musical learner

Musical Learner

Part 6 of 8 in our Blog Series on Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences.

A musical learner may also be referred to as an aural learner, or an auditory-musical-rhythmic learner. Individuals with this learning style prefer to work with sound and music; they have a natural aptitude for pitch and rhythm.

Singing and/or playing an instrument comes easy to a musical learner. They can also pick out sounds and musical pieces that their peers might not. This includes the sound of different instruments, and background music being played in movies or TV shows.

Musical learners excel in the type of setting where they can hear music, but also hear the relationship and patterns between those sounds.

Music is constantly on the mind of a musical learner, to the point that you can often find them humming or tapping along to a jingle in their head. Try as they might, having songs and jingles stuck in the head of a music learner is unavoidable — they pop into the individual’s head without being prompted.

Motivations of a Musical Learner

Individuals with an auditory learning style have a strong desire to work in the field of music as a career choice. This could include playing music, conducting music, composing music, or audio engineering in a sound studio.

When it comes to learning new information, musical learners utilize sound, rhyme, and music as a means of association and visualization. That’s because sound recordings provide background info about the subject, as well as help to facilitate visualization.

For example, if the individual is motivated to become a music conductor, listening to live orchestral recordings on a headset can be used to create visualizations. It can also strengthen the association in the person’s mind between a music conductor and orchestral music pieces.

Music itself can also be a motivator. Music evokes all kinds of mental states in people, not just musical learners. Music can make you feel happy, sad, angry, energized, or ready to chill out. Auditory learners should make note of which songs make them feel energized, and play them back when they need that extra boost of motivation.

Use your child’s fascination with music to their advantage. You know some people turn information into an acronym to help them remember it better? Such as “ROY G BIV”, which represents all the colors of the rainbow in that order. Well musical learners can follow the same kind of idea, except turn the information into a musical chant. Then all they have to do is sing the chant back to themselves to recall the information.

Teaching a Musical Learner

Just as it is important to know what you can to do help musical learners, it’s just as important to know what to avoid. Here are some helpful tips:  

  • Avoid quiet environments: Avoiding putting musical learners in a completely quiet environment. When in a room that’s devoid of sound, the individual will eventually begin to create their own by humming or tapping out songs and jingles.
  • Embrace “noisy” study time: Do not encourage quiet reading or writing time. While that may sound perfectly acceptable for other individuals with different learning styles, it does no favors for musical learners. Musical learners benefit from being able to hear their words spoken out loud before writing them down. Reading out loud is also encouraged.
  • Be patient: Above all, do not get frustrated or annoyed by the song-singing, toe-tapping musical learners. Instead of trying to get them to adapt to your way of teaching, incorporate music into your lessons somehow. Who knows, it might make the learning experience more enjoyable for all.

Musical learners can learn just as well as any other child, they just have a specific style that suits them. Use these tips to help your child excel in school by learning in a way where they feel most comfortable. If you would like to learn more about your child’s learning style, we encourage you to have them try some of our free games which explore the full range of a child’s multiple intelligences.

The theory of multiple intelligences was developed in 1983 by Dr. Howard Gardner, professor of education at Harvard University. It suggests that the traditional notion of intelligence, based on IQ testing, is far too limited. Instead, Dr. Gardner proposes eight different intelligences to account for a broader range of human potential in children and adults.

This is part 6 in our blog series covering all 8 of Howard Gardner’s proposed 8 intelligences. Click here to view Part 5.

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