Today is International Stuttering Awareness Day.
Famous stutterers include:
- Marilyn Monroe, actor
- James Earl Jones, actor
- Mel Tillis, country singer
- Samuel L. Jackson, actor
- Bruce Willis, actor
- Nicole Kidman, actor
- Emily Blunt, actor
- Chris Martin, singer
- Carly Simon, singer
- Lazaro Arbos, singer/American Idol finalist
- Joe Biden, presidential candidate (interesting that, as of this writing, there is a debate scheduled for tonight)
Singing has long been considered a viable therapy for stuttering. There are people who do not stutter at all when they sing. Why is this?
As much as we want singing to seem conversational, particularly in musical theater, the fact is that it does have elements that are not found in actual conversation:
- Sostenuto / duration
- Breath management
- Continuity of text and pitches – even though our goal is to make our songs seem like spontaneous responses to a stimulus (“I’m in love with a wonderful guy,” “Du bist die Ruh,” “O mio babbino caro”), the fact is that there are words and music on a page that stay the same, unlike a back-and-forth conversation.
- Memorization – and this would be something that would be involved in making a speech as well. I particularly liked this article for the idea of how Winston Churchill memorized his speeches – it gives another meaning to the phrase, “I know this backwards and forwards.”
Speech language pathology is a subject that is fascinating to me. I think that, if I hadn’t become a singer/singing teacher, I’d be very happy to be an SLP with an emphasis on becoming a singing voice specialist (that’s a thing!). It is so fascinating to me to see how the brain processes singing and speech. Take a look at this graphic.
If you want to know more about the topic, you can learn more about stuttering and singing therapy here.
If you want to know more about finding your voice (and finding out how it works),
contact me for a Vocal Discovery Session!