How Music Helped Gabrielle Giffords Relearn Words

In January 2011, when Gabrielle Giffords was critically wounded by a shooter, it was unclear whether she would fully recuperate or regain her ability to talk. Giffords was injured on the left side of her brain near the section called Broca’s area that controls language.

However, recovery specialists have started using a unique therapy to help patients recover their language ability: music. Even though we understand and create language on the left side of our brain, we understand music primarily on the right side. The way the brain relates to music is very unique. When we have a song stuck in our head or listen to a song by imagining it, our brain is very active as if we were really listening to that song. Neuroscience research has shown that music has an incredible impact across the entire brain. For example, earlier this year scientists in Montreal found that music actually creates a surge of dopamine, the neurotransmitter that communicates pleasure, scientifically proving why music makes you feel good. To read more about this study, see Jonah Lehrer’s article in Wired.

Because music relies on pitch and rhythm in addition to speech, it is interpreted in different parts of the brain, not solely the music or language areas. When rehabilitating injured patients like Giffords, rather than trying to redevelop the language area directly, this new therapy retrains the connections in the brain and creates a new language area in the music region of the brain. Giffords’s music therapist, Meghan Morrow compared to this approach to a highway detour in an interview with ABC News.

You can learn more about language and the brain in our article about communicating with machines.

In his book Musicophilia, neurologist Oliver Sacks traces other ways that music affects our brains. Music triggers long-lost memories in Alzheimer’s patients, and it can have a remarkable impact on Parkinson’s patients as well, including helping them regain movement. In a more mundane example, teachers also use the elements of music to help their students learn. As early as the ABCs, students acquire knowledge more efficiently when it’s tied to song.

How does music impact your brain and language processing? Have you had experiences with music that help you with words? Let us know.


The Mail on Sunday (London, England) April 29, 2012 Byline: PIERS MORGAN OVER AMERICA Melanie Griffith stroked the car… I’d dreamed of this — only with the car and my roles reversed THURSDAY, APRIL 12 Robert Earl, the British tycoon behind the Planet Hollywood chain, opened a cool offshoot new bar/restaurant in Los Angeles tonight, called Planet Dailies. this web site aston martin rapide

‘Come and meet an old friend,’ he said excitedly, as I arrived. He led me to a back table, where a very large man stood up.

‘Piers, good to see you again!’ roared Arnold Schwarzenegger, gripping my hand like a cement mixer.

The last time I’d seen him had been at the Beverly Wilshire hotel with his wife Maria Shriver, three days before the balloon went up on his affair — and secret baby — with their housekeeper.

‘You okay?’ I asked.

‘Yes, I’m GREAT!’ he bellowed back. I expected no other response. Any guy who can conquer three different worlds — bodybuilding, movies and politics — is never going to lack self-confidence.

‘Will you come on my show?’ I asked.

(These events are what I call a ‘target-rich environment’ for booking guests.) ‘Sure… I like your programme… you always ask good follow-up questions.’ ‘I can think of a few I’d have for you, Arnold, that’s for sure!’ ‘Ha, ha, ha,’ he laughed. ‘I bet you can. That’s okay.’ MONDAY, APRIL 16 My three sons are in town on holiday and have subjected me to endless re-runs of their current preferred movies, The Hangover and The Hangover Part II.

I’ve nothing against them — I can just feel my cerebral mass shrinking by the second as the sheer unexpurgated inanity of it all suffuses into my skull.

Tonight, we dined at a local Italian in Beverly Hills called Dan Tana’s, reported to be George Clooney’s favourite place. ‘Dad, it’s DOUG!’ shouted my youngest, Bertie. ‘Who’s Doug?’ ‘The guy who disappears in The Hangover!!!!!’ They were more excited about this than if Elvis had been sitting at the next table. Doug — or thespian Justin Bartha, to give him his real name — unfortunately found my sons’ enthusiasm and polite request for a photo thoroughly beneath him. (He obliged, through severely gritted teeth.) But that’s understandable. If I was famous for making movies that dumb, I’d be miserable too.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18 Dick Clark, an American TV legend, died today, and we invited my CNN predecessor, Larry King, back into the studio he dominated for 25 years to pay tribute. As the great man walked on set, the production crew all erupted into applause, a really touching moment.

