Gabby Giffords on music’s therapeutic role in rewiring the brain, after being shot ten years ago

Posted on: April 12, 2021

“In 2011, former Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was shot in the head outside of Tucson,” writes Jeffrey Brown in Thursday’s (4/8) PBS. “Giffords has become a fierce advocate for ending gun violence, and is [on] own her own quest to live a rich life and rewire her brain…. For this amateur musician, [the French Horn] represents a kind of miracle…. In addition to paralysis, she suffered an impairment called aphasia…. Last August, she gave a rousing speech titled ‘Summoning Hope’ at the Democratic National Convention [and] played ‘America’ on the French horn. [Having first begun playing the instrument at age 13,] she’d picked up the instrument again … and incorporated it into her regular regime of therapy and rebuilding…. ‘It’s all still there in my brain. Reading the music is hard,’ says Giffords.… Carolyn Sturm, a retired professional French horn player and teacher now living in Tucson, … volunteered to work with her…. ‘We also used neurologic music therapy, because … the language center is connected to other parts of the brain that can help recover … speech [and] cognition and movement,’ says Dr. Gerard Francisco, chief medical officer of Memorial Hermann Medical Center in Houston.”