Music, the mind, and medicine: A Q&A with Robert Gupta

TED Blog

Can music be a medical instrument? In a moving talk from TEDMed, Robert Gupta reveals that it certainly can be. He gives as an example the work of neuroscientist Gottfried Schlaug, one of the pioneers of melodic intonation therapy. Schlaug noticed that, while stroke victims with aphasia could not utter a sentence, they could still sing the lyrics to songs. In these patients, studying music essentially rewired their brains.

This issue is important to Gupta because, after college, he found himself caught between his two loves—neuroscience and the violin. While he chose the violin, he didn’t end up playing only in concert halls. Thanks to a violinist friend who suffered from schizophrenia and ended up living on the street, Gupta found himself founding the organization Street Symphony, playing for the homeless, mentally ill and incarcerated.

“The musicians become the conduit for delivering the tremendous therapeutic benefits of music…

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About agogo22

Director of Manchester School of Samba at
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