Music and Learning

TETTEH OKLEY CEPHAS TOPIC: MUSIC AND LEARNING; incorporating music rhythm into studies to aid memory and recall. Case Study at the University of Ghana,Accra. Submitted as research proposal to Mr Adotey, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology. TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. Introduction 1. 1 Background of the research 1. 2The study area 1. 3Problem statement 1. 4 Aims and objectives of this study 2. Literature review 3. Methodology 3. 2 Methodological considerations 3. 2. 1 Qualitative framework of study 3. 3. Data collection and procedure 3. 3. 1 Instruments,participants 3. 3. 2 Data analysis 4. Discussions;summary of discussion . INTRODUCTION 1. 1 background to the research Are people typically geniuses? Statistically, people probably are not. In fact, most people probably aren’t even intellectually gifted at all. Most people are likely to be pretty much average, maybe a little bit above average, or a little below, but very average none the less. It is universally understood that people strive to learn to become wiser and more informed about the world around them. The more people learn, the more powerful they can become. It is the speed at which people learn that separates the geniuses from the average people from the learning disabled.

Geniuses don’t run into problems while learning, because they learn so fast. It is everyone else that could really use help. One solid way to increase the speed at which people learn is with music. People learn through music and their minds grow faster because of it. Some music, when implemented properly, can have positive effects on learning and attitude. Music is a powerful thing, and when we understand its significance, it can bring dramatic changes both positive and negative into our lives (Kristian David Oslon). Sceintific research on the neurological and developmental effects of music on learning has fascinated educators since long. rom soft music in the nursery to musical toys and dance lessons, encouraging music involvement in a fun way strengthens individual educational, physical and emotional development. Learning is the process of acquiring modifications in existing knowledge, skills, habits, or tendencies through experience, practice, or exercise. Learning includes associative processes, discrimination of sense data psychomotor and perceptual learning, imitation,concept,formation,problem solving, and insight. prominent psychologist and educationists have over the years propounded ways though which learning could be improved and made easy. f them music is no exception Music is one of the few activities that involves using the whole brain. It is intrinsic to all cultures and can have surprising benefits not only for learning language, improving memory and focusing attention, but also for physical coordination and development. Of course, music can be distracting if it’s too loud or too jarring, or if it competes for our attention with what we’re trying to do. But for the most part, exposure to many kinds of music has beneficial effects Music affects the process of learning and thinking.

Listening to quiet and soothing music while working helps an individual to work faster and in a more efficient way. it has the ability to make the listener acts positively and feel motivated. The power of music to affect memory is quite intriguing. Mozart’s music and baroque music, with a 60 beats per minute beat pattern, activates the left and right brain. The simultaneous left and right brain action maximizes learning and retention of information. The information being studied activates the left brain while the music activates the right brain.

Also, activities which engage both sides of the brain at the same time, such as playing an instrument or singing, cause the brain to be more capable of processing information. Listening to music facilitates the recall of information19. Researchers have shown that certain types of music are a great “keys” for recalling memories. Information learned while listening to a particular song can often be recalled simply by “playing” the songs mentally. Further on,music has a calming effect on the mind and his even known to speed the recovery of health ailments. Studies have shown that music plays a vital core in enhancing creativity.

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It has a positive impact on the right side of the brain, triggering the brain centers responsible for the enhancement of creativity. Certain “ragas” are known to activate the “chakras” of our body, thus giving us an added advantage in other creative tasks. Music increases spatial and abstract reasoning skills. These are the skills required in tackling problems, solving puzzles and taking decisions. Listening to Mozarts is known to have a positive effect on the spatial-temporal reasoning, simply put,it makes you smarter. Have you tried learning anything by combining it with music or rhythm? or example, counting with a certain repeating pattern, or learning certain maths basics by giving it a tune, or learning poetry by reciting it musically. basically the combination of the rythm of a favorite song rhythm to something to be learnt makes it easier to remember since songs are are not plain words but are actually compositions with immediate catching rhythms. An interesting aspect of music is how it eliminates depression,which reduces brain activity and hampers the minds ability to plan and carry outs tasks, by increase the sorotonim levels of the brain making the brain alert. ensational rhythms can cause the brain waves to resonate in synch to the beat,thus leading to increased levels of concentration and increased mental alertness. This helps the brain to change speeds of processing easily as need be. Music as a whole usually helps increase discipline. Rythms are easy to catch and recall and if intertwined with subject topics would help a student to recall . Everyone who have been through elementary school can not deny the fact that the reciting of poem did not in one way the other help he. Most of us still vividly remember so well some of this poems.

This is because this hard knowledge was presented in a way that sounded so well still sound pleasant to the ear. Students appear to learn and retain more when the subject matter is presented through rhythm and/or song. They can also retrieve information if taught the correct cues. Students do not have to be musical scholars or prodigies in order to benefit from the joys of being taught mnemonically. Students who have difficulty retaining information because they cannot read or have not been taught any memory strategies, can often learn effortlessly through rhythmic and musical mnemonics.

When textual information is presented as the words of a song or familiar tune, it is better recalled and its memory is more durable. Also, when the lyric and melody are partnered and then rehearsed, the melody is an effective cue for retrieving the lyric. (Chazin & Neuschatz,1990; Gfeller, 1982; Wallace, 1994; Yalch, 1991; Gfeller, 1982). ??? 1. 2. STUDY AREA The University of Ghana is the oldest and largest of the Ghanaian universities. It was founded in 1948 as the University College of the Gold coast, and was originally an affiliate college of the University of London which supervised its academic programmes and awarded degrees.

