Aphasia Choir Gets People Singing (and Speaking!)

Music therapy for aphasia keeps popping up on our site because there are amazing stories out there about people singing through their aphasia. We’ve written about why music therapy works as well as people who are able to sing but not speak fluidly, such as Randy Travis or Sophie from the short film, Still Sophie. You don’t need a fantastic voice. You just need to allow the music to move you.

Sing to Beat Choir

The Sing to Beat choir out of Queensland, Australia is the latest story about using music to treat aphasia. All members of the group have aphasia. They meet once a week because “music therapy bypasses the injured brain cells using rhythm and memory to prompt the words.”

You can watch them in action by clicking on the image and watching the video at the top of the screen.

Singing

Does It Work?

The speech therapist who runs the group has noticed a big difference in the 12 months that the group has been meeting.

“Everyone was really shy at first and really not singing very loudly, now they are all communicating really well together,” Ms Brown said.

“People have told me that they are starting to notice their partner with aphasia sing in the car or they are just having less difficulty carrying on a conversation.”

Moreover, it’s not just about practicing speech. One member states that “a judgement-free place to communicate with people like him has helped just as much as the singing in his rehabilitation.” The majority of group members are in the same boat, making it a safe space to relearn communication skills.

Do you sing? Tell us about your experience with music and aphasia.

Image: Panos Sakalakis via Unsplash

Comments

5 Comments

  • Mary E Dixon
    May 29, 2019 at 10:26 am

    After my stroke more than ten years ago, the one thing I miss the most is singing. Add to this I’ve been playing piano since a short time after I started walking. I would sing with choirs, glee clubs and at a coffehouse open mic accompaning myself. Now, I still have a voice that can mumble the music part but can’t bring to the music. I wonder if I could even sing some of my favorites. I know I can’t. If the words are printed and it is in front of my face, I might be able to sing but I can’t do that if I’m knitting or doing dishes at the same time. I can’t sing along when i hear a recording of a song I’ve known so well that I used to do that. I might not be able to tell you the name of the song. There is no support close to me for anyone that has aphasia and the stroke support group seems to have disappeared. I’ve been going for speech therapy three times at different stages of progression but nothing lately. I might beyond regular speech therapy but that is about all there is where I am. I feel that I am really missing something in my life over this aphasia.

  • Lois Siegel
    May 29, 2019 at 12:49 pm

    My husband had PPA and continued to love to sing the songs he knew. He would sometimes just make sounds but he would belt the sounds out. He loved it when I would stand beside him and sing into his hearing range-he did that until the week before he died. I also made certain to have calming music in his room as he was entering the final stages of his life. He died on Christmas Day and the local Classic radio station was playing some absolutely wonderful Christmas music which he had listened to for many years. Yes, music was an important part of his life.

  • Chris Birkbeck
    May 29, 2019 at 9:58 pm

    Sing to Beat Choir: “music therapy bypasses the injured brain cells using rhythm and memory to prompt the words.”

    “You can watch them in action by clicking on the image and watching the video at the top of the screen.”

    I have tried this a number of times but this is what I receive: “This video file cannot be played. (Error Code: 224003)”

  • Judy
    May 30, 2019 at 12:04 am

    I am just starting to really research options with his therapy methods for my sister who had a stroke. Traditional speech therapy has done nothing for her.

  • David Morgan
    July 20, 2019 at 8:31 am

    I am stroke, Aphasia,

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