Language Learning|April 14, 2011 2:00 am

Language Learning: 4 Strategies For Musical Learners


This post is part 4 of an 8-post series providing language learning strategies based on Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences. If you are not familiar with the theory, click here to read a quick overview.

What is a Musical Learner?

Are you one of those people who is constantly tapping out tunes? Do you view abstract concepts in musical terms? If so, you show sensitivity to rhythm and sound, and you can improve your learning experiences by relating concepts and terms to musical structures. Musical learners are music lovers, yes, but they are more than that. They are very aware of and sensitive to all sounds in their environment. They learn well if using tools such as musical instruments, radio, music, and various multimedia devices.

Learning Strategy 1

If you are one of those people who is always tapping your toes to the beat of your favorite songs, then, by all means, incorporate that enthusiasm into your language learning. The best way to do that is by turning your vocabulary words into lyrics. For example, if you are learning how to discuss feelings and emotions in your target language, write a song about how you’re feeling. Then sing it back in your target language. You’ll have fun and cement the meanings of your vocabulary words in your head at the same time.

Learning Strategy 2

The minds of musical learners have an amazing ability to recall words and phrases that are spoken rhythmically. If you are one of these people, take advantage of this gift. For example, if you are trying to memorize greetings and introductions in your target language, make your task easier by speaking them rhythmically. If you do, you’ll find that you remember much more using far less effort.

Learning Strategy 3

Modern pop songs are full of simple words and ideas, and they cover a wide range of topics, from love to politics. Since you are naturally inclined to enjoy and remember things presented in a musical context, use popular songs to help learn your target language. First, download the lyrics to songs sung in your target language. Next memorize the lyrics, and, finally, listen to the songs, singing along while remaining conscious of each word being sung.

Learning strategy 4

Musical learners show a great affinity for using multimedia devices. Take advantage of this by searching out software and Internet-based programs that use multimedia extensively in their programs. You will find these far more interesting than sitting down with a book and a box of flash cards, which, of course, will motivate you and improve your language acquisition abilities.


Using Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences is a powerful way to design your personal language learning strategy. When using it, you must understand that the particular learning styles best for you are the ones that you will gravitate towards naturally. In addition, you must understand that you can, and should, use more than one style. Finally, only you can decide which learning styles are best for you. Musical learners are sensitive to the sounds present in their environments, and they learn best by incorporating music into their learning strategies. If you are one of these people, use rhythm, sound and multimedia devices as learning tools and you will make great progress.

Bye for now, and good luck with this and all of language learning endeavors!


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