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MM#40 – Music as a Carrier For Memory

Memory systems are activated through improved listening, attention, concentration, and recall.

Music works to aid our memory because the beat, the melody, and the harmonies serve as “carriers” for the language content (Snyder 2000).  This is why it is often easier to recall the words to a song rather than a conversation.

Music and memory are powerful allies!

Music facilitates verbal memory.

Music enhances memory by increasing out attention to sounds, timing, and perception, while embedding emotional content.  What we pay attention to is what we’re most likely to remember (Jensen 2000).

Add actions to songs whenever possible because by listening, singing, and acting out the words or story, students will be able to internalize a significant amount of learning.  By saying or singing and doing the words simultaneously, students are engaged with the meaning so comprehension is significantly enhanced.

Importance of Song Charts/Sheets

Pointing to words on charts while singing, demonstrates the rhythm of reading.

When children already have the words, meaning, beat, and rhythm internalized, they are now free to totally attend to the visual representation of the words.

Music provides many rich opportunities to decode and interpret.  We are constantly challenging students with the sound/symbol relationship.  Through movement and rhythm, we can also help them learn to decode (Marshall 1999)

* taken from one of many handouts I have collected over the years and I haven’t a clue from where – thank you to the author (please let me know who you are so I can give credit)


Jennifer Buchanan is a professional speaker, performer and happy owner of JB Music Therapy.  She is available to present at your next conference to inspire your audience with music that aims to make each moment more memorable.

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