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Does memorizing set to songs have a downside?


MeaganS
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Is it cheating to put words to music to help a child memorize something? My daughter is 2 and a half and loves for me to sing silly little songs to her. She loves to sing them by herself as well. I was thinking about taking some short scriptures or poems and putting them to common tunes to help her learn them. Is there a downside to this?

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I've heard some people suggest that singing isn't real memorizing, but I still sing my abc's if I need to, and I especially use the books of the Bible songs my kids learned to find them myself. I find that my long term memory is better if it's set to a song.

 

I definitely use songs for memory work here. We have a couple CDs in our van that set Bible memory work to song. My 4 year old learned the books of the OT at age 3 only because we had a song for it.

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Music is useful for total recall, but not of recall of specifics. And it's not at all useful for teaching concepts-only rote memorization.

 

Having said that, my favorite anecdote on this comes from my younger brother, who was a 2x National Citizen Bee finalist. Apparently, in one of the finals written rounds (the top 15 high school history/government students in the entire US States, US Territories, and DODDS dependent schools), they had a question on the preamble to the constitution. According to my brother, you could tell whenever every single one of the contestants got to that question, because they'd begin humming. Apparently, even for students who knew a lot of US history details, the easiest way to recall the information was Schoolhouse Rock.

 

Similarly, if you put words to a melody, it makes the melody easier to remember and to remember connections like the composer, full title, date of composition and so on. There are many, many of these passed on by music majors (most not repeatable in polite company)-even if the lyrics don't actually contain that information. It seems like the sillier, or more obscene, the better. And when I teach college music lit classes, I just ignore giggles for specific melodies-because every single generation of college students think they're the first to come up with that particular trick.

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Yes, that the only way you can remember the info is by singing the song, either aloud or in your head.

:iagree:

My brother, sil and ds all learned their states and capitals by song. And 10-20 years later, they still sing mentally to get the answer if they need it. I didn't teach my dd hers by song for that reason. For the youngest, I just might try doing both song and non-song memorization to see if I can leverage the benefits from both methods.

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I think for a person who really learns easily to music, it can be a good way to remember something. I learned the 50 states in alphabetical order by learning the song "50 Nifty United States" in 4th grade. I can now say the states in order WITHOUT singing them, just from having it in my head for so long, I guess. It has been over 30 years. :tongue_smilie:

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If you want to try to memorize scripture, try Steve Green's CD Hide Em in Your Heart or Seeds Family Worship. They both work. Even the Westminster Catechism has been put to music....Diana Beach Batarseh has a few albums called Ask Me Whooo which is the catechism sung to music.

 

We listen to Seeds Family Worship for a few weeks, then I review the Bible verses with my son with repetition.

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As someone who also memorizes things very easily by song...

 

So, even if someone can only recall something by having to mentally rerun through the song or music in their head why is that a bad thing? If the end result is that the person who didn't learn it to song and the person who did can both give the appropriate answer, why is one better than the other?

 

I guess I'm just failing to see why one method is superior to another. The information is in there, after all.

 

I know so many lyrics to various useless songs it is not even funny. What has been helpful are the things that I memorized to music. It's much more useful than all of the 80's, 90's and songs of today that I know because anything musical with lyrics gets stuck in my head. I can not, however, remember dates and other such things that were drilled into my head years ago. Rhymes and such I usually still remember.

 

My .02 without researching specifically why having a recall only to melody is a bad thing. If that is what works, use it! I wish I knew more useful things to music.

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If I were more musically talented, I'd write songs for remembering anything and everything, and sell them to people like me and be a millionaire. I have a very hard time memorizing anything that isn't set to music, and a very easy time remembering anything that is. When taking my nursing school prerequisites, I was tempted to figure out how to set the krebs cycle, the bones of the body, and so on and so forth to music.

 

The idea of Song School Latin totally excites me, and is probably going to be my next homeschool purchase.

 

So no, I don't think it is cheating.

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So, even if someone can only recall something by having to mentally rerun through the song or music in their head why is that a bad thing? If the end result is that the person who didn't learn it to song and the person who did can both give the appropriate answer, why is one better than the other?

 

Exactly. And I usually don't have to go through the *whole* song. Like if I'm needing to find a specific book in the Bible, I go to that general section of the song and then remind myself what books are around it. I can get there very quickly - just as quickly as someone who memorized it without songs.

 

I also do well learning via pneumonics. When I was in a Bible study just before becoming a Christian, my friend that was leading the study said he remembered the order of some of the NT books by saying "Corinthians Go Eat Popcorn" to remember " 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Phillipians". I still remember that today so I don't get those confused (OR I can sing the NT books song :D ). I know my books of the Bible really well thanks to these helpful devices.

 

My oldest son first learned his NT books by saying them. I didn't know the songs yet. When we got to the OT, there were sooooo many, it was way more than he could handle (especially with the hard to pronounce names). Then I learned the song, and we started playing it in the van everywhere we went. He had all the books of the OT memorized within a week or two, and he was 3 years old. It was amazing to see the difference between the two methods. And if I ask him to find a book in the Bible (he's 6.5 now), he can find it quickly. He does not have to sit there and sing the song until he gets to that book.

 

I think for both him and me, knowing the song gets it into our head, and then when we recall it, we can recall the part of the song we need and access the information just as fast as anyone who has memorized it by just saying it. I guess the singing just helps us internalize it?

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I've heard some people suggest that singing isn't real memorizing, but I still sing my abc's if I need to, and I especially use the books of the Bible songs my kids learned to find them myself. I find that my long term memory is better if it's set to a song.

 

I definitely use songs for memory work here. We have a couple CDs in our van that set Bible memory work to song. My 4 year old learned the books of the OT at age 3 only because we had a song for it.

 

:iagree:

I was just thinking same thing! Use songs to help you memroize things. They certainly help me.

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So, even if someone can only recall something by having to mentally rerun through the song or music in their head why is that a bad thing? If the end result is that the person who didn't learn it to song and the person who did can both give the appropriate answer, why is one better than the other?

 

Speed & thoroughness are two aspects to consider.

 

Thoroughness - our Parents As Teachers educator, when checking kindergarten readiness, asks the kids about the letters l-m-n-o-p. She finds that many kids who have learned the song but not actually learned the alphabet think that K is followed by the letter "elemenohpee". :lol:

 

Speed - I distinctly remember struggling through an alphabetizing exercise in middle school one day, because it took so long to sing the song over and over and over. I finally *made* myself start figuring out the letter-order without singing. I quizzed myself over and over "what letter follows q" sorts of things -- now alphabetizing is automatic.

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