But no more than he deserved. Not a single person at CNN, or outside CNN for that matter, has ever said a bad word to me about Larry. He’s one of those guys who’s as nice off camera as he is on it. A rare achievement among TV presenters, trust me. I recounted my terrible Robert De Niro interview experience to him before we went on air. ‘Don’t worry,’ Larry chuckled. ‘I did Bobby three times and he never gave me a damn thing either!’ As the lights dimmed, my theme music struck up and we prepared to go live to America (and over 200 countries/states around the world), Larry leaned forward and said in a stage whisper: ‘Don’t get nervous now…’ We both laughed loudly. It was an ironic phrase given that, oddly, I did feel quite nervous, as I’d have to be interviewing a number of other stars (including Paul Anka, Connie Francis, Gloria Estefan, Lionel Richie and Debbie Gibson) in front of Larry, as he sat there watching.

I now know how Freddie Flintoff must have felt batting at Lords with Ian Botham watching from the pavilion.

THURSDAY, APRIL 19 People often ask me what Hollywood’s really like, and in particular whether stars just wander around the place all the time. The answers to which are a) weird, b) yes. astonmartinrapide.org aston martin rapide

Today came a perfect example.

I was sitting in my car at The Grove — a Los Angeles shopping and cinema centre — when I saw a middle-aged blonde woman walk by, stop, and say to the younger man she was with: ‘Now THAT’S a nice car.’ She’s right, it is. An Aston Martin Rapide to be precise, one of the ‘nicest’ cars in the world. (Relax, this isn’t a plug — I paid for it.) The woman stepped forward for a closer look, then peered inside the window and exclaimed: ‘Oh! It’s PIERS!’ I put on my best faux modest face, opened the window, and smiled back.

‘Hello.’ ‘I love your car!’ she sighed.

‘Thanks, so do I.’ ‘And I love your show too!’ ‘Thanks, so do I!’ This was in danger of becoming a parrot impersonation contest.

Then she leaned in a little more. There was something eerily familiar about that face… ‘Blimey! It’s MELANIE!’ I exclaimed back.

Ms Griffith, star of one of my favourite movies, Working Girl, and wife of Antonio Banderas, giggled. ‘YES!’ I’d last seen her in 1992, when the aforementioned Planet Hollywood launched in Aspen, Colorado. That encounter was notable for the fact that I ended up having a snowball fight with her and her then husband Don Johnson — which appeared in The National Enquirer under the immortal headline: ‘Don and Melanie larking around with a pal’. Incredibly, Melanie remembered it well. ‘You peppered me with snowballs,’ she said.

‘We get a lot of practice in England,’ I explained.

‘What is this car?’ ‘An Aston Martin Rapide, the only fourdoor they do. Means I can stick my new baby daughter in the back.’ ‘It’s beautiful,’ she sighed, stroking the silver bonnet in what I can only describe as a very seductive manner. I’d always dreamed of this moment happening, only with the bonnet and my roles reversed.

Melanie introduced me to her young companion, who turned out to be her stepson Jesse Johnson, Don’s boy by a previous relationship.

She’s battled various addictions in recent years but looks in great shape again. We chatted for a few more minutes, then she cooed one last time at the Aston before bidding farewell. It was a classically weird Hollywood moment.

FRIDAY, APRIL 20 Demi Moore has made the biggest move yet to separate herself from estranged husband Ashton Kutcher — she has decided to alter her Twitter name from @mrskutchertosomething…well, more appropriate.

‘Time for a twitter name change,’ she tweeted. ‘Any suggestions?’ Ever since GI Jane, I’d waited for an opportunity like this. ‘How about @ mrsmorgan ?’ I tweeted back.

Demi rose to the bait — retweeting me with the words, ‘I think that one is taken!’ to her nearly five million Twitter followers.

Hmm. That is not, unless I’m mistaken, a ‘no’. More of a tantalising — ‘maybe one day if the title becomes available’.

Urgent discussions are needed with the current Mrs Morgan. I’m sure she’ll be understanding.


Below: Melanie Griffith, who bumped into Piers in an LA shopping centre


  1. wolf tamer and tree puncher -  November 25, 2013 - 6:24 am

    Wow! I can listen to songs in my head. If I’ve heard them b4, I can repeat them in my mind, complete with the exact tone of the singer. Can any1 else do that?

    Speaking of which, what is the name of the song that goes, “This is how it starts/Lightning strikes the heart” and who sings it? It’s stuck in my head and I can’t for the life of me remember where I heard it.

