Make Room For The Stuttering

Percussion: A Stuttering Beat

Posted on: June 11, 2009

I didn’t intend to write today, because I already have a post written for tomorrow and several good drafts started. But this, I couldn’t resist.

Good friend and mentor J and I talked about stuttering last night, and he asked me a really surprising question. Well, two actually. What would happen if you paid attention to the aesthetic beauty of stuttering? What if you could learn to enjoy the sound and beat of your own stuttering?

Huh? Now you realize that it is only with really special people that you can have this kind of conversation. J does not stutter, but he has been around me long enough that it is perfectly OK for him to offer this kind of feedback. In fact, it’s almost like he has a standing invitation.

He said my stuttering has a “cadence” to it – like a percussion drum. When he saw the look on my face, he said, “Really. I have been closing my eyes and listening closely to some of your stutters and you have a distinctive beat. Almost every time you say certain words, you stutter exactly three times and then the word breaks free. Like this,  cah-cah-cah-communication, cah-cah-cah-college.” He then started drumming on his knee to a beat and was stuttering like me. This doesn’t happen every day.

This was very intriguing. He challenged me to listen to my stuttering and try to replicate it exactly, so that I could feel the beat. At first, it was hard to do. But I was game and tried it, much to his delight, and mine. I found he was right. When I say “stutter”, like as if on cue, it comes out, “stu-stu-stu-stutter.”  Same with “people”, it comes out “pa-pa-pa-people”.

J challenged me to experiment with my stuttering and try to replicate natural stutters and see if I can pick up the beat. He then launched into music, how my stuttering almost could be like a rap song. He said he has noticed that some singers do seem to put some pseudo-stuttering into a song for emphasis or maybe just the beat.

We then talked about stuttering having beauty. I reminded him that someone had told me my stuttering was attractive not too long ago, and he just smiled and said “yeah, I remember!”

So while I am practicing my “stuttering beat”, and smiling broadly as I write this, what do you think? Isn’t it awesome that two people who care about each other can have this kind of special conversation? Can you dare to think of your stuttering like this? If by chance you are a SLP reading this, can you see any value having this discussion with someone who stutters?

I have thought about this all morning, and had to put it on paper. Maybe J and I will write a song about it and put it to music, featuring a percussion drum, of course!

Copyright © 2009

7 Responses to "Percussion: A Stuttering Beat"

Pam very interesting and a very light way to look at stuttering. Bless the heart of your friend.

I dont think I could sing in your band though as I do not have a beat. My stuttering occurs all over the place:).

Very interesting article. For me, as I have more silent blocks, I think you wouldn’t find a “beat” or something. It’s more the “sound of silence” ;-).

Simon and Garfunkle? 😉

I really like the idea. The possibility. Why don’t we think more that way? Were always so down on ourselves.

This maybe the same type of subject? I heard a speech about a friend of mine’s mother who was in a nursing home for 35 years.
She was not able to take care of herself due to a accident.
My friend ask, what if? What if my mother was not in a nursing
home or in an accident. How would my life have been?

Maybe we should think of stuttering as a type of accent? A different sound from others…..


Brilliant! This was a great example of how you can “play” with your stutter. Giving yourself the power to manipulate the moment and appreciate the moment.
“J” rocks.

Hihi, me like =) J has a great way of thinking. It’s a fun way of changing your view of your own stuttered voice. I have met very few ppl who actually like the sound of their own voice, and even fewer who like the way it sounds when they stutter. This is a cool way to change your thinking. And he’s right, you do have a beat. Not all the time, but often. I’m gonna remember this. Kids would love this too. 🙂
BTW, have you ever stuttered while singing?

I definitely will need to let J know that people really liked this idea. He is so cool – gets me to think differently.

The whole idea of stuttering being something of beauty is so much better than the typical tension, dislike, shame we feel during stuttering moments. When the mindset is changed to positive, anything is possible. That in of itself, is a great thought.

Thanks to all of you for considering this pleasant way to look at our stuttering.

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