How Will Music Help Me Remember?

Humans have been singing ballads, religious hymns, and cultural music for thousands of years. They have remembered and passed these creations on to each generation, who have in turn remembered them and passed them along. Children learn their alphabet easily as a song “A-B-C-D-E-F-G…” Music makes remembering that much easier. Somehow rhythm and tune cause words to spill out of your mouth — even if you were certain you couldn’t remember a particular song.

How will music help me remember? The how is less important. As a memory technique, what’s important is that it does.

How Will Music Help Me Remember?

How will music help me remember?  Information in songs and rhymes seem to flow out of the brain almost involuntarily.

How will music help me remember? The information in songs and rhymes seems to flow out of the brain almost effortlessly. It’s a useful and reliable memory technique.

Here are some tips from MindShift on the key characteristics of music that help the memory.

Tales that last for many generations tend to describe concrete actions rather than abstract concepts. They use powerful visual images. They are sung or chanted. And they employ patterns of sound: alliteration, assonance, repetition and, most of all, rhyme. One of [Memory in Oral Traditions author] David Rubin’s own experiments showed that when two words in a ballad are linked by rhyme, contemporary college students remember them better than non-rhyming words. Such universal characteristics of oral narratives are, in effect, mnemonics—memory aids that people developed over time “to make use of the strengths and avoid the weaknesses of human memory,” as Rubin puts it.

Songs and rhymes can be used to remember all kinds of information. A study just published in the journal Memory and Cognition finds that adults learned a new language more effectively when they sang the words instead of spoke them.

A young physician in Britain saw a significant increase in compliance with some medical guidelines among his colleagues when he created a song to share the information. Read more here.

You don’t have to go to elaborate lengths to put something to music. Use any tune you know. Try using “Happy Birthday”, “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”,  nursery rhymes, or even tunes from television shows.

How will music help me remember? Well, you’ll need to  give it a try to see how it works for you. It’ll be fun.

Let us know what types of information you’ve put to music.

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