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Noelle Renner, Marie R. Kerins, Ed.D.

The Effects of Previous Musical Training on Melodic Intonation Therapy

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Research has supported the use of singing in treatment of patients with nonfluent aphasia, also known as Broca’s aphasia (Schlaug, Marchina, & Norton, 2008). Melodic Intonation Therapy (MIT) utilizes this singing technique to increase the patient’s utterances from 2-3 words to 5 words or more (Norton, Zipse, Marchina, & Schlaug, 2009). Though MIT has been supported as a preferred method for increasing fluency in those with aphasia, it remains unclear if the patient’s previous musical ability is a factor in the success of this technique. Additionally, amusia, or “tone-deafness,” is the disorder of perception and production of pitch (Loui, Wan, & Schlaug, 2010), and the problem is that the effect that this disorder has on the success of MIT has not been thoroughly investigated. So the question arises; do individuals with nonfluent aphasia who are formally trained in singing benefit more from MIT than those who are not musically inclined?

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