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Music and Accelerated Learning

Does music make learning easier or faster or just more fun? Well, it definitely makes it more fun but it can also make it easier to learn many different types of information and keep that information reinforced. Of course the classic example (for me) is the "Alphabet Song." But it's not just about reinforcing facts or information like all of the multiplication tables or all of the counties in a state, or even which bone is connected to which bone.

Researchers at the University of California, Irvine, asked students from pre-school age through high school to listen to Mozart's music while performing various tasks. Their results indicated that listening to this music improved their ability to perform tasks related to spatial intelligence. This was later generalized (by other people, not the researchers) to "listening to Mozart makes you smarter." Frances Rauscher, Ph.D., one of the original researchers suggested that because Mozart's music is highly organized, it helps the learner's brain to become more organized and their thinking more structured.

According to my friend and colleague, Chris Brewer, (check out Life Sounds at http://www.musicandlearning.com/articles_ltssl.cfm ) "accelerated learning is an actual method, based on the Bulgarian-born "Suggestopedia" It appears to be the first educational system in contemporary times to develop a program for using music to actually enhance learning and carry content into memory. It is quite possible that traditional societies and ancient civilizations used music to teach and learn in their learning systems, but we have no record of any specifics. A few music aficionados, such as Carl Orff, and insightful, spiritual educators like Rudolf Steiner, promoted music use in learning in very unique ways in their methodologies. However, there is no evidence that any of the factory-model teaching methods of the 20th century recognized the powerful role music can play in learning until Georgi Lozanov. His Suggestopedia model appears to be the first to integrate music in learning, which he did in a very complete and elegant manner.

Suggestopedia was adopted in the United States as Accelerated Learning. Certain education models that developed after AL have included basic use of music in their practices. Howard Gardners' Multiple Intelligence theory recognizes music as one of the eight defined intelligence areas. The evolving MI teaching models support the development of the musical intelligence but do not promote music as a teaching tool except for the use of musical performance to depict academic concepts, an activity which builds musical intelligence and helps some students understand concepts better. It is interesting to note that this use of music as a direct metaphor for specific academic concepts has not been used by Lozanov.

Research results, such as the UC-Irvine Mozart studies, have substantiated some benefits of music in learning. Teaching practices stemming from the Mozart research and other studies are being implemented to some degree despite on-going controversy over accuracy of the research and disputes over methods of implementation. Brain-based learning promotes music use in very broad terms but spends more time acknowledging the benefits than providing directions for use. In the corporate realm, some training departments are integrating music, most often using contemporary, upbeat music to enliven training or using slow music for relaxation exercises and focused work sessions. All of these music uses are valid and appear to be increasing the productivity of the learning experiences. However, despite the new interest in music as a teaching tool, Lozanov's method remains the only system that has carefully analyzed the possibilities of music and learning and developed methods for integrating music comprehensively within a teaching framework."

Most music healers and educators believe that a great degree of relaxation is necessary for optimal learning. Steve Halpern has many tapes for many things including accelerated learning. I would recommend his tapes to anyone! For easy access to his tapes, click on the links below.

Steven Halpern's Inner Peace Music:

Steven Halpern's Music for Learning:

About Author Dr. Alice Cash: Helping people to use music for Healing and Wellness. Dr. Cash stresses the use of music for health, learning, motivation, relaxation, energy building, or well-being. She is known internationally for her work with music and pregnancy, surgery, addictions, and Alzheimer's disease. Dr. Cash can be reached through Healing Music Enterprises. (www.healingmusicenterprises.com)

You may reproduce Dr. Cash's articles as long as your use the complete version without editing including the last paragraph.
Music and Accelerated Learning; Dr. Alice Cash 

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