It is finals week and you’re loaded with a lot of information to memorize in just a matter of a few short days. You’ve been studying your butt off but you’re just not containing the information. What do you do? Well, one method that you can use to study is to make a song out of the information! Associating music with learning makes memorization easier, quicker, and more efficient.
From the time we are two we learn how to memorize things by singing mnemonics, a device (such as a pattern of letters, ideas, or associations) that assists in remembering something. For example, everybody knows the ABC song! We learn this at a very young age to memorize the ABC’s. According to an online survey at squidoo.com, when memorizing the ABC’s, 67% used the ABC song, 12% with a rhyme, and 7% with no rhyme or song and just with flashcards.
By putting a simple melody to the ABC’s, we were all able to memorize twenty-six letters in no time! So why can’t we use this technique while memorizing were older?
Another example of this method is one by The Learning Playground on Youtube. The Learning Playground takes the multiplication tables and puts a simple melody to them in order to help kids memorize them. In this video they do multiples of sixes.
Disney even caught on to the idea on teaching through song in an episode of Hannah Montana released in 2007. In the episode, Miley must learn bones of the human body in order to pass her midterm. In order to do this, she figures out that it’s easiest to memorize them if she puts them in place of the words of one of her songs.
Music for memorization is an interesting method of memorization that just about anyone can do. You don’t have to be very creative when creating your own mnemonic, you can use just about any tune (nursery rhymes work best). Or you can use one of your favorite songs. If you just can’t think of how to make a mnemonic song, you can always try looking for one on Youtube. Chances are that somebody has already made one because they are such a helpful tool. In this next example, the Periodic Table of Elements is put to the tune of “We didn’t start the Fire” by Billy Joel. This song can be used for students who are in Chemistry, Physics, or other science classes where they have to memorize the Periodic Table of Elements.
Students who choose to participate in Greek life will find that they need to memorize all the letters in the Greek alphabet. They may find this next example of a mnemonic helpful.
Many students have also found Schoolhouse Rock songs to be helpful when studying for AP Government and Political Science classes. Longwood University student Jordan Howell claims that “While preparing for my AP United States History exam last year, I utilized Schoolhouse Rock history songs and it helped a lot. When taking the exam, I found myself singing the songs in my head in order to recall the information.” Howell is one of many students that utilized mnemonics while studying and actually showed results. Here is one song she used in order to learn how a bill becomes a law.
As you’ll recall in class, we learned about epic traditions of the Nomadic Desert Tribe. This tribe is also an accurate example of people using music to memorize. It’s very important that these stories are passed on because they are from the ninth century migration of the Bedouin tribes. Therefore, the sha’ir (poet-singer), has hundreds of lines from stories to memorize. This is another example of how mnemonics are proven to be successful because these stories have made it so far just by being made into songs and taught from generation to generation.
Research shows that these types mnemonics are successful because they “train the mind to look for patterns in information and they create meaningful associations with information. They also allow you to cross-reference the information in different parts of your memory.”(wiki.answers)
So next time you have an extreme amount of information to memorize; make it easier on yourself by using music mnemonics. You are almost guaranteed to memorize the information you need efficiently and effectively enough in order to pass that tough final exam.