Of all my children Laura is definitely the most musical learner of the bunch. I think she was born singing – okay it was screeching at that young age – but she really has an ear for music and rhythms and tones and sounds.
When she was younger she would watch her older sisters play the piano and would then sit down and play a simplified version of it – with both hands. She remembers songs and melodies after only hearing them once! Laura is constantly singing or humming.
Other characteristics of musical learners include: tells you when music sounds off-key or disturbing in some other way, has a rhythmic way of speaking and/or moving, unconsciously hums to himself/herself, is sensitive to environmental noises (e.g., rain on the roof, crickets chirping), taps rhythmically on the table or desks as he/she works.
Some strategies to employ with musical learners:
- Have background music going while they are doing school work. Classical music works best for us.
- Link old tunes with concepts – sing facts to the tune of Old McDonald for instance
- Create new tunes for concepts
- Clapping, tapping, or chanting while reciting facts
- Have access to musical instruments – especially during break time
- Since there is a strong auditory element lectures work better than reading
- If a child struggles with reading following along to an audio book helps.
It should go without saying that musical learners usually want to learn to play instruments. Laura plays the guitar and piano and would love to learn to play the violin if there was a teacher available in our small town. Give them the opportunity to learn instruments if you can! All children will actually benefit from learning an instrument. Studies have shown that learning to play an instrument enhances memory and improves language skills.
Links to the other learning intelligences are at the bottom of this post.