If you want to remember something from long ago, or if you’re trying to retain a new piece of information, a study from Boston University suggests you turn to music.
Music stimulates various parts of your brain and can set the mood for different tasks, such as learning, cleaning, relaxing, and exercising (PBS).
Here are some ways to incorporate music into your everyday life so that you can improve memory and recall:
Make Up Songs
Just like children use rhymes, chants, and songs to learn how to tie their shoes or remember something for a test, so can adults use a catchy tune to remember something important to them. “A simple ditty might help patients remember which medications to take when” (Boston University).
Don’t feel like you have to make up an entirely new song (though you certainly can!). Just put new words to a familiar tune, like “Twinkle, Twinkle” or “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad.”
Play Music in the Background
Using music as a backdrop to the task at hand can get both the mind and the body ready. Chris Brewer, founder of LifeSounds Educational Services, suggests the following:
- Upbeat music to motivate learning or for positive thinking/associations
- Instrumental/classical music for studying, writing, or reading
- Songs with a heavy bass line for exercising or movement of some sort
Learn to Play an Instrument
For those who really enjoy music, learning an instrument “expands your working memory capacity” and “improves the ability to think” (Psychology Today). Learning an instrument includes learning to play different notes and different rhythms and melodies. It involves both the body and the mind and strengthens the connection between the two.
So pick an instrument you’ve always wanted to play and find someone to teach you. Music training is a great boost to memory and focus!