It gained full university status in 1961, and now has nearly 40,000 students. The original emphasis was on the liberal arts, social sciences, basic science, agriculture, and medicine, but (partly as the result of a national educational reform programme) the curriculum was expanded to provide more technology-based and vocational courses and post graduate training. The university is mainly based at Legon about twelve kilometres northeast of the centre of Accra, Ghana.

The medical school is in Korle Bu with a teaching Hospital and secondary campus in the city of Accra(Accra City Campus) meant for workers or the working class. It also has a graduate school of nuclear and allied sciences at the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, making it one of the few universities in Africa offering programmes in nuclear sciences. The university also has another branch of its Business school located in the Central city of Accra. The school can boast of big Department of Psychology upon its introduction into the University in 1967.

It now is one of the fields with over thousands students. 1. 3PROBLEM STATEMENT • Is it worth it all to use music to aid recall or improve memory • which kinds of music rhythms are appropriate • how can these rhythms be fashioned into the learning and teaching strategy to improve memory • was the use of song rhythms able to aid recall and memory. • If indeed it is shown that students benefit from learning subject matter in the classroom mnemonically through music rhythms, what is preventing teachers from using them more often in the classroom? 1. 4 AIMS AND OBJECTIVES To conglomerate the knowledge of music into the learning strategy to aid concentration and cognition • To precisely state methods by which music can be incorporated into learning to aid easy recall of stuffs learnt • To examine whether the attachment of the knowledge of music and rhythms to learning really aids recall and memory improvementt • To prescribe the kind of music rhythms to be used in learning which can aid cognition precisely recall and memory improvement • To help lecturers to sufficiently use music rhythms in teaching their students 2. LITERATURE REVIEW Yates (1972) chronicles how the Ancient Greeks, who invented many arts, also invented the art of memory. Just like their other arts this was passed onto Rome and subsequently descended in the European tradition. This method of impressing place, image, and music on memory has been called ‘mnemotechnics’ or mnemonics. • The reviewed literature reveals current and past studies on the subject of using musical mnemonics as an effective memory tool in the classroom and beyond. A musical mnemonic is a useful tool for disciplines that require a great deal of memorization.

Mnemonics can be teacher created or students created and should not be introduced until the student knows how to use them correctly. The literature reports that in general students, who have been taught through mnemonic instruction, outperform students taught by traditional instruction techniques. Much of the prior research was conducted in the curriculum areas of science, history, geography, English, social studies and foreign language vocabulary. The literature is presented from two complimentary perspectives; medical and educational. • Sacks (2007) researched the phenomenon of brainworms.

Brainworms are overly catchy tunes designed to bore their way into the listener’s ear or mind and are not easily forgotten. They were described as “cognitively infectious music agents” by a newsmagazine in 1987 (p. 42). Sacks (2007) searches for the qualities that make a tune become almost impossible to delete from memory. Is it timbre? Rhythm? Melody? Repetition? “Or is it arousal of special emotional resonances or associations” (p. 43)? He recounts a song from his youth “Had Gadya” a Hebrew song that was long and repetitive and that became “hammered” (p. 44) into his head.

He queries: “Did the qualities of repetition and simplicity… act as neural facilitators, setting up a circuit (for it felt like this) that reexcited itself automatically? Or did the grim humor of the song or its solemn, liturgical context play a significant part too” (p. 44)? • Sacks (2007) reports on how our brains are helplessly sensitive to music, and how the “automatic or compulsive internal repetition of musical phrases is almost universal” (p. 44). The brain treats musical imagery and musical memory in a unique way that has no equivalents in the visual mind.

Melody, with its unique tempo, rhythm and pitch “tend to be preserved with remarkable accuracy” (p. 47) whereas visual scenes are often not recalled as accurately. Because of this “defenseless engraving of music on the brain” (p. 47) musical imagery and memory even occur in people who that they are not musical. Neurologically, people tend to find those brainworms or catchy tunes completely irresistible and unforgettable. This comes as no surprise to the advertising world that makes their millions out of flooding our world with such nauseating jingles as “Rice-a-Roni; the San Francisco treat! or “800-588-2300 Empire, today! ” • Mnemonics 14 • Hodges (2000) marvels at the new revelations that the latest “neural machinery” has shown us, on the effects of music on the brain. He derives the following premises from neuromusical research. • • • • The human brain has the ability to respond to and participate in music. The musical brain operates at birth and persists throughout life. Early and ongoing musical training affects the organization of the musical brain. The musical brain consists of extensive neural systems involving widely • • istributed, but locally specialized regions of the brain: o Cognitive components Affective components Motor components The musical brain is highly resilient. In the same article he quotes a neurologist, Frank Wilson (1986) who states that “… all of us have a biologic guarantee of musicianship…. we all have the capacity to respond to and participate in the music of our environment” (p. 18). Research from the Classroom and Learning Environment Gfeller (1986) did extensive research with learning disabled children and how musical mnemonics affect their retention and recall.

She chose as subjects for her research both learning disabled and non learning disabled students. The study focused on the memorizing of multiplication facts through repetition either by chanting the numbers and product to a simple tune or standard verbal rehearsal. After the initial trial, the non disabled students reported significantly greater recall of the facts than the learning disabled participants (p ; . 05). By the end of the fifth trial however, both sets of participants who had learned their multiplication facts • Mnemonics 15 usically, remembered significantly more (p ; . 001) than did any of the students using verbal recitation. Gfeller (1986) emphasizes the importance of teaching the students how and when to use a mnemonic. After all, the mnemonic is only effective if the student can access it, retrieve it and subsequently utilize it. She also encourages the use of familiar melodies in creating mnemonics. Students in her trial remarked that “… the facts most easily recalled were those rehearsed to melodies reminiscent of songs they previousl •

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