Using Science Songs to Enhance Learning: An Interdisciplinary Approach

Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.
CBE life sciences education (Impact Factor: 1.88). 03/2012; 11(1):26-30. DOI: 10.1187/cbe.11-08-0068
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Music is recognized as an effective mode of teaching young children but is rarely used in university-level science courses. This article reviews the somewhat limited evidence on whether and how content-rich music might affect college students' understanding of science and offers practical suggestions for incorporating music into courses. Aside from aiding memorization, songs may potentially improve learning by helping students feel relaxed and welcome in stressful settings, engaging students through multiple modes (verbal vs. nonverbal) and modalities (auditory vs. visual vs. kinesthetic) simultaneously, challenging students to integrate and "own" the material through the medium of song lyrics, and increasing students' time on task outside of class through enjoyable listening or songwriting assignments. Students may produce content-rich songs of good quality if given sufficient assistance and encouragement by instructors and peers. The challenges ahead include 1) defining the circumstances in which music is most likely to promote learning and 2) developing rubrics for evaluating the quality of songs.

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