VoiceBox: How singing cures stuttering

· May 2, 2014, 6:01 am

Photo: 'Voicebox' stuttering(Photo: Courtesy of Alyssa Kapnik)VoiceBox is a sound-rich exploration of the human voice.

In each episode, host Chloe Veltman, reporter Alyssa Kapnik and sound engineer Seth Samuel explore pitch and harmony, meet shouters, singers, announcers and stutterers, and ponder the meaning and importance of the most primal of musical instruments.   

In “Stuttering,” we speak to Ryan Pollard, an instructor at CU-Boulder, and Tim Krueger, a choir leader in Denver, both of whom have lived with a stutter since they were young.  

Both of these individuals share how music  specifically singing  can help alleviate vocal impediments. 

Stuttering itself is a kind of medical mystery  there are a number of different reasons, physical, neurological and emotional, that people suffer this disability, and there’s no known cure.  

Having a stutter is not quite as rare as we might think. Quite a few public figures suffer from stammering: Vice President Joe Biden, actress Emily Blunt and, famously, King George VI of England. Marilyn Monroe also stuttered, as well as singers Carly Simon and Bill Withers.

Listen to the segment to hear what stutterers do to deal with their speech impediments and how scientists are developing technologies to help them speak more fluently day to day.

The segment airs on the arts show, today at 10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. on CPR News. Or listen online anytime.

Alyssa Kapnik is an independent radio producer and reporter, as well as a photojournalist and portrait photographer.

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