GS: “There’s one particular part of music-making which has to do with singing, that seems to help patients who have an inability to speak, to speak again.”

JM: For the past hundred years, researchers have observed that some stroke patients could sing the lyrics of songs, but couldn’t speak the words.

GS: “And then in the seventies, a group here in Boston developed a technique which was then called melodic intonation therapy, to help these patients that are unable to speak to regain some of their expressive functions again.”

JM: Until recently, not much was know about how this form of therapy worked.

GS: “So far what we have learned is that there are two essential components to melodic intonation therapy. One is the continuous voicing. And the other thing is the tapping with the left hand at the rate that syllables are produced by the patient and the therapist. The real trick of the therapy is to actually get patients, through this particular form of singing, back to speaking again. This is a very intense process that requires many, many therapy sessions, but it can be achieved.”

[ambience: therapist and patient singing “My name is Kim. I’m a stroke survivor.” (fades under)]

JM: To learn more about music and the brain watch The Music Instinct, a two-hour special this month on your local public television station.

Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation.