Wired Magazine’s recent article entitled “What Beatboxing Looks Like Through an MRI Scanner” describes some surprising results from the University of Southern California’s Signal Analysis and Interpretation Laboratory’s study on the “paralinguistic mechanisms” used by beatboxers in the formation of their musical sounds. The gist of their findings is embodied in this statement by the lead author of the study:

“We were very surprised to discover how closely the vocal percussion sounds resembled sounds attested in languages unknown to the beatboxer,” the study’s lead author Michael Proctor said in an email to Wired. “Even though his goals were musical, the beatboxer converged on methods of sound production which have been harnessed in the phonology of other human languages.”

I’ve always been really good at picking up new languages. I never linked that to my beatboxing skills, but it appears that their is strong evidence to support that connection. And one cannot help but consider the implications for education! Does beatboxing help prime young people for learning second and third languages? Does beatboxing aid in authentic pronunciation?

Read the full article here.

About The Author

Max is a professional beatboxer and teaching artist. He enjoys teaching and performing for audiences of all ages.