  2. [...] When Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot, the bullet wound was affecting her brain near the area that controls speech. It was unclear whether she would be able to speak again. But through music therapy, she was able to start regaining her speech and vocabulary! Check out the article here. [...]

  3. [...] When Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot, the bullet wound was affecting her brain near the area that controls speech. It was unclear whether she would be able to speak again. But through music therapy, she was able to start regaining her speech and vocabulary! Check out the article here. [...]

  4. facebook fans -  February 21, 2012 - 9:36 pm

    Hi! I found your blog on .Its nicely written but it taught me to be a great deal.

  5. molly -  November 26, 2011 - 6:15 am

    Music possesses amazing powers to help heal, relax, and invigorate. It soothes the savage beast.

  6. Tina -  November 24, 2011 - 4:54 pm

    I studied the drums after 4 rounds of intensive chemo back in the early 90′s. I had a notion it might help bring me back. I was unable to write my name , read a simple sentence, or recall a simple statement. It was a struggle- but it worked after 3 months of study- my memory started coming back in short bursts- like videos in my head. I really believe using my brain to study music was the best therapy I could gotten . I mastered the drums and now I study the harp. I unfortunately worked in a moldy school that poisoned me and took me back to the bottom line.Once again after getting medical treatments the notion of music came back to me. I wanted to see if it was just a fluke the first time. There definitely is some sort of relationship between the sound of music and healing. For some unknown reason playing the harp helps me manage my pain. My oncologist wants me to play for the Oncology ward in the near future. That is my goal- to give back- even if it’s just a moment or two of relief.

  7. susie -  November 22, 2011 - 4:12 pm

    Dear Dorothy,
    Yes, Lucifer created music and was God’s worshipleader till his fall.
    The books of Psalm, Song of Solomon, Proverbs and Isaiah reinforce music, songs and worship. Not exhaustive list though.
    Pregnant women are better off with listening to worship songs or classical music…they produce clever children it seems.

  8. Dorothy -  November 21, 2011 - 4:55 pm

    I believe there is a connection between “God” (or the collective consciousness) and math and music.

  9. victor -  November 21, 2011 - 3:15 pm

    Now i know why I can’t get a song out of my head

  10. RVargas21 -  November 21, 2011 - 3:02 pm

    ch3ru,I love languages :D and admire those who speak quite a few languages. :). I’m curious,how many languages do you speak if I may ask?

  11. Arcanis -  November 21, 2011 - 2:47 pm

    perhaps they can let us listen to music during english class

  12. Nedra Russ -  November 21, 2011 - 7:45 am

    I lay in a induced coma from a car accident, coded 3 times, 110 broken bones the Dr. said if I lived I would be vegetable and never walk they asked my loved ones what makes Nedra happy they said music, so they put head phones on me and I started getting better. I remember a dream where I was dancing and so happy, so yes i do walk and talk and make music now!

  13. Dominic -  November 21, 2011 - 7:33 am

    That’s pretty cool. I do like music.

  14. Shannon -  November 21, 2011 - 7:15 am

    Sweet!! Music helps improve vocabulary?! I LOVE music!! I usually learn vocab through reading books, but this is WAY better!! Sign me up!! :D

  15. bjvl -  November 21, 2011 - 6:41 am

    “Through the mesh of our perceptions music seems to reach
    To the nerves we grow to notice how emotion colors speech.
    Speed and pitch and volume held relaxed or urgent vibes
    In the wordless cries and chatter of pre-neolithic tribes.
    If the stimulus is missing, the pathways never grow
    How far back does music go?”
    –How Far Back Does Music Go, by Echo’s Children

    Like treating the whole body, treating the whole brain is a wiser (and ultimately more efficient) way to go.

  16. Teacher of Music as Art -  November 21, 2011 - 5:48 am

    45 Years ago I taught a class in music at the NC Cerebral Palsy Hospital which included my totally handicapped daughter. I was testing out the
    theory that brain damaged people could learn if the message was sung to
    them. One child, whose name I have now forgotten was about to be discharged from the hospital as hopeless. During my class I sung the alphabet letters and tried to get those who could to write their name. She did it. I grabbed the paper and rushed down to the Director of the program,a PT named Edna Blumenthal. She grabbed the paper and ran
    to the Director. The child was kept in the hospital, given new therapy and today she is normal and has a college degree, is married and teachers school.

