Singing and Stuttering: What We Know

The recent success of American Idol hopeful Lazaro Arbos has the entire country talking about singing and stuttering.

"Understanding what dramatically reduces stuttering during singing may eventually help us understand stuttering better," explains Dr. Barry Guitar of the University of Vermont, author of several Stuttering Foundation publications. He offers the following comments on singing and stuttering:

  • In singing, we use our vocal chords, lips, and tongue differently than when we talk.
  • There is no time pressure in singing nor is there any communicative pressure.
  • There is now evidence that the brain functions differently for singing than it does for talking
  • When we sing, we generally know the words of the song by heart. "Word retrieval" or searching for the words may play a role in stuttering.
  • Carly Simon, B.B. King, Bill Withers, Nancy Wilson and Mel Tillis are all famous examples of singers who stutter, according to the Stuttering Foundation, www.StutteringHelp.org, a nonprofit founded in 1947.