In-Home Music Lessons

Using the Link Between Music and Memory for Learning

Music and Memory

Have you ever listened to a song that reminded you of a past event in your life?

For example, listening to “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” by Green Day reminds me of my high school graduation. This is called a ‘reminiscence bump’. There are many new psychological studies that show a correlation between music and memory. Knowing this information can give us insight on ways we can improve methods of learning. Here are two recent findings that support the correlation between music and memory.

  1.    Reminiscence Bumps

According to Krumhansl & Zupnik (2013), “Music transmitted from generation to generation shapes autobiographical memories, preferences, and emotional responses…”. This type of memory is called a ‘reminiscence bump’. You can recall memories of specific events that happened at/around the time you heard a certain song, or remember what emotion you were feeling. For example, listening to Adele’s break-up anthem “Someone Like You” may bring up some deep emotions for some people. One generation can recall memories from hearing “Oops! I did it again” by Britney Spears, while another generation can recall different memories from hearing the melody of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”.

  1.    Singing a New Language

According to Ludke et al. (2013), music can help memorization. Researchers observed that people who were trying to learn Hungarian learned the language quicker if they sang phrases instead of repeatedly saying them. The researchers believe that the melody of the music is a cue that aids in ingraining the phrases into the people’s memory.

Having insights like these can help us improve learning methods. Studying for your next spelling test? Try making a song out of it! I learned how to spell ‘because’ when my first grade teacher made a song out of the letters. ♪ “B-E-C-A-U-S-E…buh nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh!”♪ To this day, 15 years later, I still remember that song- melody and all! Perhaps you need to memorize information for your next science class. You can try memorizing the names of the planets by singing them along to the melody of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”. There are many ways you can use music as a memory tool to make learning easier. Utilize the advantages of music!