Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Music Helps Memory for Words, and Words Help Memory for Music

Researchers from the University of Montreal make a number of interesting comments about music and musical memory that may help some students and adults with memory difficulties. First, they note that musical memory often appears preserved over memory for text (a trick used by speech therapists in the rehabilitation of stroke patients), and second that words and music appear to prime each other to improve their memory. They were surprised to find that even with scrambling up of the sequences beneficial effects on memory. Somehow the overall structure of words or melody were preserved enough to be recognizeable.

For some children who have severe memory roadblocks, learning by music may be extremely valuable learning strategy.


  1. Shanna8:06 AM

    This is quite an interesting study. Most likely this has something to do with the different learning styles which people exhibit. Would this type of strategy work for all learning styles? In my opinion I believe that it does cater to each learning style because for an auditory learner the music fulfills their need to hear the things which they learn. Then for the visual learner, the music on the page along with the words on the page would fulfill their need to learn through visual means. Finally, for the kinesthetic learner music would be a wonderful aid in their learning progress because it adds the physical part of learning which they need. Music can be sung, played, hummed, or even danced to and I feel that these things all help the kinesthetic learner to learn the material through doing something. While this would help students who have severe memory roadblocks, I feel that implementing music into general education classrooms would greatly help all students because they would each be able to learn the material best through their own unique learning style.

  2. Shanna, what a nice reflection you've made on this paper. There is an excellent case to be made for music in general education classroom - but some students will find affinity to certain types of music more than others. There is a nifty literature showing that music exposure remaps the sensitivity of the brain to that spectrum of sound - so trumpet players respond more intensely to trumpets as adults, violinist to violin music etc.

    Some people are driven to the rhythm more than pitch (rap?), whereas some really crave full spectrum sound (symphonic).

    Music does seem to be its own language and it interacts in interesting ways with words, imagery, and spatial expression.

  3. Anonymous9:08 PM

    I am a college student looking for information on how music helps middle childhood development kinesthetically. Any leads you may have for me???