Music and Memory

Music is an extremely powerful medium and it can be a great aid when trying to memorize things. I can still remember the words to songs that I haven't heard in years. I'm sure that repetition has an important role in the process, but what is it about music that causes people to retain what they hear?

If you're like me I imagine that you first began learning your ABC's by singing. I am always amazed at how fast my girls can learn things that we sing together. Recently, I began singing the Greek alphabet with Alora ("Alpha, Beta, Delta..."). We probably sang it together three or four times. A few days later I heard Alora singing through the Greek alphabet on her own. Although she missed a few letters, she remembered most of them.

On a slightly different note, it is interesting how we associate certain songs or tunes with events. For example, everytime I hear the hymn "Majesty" I think about playing the saxophone in the Chiquola Baptist Church orchestra with my old friend Malcolm. (And, yes, I played the saxophone for a number of years.)

Can any of you think of memories or events that you associate with music?


Emily Wardlaw said...

I have been thinking about this a lot lately. It really annoys me how many secular songs (mostly 90s country) I have memorized. We recently bought the Trinity Psalter and plan to use it in family worship when we're married. Maybe my musical memory will be put to better use than in the past.

Eric M. Ashley said...

That does sound like a good use of music and memory.

And, wow, you guys don't have much time before you get married. Exciting!