Carmen Russell | PhD, CCC-SLP
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Although people who suffer strokes can lose the ability to speak, their ability to sing may be retained. The areas of the brain associated with speaking and singing use an area on the left side of the brain; however, singing also uses frontal parts of the right side of the brain which are unaffected by a left hemisphere stroke affecting speech. Melodic Intonation Therapy is used to exploit this pathway.
The overlap between speech and singing can be most easily observed through the shared characteristics of melody (prosody) and rhythm (rate). MIT will use some common words and the clinician will teach the client these phrases by having them sing them while tapping their left hand. The phrases are intoned on just 2 pitches; “melodies” are determined by the phrases’ natural rise and fall of the chosen words.
This presentation compares and contrasts the current techniques of teaching MIT against vocal coaching techniques that are normally reserved exclusively for singers. The hope of this exercise is to enrich the current MIT techniques with new ideas that may prove to increase the effectiveness and success of this evidence-based strategy to further help clients with left hemisphere strokes affecting their speech.
College of Education and Allied Health
Communication Disorders and Deaf Education
Master of Science (MS)
Fontbonne University Archives
St. Louis, MO
melodic intonation therapy (MIT), vocal coaching, stroke
Communication Sciences and Disorders | Speech and Hearing Science | Speech Pathology and Audiology
Dalbey, Eric, "A Look at How Vocal Coaching Techniques for Singers Could Be Used to Increase the Effectiveness of Melodic Intonation Therapy on Stroke Patients" (2021). 2021 Speech-Language Pathology Posters. 7.
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