Music, Motion and Learning


We have family visiting from Germany so it’s the perfect time to brush up on my German. For me, German is the topic that I can study and study and try to memorize things but the words just fall right out of my head. How to make them sticky?

I remember never being able to remember the Dative prepositions until a friend (from a different school) sang them to me. In that instant I could finally remember them perfectly–and I remember them still (alas, not all my endings.)

Something about music lends an emotional quality to information and enables us to store it better in our brains. This works especially well with verbal information, and it’s the reason we sing nursery rhymes with small children.

For example, everything you need to know about baking in German, you will find in this video:

There’s also an element of play in nursery rhymes and songs that puts our brains in the right state to retain information. I can find many examples of how this works with music, but far fewer examples with math. The closest I can find are these (some of my favorite math music videos):


Although I can’t say I’ve learned much math from having watched them. It’s more like they make me appreciate the math I do know, and they certainly make me want to learn more.

When have you used music, movement or play to learn math? Please share your comments below–I’d love to hear from you.


Published by printmakertracy

I am a printmaker living in Vermont. I print by hand with water-based inks on archival paper at my kitchen table. My work is inspired by my family, festivals and nature.

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