I was browsing through Youtube music therapy videos for my own continuing education and ideas when I came across a 3 part segment of Gabby Giffords in speech therapy and music therapy at The Institute for Research and Rehabilitation in Houston. I had the privilege of observing Meagan Morrow, MT-BC, NMT for the day during the time I was studying music therapy at Sam Houston State University. She is, by the way a phenomenal music therapist. She has a great understanding of how the rehabilitation works, has great rapport with her clients and is a great musician as well.
This second video shows Mrs. Giffords first during speech therapy and the frustration that comes with having to re-learn speech especially when she is aware of her loss (expressive aphasia which is where she understands language but cannot express it). It then shows the speech pathologist encouraging her to sing a familiar song which follows with Mrs. Giffords singing an entire verse (whereas before she struggled to say one word). It also shows the music therapist and speech pathologist working together to help her succeed. This is a fantastic example of the benefits of music therapy in the area of rehabilitation.
"Why is it that someone who can't speak, can sing?"
"Because music is accessed in many areas of the brain, that aren't designated for language", Meagan responded. "We're retreving pitch, melody,rhythm, through all of these different areas and those are working to get your language back".
Language is generally held in the left hemisphere of the brain however music is in both hemispheres as stated in the video. Therefore music therapy can re route or re-build language through different pathways such as those on the right side of the brain.
Meagan also gives a great analogy of being on the freeway when you are stuck in traffic/at a road block. If you cannot go that way you can go around and still get to your destination.
Music therapy is not only limited to this type of setting and benefits. Music therapy can enhance motor skills, cognition/memory, communication, and social/emotional skills as well.
Please visit my page "Music Therapy" which is found on the toolbar just below the header to learn more about this amazing service.