Use Music to learn anything faster

July 29 2014
Music Education

The brain, on music

Use Music to learn anything fast – even Music Theory

Neuroscience News reported a breakthrough project: two researchers used popular music to help brain injury victims recall personal memories.   The study found that music was far more efficient to recall items from memory than verbal prompts or pictures.

Memorization and recalling memories are key tasks of what we call Learning, and the use of music in learning is a powerful aid.  "I think there's enough evidence to say that musical experience, musical exposure, musical training, all of those things change your brain," says Dr. Charles Limb, associate professor at Johns Hopkins University. "It allows you to think in a way that you used to not think, and it also trains a lot of other cognitive facilities that have nothing to do with music."

Music affects us, but not monkeys

Monkeys are smart, but could be smarter with music.

Did you know that monkeys and apes cannot tap their toe to a beat?  Only humans and a few birds can recognize ‘beat’ and mimic musical sounds.  Humans have the natural ability to understand rhythmic beats and learn musical patterns. Military leaders take advantage of this human instinct with marching music, advertisers key into it to make their product names memorable, and teachers use it regularly to help students memorize lists, facts, and relationships.

"Learning the alphabet without music is as easy as memorizing a phone number with 26 digits"

If you are around a small child you can watch how music assists the brain’s learning system.  My grandson memorized and verbalized the entire alphabet easily by pairing the letters with "The ABC" song set to the tune "Twinkle, twinkle."  You probably remember it now, no matter how long ago you first memorized the list of 26 sounds.  Imagine how difficult it would be to memorize those 26 items (imagine trying to remember a 26-number phone number!), lacking any visual or contextual clues, sounds with no meaning for you.  It makes sense that adding another task to the list – singing a rhythmic melody – would make the challenge to memorize more difficult, yet adding a song to the process make it playful and therefore simple enough for a 2-year-old.

-Richard Gard, DMA

Research shows that children learn all subjects better when they have music in their school

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