NMT Techniques: MUSTIM!

Hello everyone, welcome to another blog post!

Today, I will be writing about a recent symposium topic: speech & language NMT techniques! For those who may not be familiar with NMT, here is a quick rundown. NMT stands for “Neurologic Music Therapy”, and consists of 20 clinical techniques for sensorimotor, speech, language, and cognitive training. The treatment techniques used in NMT are based on the scientific knowledge in music perception and production, and the effects on nonmusical brain and behavior functions. Some common populations where NMT can be implemented include stroke and TBI patients, older adults with Alzheimer’s disease, and people with Parkinson’s, cerebral palsy and Huntington’s disease. For more information on NMT, click this link!

There are 7 NMT techniques that directly target speech and language. For today, I will be focusing on MUSTIM, but this blog post contains information on the other 6 techniques. 

For the sake of the length of this blog post, I will be focusing on MUSTIM (musical speech stimulation), which is the speech and language technique that I am most familiar with. We frequently implement MUSTIM in our older adult sessions. MUSTIM directly correlates with music that is extremely familiar for the clients, which gives them a burning desire to fill in the blanks! This is can be an important skill for older adults to stimulate speech and long term memory. 

For example, if I just sang “Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder what you …..”, and then I just stopped singing, your brain’s natural response is to immediately respond with “Are”. This is a great technique to use with older adults to stimulate long-term memory and speech!

One song that I have been using this week is “Don’t Fence Me In” by Bing Crosby. I usually introduce the song by saying, “For this next song, we have a very special part for you all to sing. I will start singing the song and see if you can catch on. “Oh give me land, lots of land, under starry skies above …..” This is usually when the clients automatically fill in “Don’t Fence Me In”. After the clients fill it in on their own, you can provide positive praise, and reinforce the instructions again by saying something like, “Every time we get to the part ‘don’t fence me in’, I want you to sing out nice and loud!”. After the clients fill in just that phrase, usually their long term memory kicks in and assists them in remembering the other lyrics. 

Some other songs that I have used in the past that works great for MUSTIM include “Home on the Range”, “You Are My Sunshine”, and “God Bless America”. Usually traditional and folk songs work great as a  MUSTIM intervention because the lyrics are over learned. 

I want to hear from you! What are some songs that you frequently use when implementing MUSTIM? 

Happy session planning and see you in the next post!

– Juliana