“The King’s Speech” is a movie that tells the story of an English king who suffers from a speech impediment that causes him to stutter. This creates a lot of embarrassment for him since his public speeches are a vital part of his role. After undergoing several failed attempts to cure his problem, he finally agrees to work with a therapist that prescribes he learn how to sing his speeches. To the king’s surprise, after months of hard work, this approach works.

kings speech
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It’s a great story, but it’s also true. The movie is based on the true story of the British monarchy’s King George VI and his struggle with an embarrassing stutter.

There’s a lot more appreciation for the power of music to provide solutions to physical problems normal people deal with.

Jennifer Buchanan is a Canadian music therapist and the author of “Tune In: A Music Therapy Approach to Life.” Her patients range from a two-month-old with visual impairments to a 106-year-old with Alzheimer’s disease. Since listening to music can activate many parts of the brain, it can serve many different functions, she said. Via Fox News

A good example is that of psychological rehabilitation through what Buchanan calls ‘intentional music listening’. In contrast to usual ways that people listen to music – while working, working out, driving, or while on a night out, she recommends doing nothing but listening to music in a quiet room for about 10 to 25 minutes.

According to research, this can reduce depression in both adults and children.

Science Daily reports another study from Queen’s University Belfast that involved 251 children and adolescents. They were treated for behavioral, developmental and emotional problems and distributed into two groups: 123 were allocated to music therapy and 128 underwent the usual care options. Via Parent Herald

girl listening to music
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In treating depression and mood disorders, Buchanan recommends creating a different playlist for every mood or goal. Research also shows that listening to relaxing music has the same effect as meditation on one’s well-being.

Dr. Gail Gross, a family, child and human behavior expert, agreed that music’s effect on mood can be used for positive change. She noted that research shows listening to relaxing music can have the same effect on our well-being that meditation does.

“Music can change the way you breathe, so it can help your brain calm down,” she told FoxNews.com, adding that patients have to be selective about the music they to listen to, to ensure that it yields the desired outcome. Like many forms of medicine and therapy, there is no blueprint for a cure. This form of therapy is highly specific to each individual, Gross said. Via Fox News

These effects are borne by the fact that music and speech tend to share the same neural network, explaining the overlap observed between pitch and rhythm in speech and music. However, they also differ in important ways, such as the fact that the production and perception largely occur on the left side of the brain while that of melody occurs on the right. This explains why people don’t stutter when they sing – also explaining why singing his speeches worked for King George.

Singing words is effective is because speech is stored in a different part of the brain than music’s lyrics and rhythm, said Dr. William Barr, an associate professor of neurology and psychiatry at NYU Langone Medical Center.

“People who have lost the ability to speak can’t retrieve words or maintain a rhythm in their speech,” he told FoxNews.com.

But many of these people can still sing. The reason, Barr said, is that the words and rhythm of music are tied together and stored in a person’s memory, which makes them easy to recall. Via Fox News

listen to music
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Even so, it’s important to note that the effect of music will not be exactly the same for everyone. It is the individual’s response to music that will dictate how and to what extent the music will affect a person.

Panayotis Mavromatis, an associate professor of music theory at New York University, said this may be because there are some overarching generalities in music’s construction that can alter our mood, but different cultures and lifestyles interpret music in their own ways…

“Scientists conjecture there may be a genetic component to our degree and quality of response to music. Clearly there are no universal patterns, but music therapists can still experiment to find out what works or not with a given individual” he said. Via Fox News

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