How Music Can be Used for Speech Therapy

Written by Team TE

April 17, 2024

Content By: Anna Dittman | Speech Language Pathology Assistant

Music possesses a remarkable ability to surpass boundaries and evoking emotions in unique ways. But, did you know that music can also be an invaluable asset in speech therapy? For parents and individuals who stutter (PWS), integrating music into speech therapy sessions can be both effective and enjoyable. In this blog post, we will explore how music can be utilized to enhance speech therapy, focusing on exercises for coordination of articulators and techniques for managing stuttering.

 

Music offers numerous benefits to speech therapy by incorporating rhythm, repetition, and engagement. Its rhythmic patterns aid in pacing and coordination, while repetition fosters memory retention and practice. Moreover, music’s emotional resonance and multi-sensory stimulation enhance motivation and encourage expressive communication. Overall, integrating music into speech therapy enhances speech and language development, making therapy sessions more effective and enjoyable.

Unlocking Potential through Music:

Music provides a rich and engaging platform for speech therapy exercises. For those who enjoy playing instruments, such as the piano or guitar, syllables of words can be associated with notes played. Start by practicing pacing and segmenting syllables, gradually progressing to chunking phrases and sentences. With time and practice, this can lead to fluency in speech!

Practical Strategies for Real-Time Situations:

Incorporating speech therapy techniques into everyday activities can make a significant difference, such as singing along to songs in the car or including speech exercises into bath time. Both strategies provide structured and unstructured opportunities for growth.

  • Whistles, recorders, harmonicas are examples of air instruments that can be used for breathing exercises.
  • Color-coded xylophones or drum sets are great for infants learning their colors/numbers
  • Labeling keys with target phonemes so every time a child taps they have to repeat/sing along, practice pitch (do re mi scale)

Personal Experience:

“Incorporating music into speech therapy sessions has been a transformative journey for me as a tele-therapist working with children. Recognizing their love for music videos and nursery rhymes, I’ve seamlessly integrated these elements into our lessons, using them as captivating tools to engage their interest and stimulate learning. By analyzing the visual and narrative aspects of music videos, such as setting and characters, I create follow-up WH questions, pairing visual and verbal information to enhance comprehension and language skills. Close sentences derived from song lyrics further reinforce vocabulary and sentence structure, encouraging active participation and memory recall. For children who stutter, singing serves as a powerful pacing strategy, strengthening fluency and reducing word retrieval efforts. Tactile play with instruments like whistles and xylophones not only promotes breath control and vocalization but also aids in phoneme articulation. By combining music with speech therapy, we create a dynamic learning environment that fosters engagement, creativity, and meaningful progress in speech development.” -Anna

Research Studies: 

  • “The reduction of stuttering was greater in the singing than in the reading condition. The greatest reduction was observed when familiar lyrics were sung. Thus, increased phonation duration, intonation, as well as familiarity may all contribute to the fluency-enhancing effect of singing.”
  • “Singing in particular can serve as a valuable therapeutic tool because it is a universal form of musical expression that is as natural as speaking. Moreover, singing engages an auditory-motor feedback loop in the brain more intensely than other music making activities such as instrumental playing”
  • “Singing requires breathing to be regulated in order to sustain the notes. It also results in a higher vocal intensity (Tonkinson, 1994) and vocal control (Natke, Donath, & Kalveram, 2003) than does speaking. Moreover, it has been suggested that singing increases respiratory muscle strength (Wiens, Reimer, & Guyn, 1999).”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2996848/#:~:text=The%20reduction%20of%20stuttering%20was,fluency%2Denhancing%20effect%20of%20singing.

 

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Parents-Interested-In-Speech-Therapy-TherapeuticEndeavors

Music provides a rich and engaging platform for speech therapy exercises.  Start by practicing pacing and segmenting syllables, gradually progressing to chunking phrases and sentences. With time and practice, this can lead to fluency in speech!

Key Takeaways:

  1. Speech therapy does not have to be confined to traditional methods. By incorporating music, therapy sessions can become more dynamic and enjoyable.
  2. Music provides a creative avenue for practicing speech exercises, from pacing syllables to mastering full lyrics.
  3. Integrating speech therapy techniques into daily routines can yield significant progress over time, making learning more accessible and enjoyable for children.
  4. Remember that speech therapy is not limited to isolated sessions. By embracing music as a teaching tool, parents and PWS can create a holistic learning environment that nurtures creativity and growth.

In conclusion, music has the power to inspire, uplift, and transform. By harnessing its potential, parents and individuals who stutter can embark on a journey of discovery and growth in speech therapy. Through creative exercises, practical strategies, and a sprinkle of musical magic, speech therapy becomes more than just a lesson—it becomes a harmonious blend of learning and joy. So, let’s tap into the rhythm of possibility and unlock the full potential of speech therapy with the help of music.

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