Speech, language, and music are defining characteristics of humans. Recent advances in neuroimaging have allowed researchers to examine brain activity during speech and language tasks, revealing the complexity of these processes. Research has also begun to better understand the neurobiological underpinnings of speech and language impairments. Yet, there remains a need to better understand how music therapy impacts these impairments. The main purpose of this manuscript is to provide an overview of the neuroscience of speech and language. The use of music therapy in the treatment of speech and language impairments, such as aphasia and dysarthria, will also be touched upon. The neuroscience of auditory processing, language processing, and speech production will be provided, followed by a brief overview of the neural underpinnings of dysarthria and aphasia and implications for music therapy
There are many interventions that have and will be developed for the treatment of dysarthria and aphasia. However, it is important to understand both the normal and impaired neurophysiology associated with speech and language processing to better inform the design and implementation of music therapy interventions. Moreover, understanding of this information will also allow for enhanced communication with other medical professionals. This paper provides just the initial overview of the neural processes associated with speech and language processing to aid as a starting point for deeper exploration and understanding of how the neuroscience of speech and language can enhance music therapy practice.