  17. Widow's Son -  November 20, 2011 - 9:56 pm

    i can see who is the musician and who is the clunker posting here. two ears, one mouth … music centers in our being allow us to praise more effectively…that is why they are there

  18. jt72 -  November 20, 2011 - 7:34 am

    Dr. Oliver Sachs is one of the most inspiring and amazing men whom I have had the good fortune of knowing for many years, as my mother worked with him and his patients while I was growing up. He realized many years ago that people who suffered from Traumatic Brain Disorders of various degrees and could not walk or talk but were able to sing and dance. He has so many amazing stories – you can read his writings in the New Yorker or get a hold of his various books. It is beyond fascinating. His charity is called Music Has Power and we have raised a lot of money (still never enough) for this research as well as to help patients receive music therapy more and more.

  19. Bojan Topalovic -  November 20, 2011 - 7:14 am

    I was listening to some music involving high speed beats and it made me read faster.

  20. Deborah Taylor-French -  November 20, 2011 - 5:24 am

    Thanks for this brief and to the point reporting on what brain-based science is discovering treating trauma to the verbal portion of the brain. What science is proving now, is what music educators have observed in students and in working with senior citizens.

    Now that most USA school music programs have been cut and children are not taught to sing, will we as a society have less ability to benefit from music?

  21. Ashley -  November 20, 2011 - 3:14 am

    The story on the Wired website related to this article is very interesting. No wonder why it’s said that classical music aids in the learning knowledge.

  22. Tony -  November 20, 2011 - 2:43 am

    Great article!
    However, I listen to melodically and structurally complex music such as melodic death metal, symphonic death/black metal and above all else mathcore (progressive metalcore) which all require some concentration to fully appreciate, or just flat out grabs your attention to a certain melody. This in turn shifts my (perpetually divided) attention away from the words I’m learning off a list and results in inefficiency in learning the words.

    So, my thesis is, not all music will help you learn words XD

  23. D.Botello -  November 19, 2011 - 8:19 pm

    correction: I meant to say “phonetic languages (such as English, Spanish, French) use the LEFT brain”

  24. D.Botello -  November 19, 2011 - 7:40 pm

    I completely relate to this article. I have left temporal lobe epilepsy, and seizures occur in the language area of my brain. A symptom of the seizure would be that I could not speak, or it would come out as nonsense. As a result, I had the left front portion of my hippocampus and the left amygdala removed my senior year of university. Because of this I was compelled to learn about the brain, and majored in neurobiology and psychology.
    I have always displayed a dominant right brain and had difficulty with some left-brain subjects. Age 4 through university I took piano lessons and composed music. I played easily by ear (which I heard is more right-brained) and found it more difficult to read the notes (which I heard was more left brained), so I often sounded out a piece I heard on the radio and enjoyed playing some songs with my eyes closed. In addition, I had difficulty learning English, Spanish, and French, yet found Mandarin (a tonal and pictorepresentative language) very easily. I heard phonetic languages (such as English, Spanish, French) use the right brain, whereas pictorepresentative ones use the right brain. I found the musical (the pitch , rhythm,etc…) aspect of Mandarin Chinese made it really easy to pronounce the words, and the smaller size of the vocabulary (in relation to Spanish or French) and easier grammar made it easier to learn.
    Recently I graduated from law school and was studying for the bar. I found law school difficult, not only because of the size of the reading, but because I had to memorize so many facts and rules (which is not my forte as it is a left brained ability). However, during the finals and the bar I found that if I put the words to music I could remember them so much easier. I found myself singing them in the shower and in my head while in public. As this article reads, the music probably enabled me to actively memorize key legal words and easily recall them during the exam, despite the difficulty I have with my left brain and language center.

  25. jana -  November 19, 2011 - 3:46 pm

    Mike Rowland (The Fairy Ring, Silver Wings etc) and I have been working with brain trauma and special educational needs researching and identifying how music changes and affects cognition and motor skills for some time. In part we use singing, and in part we have been using Soundbeam, a sensor which stimulates physical responses.The sensor enables the ‘student’ or patient to play and create music, when language and words are more difficult to attain. However, the bottom line is that the musical mind,(see Paul Robertson of the Medici Quartet too on this) the source of our ability to think ‘in’ music (as most of us do) can be utilised, like another muscle,as stimuli to the neurological impulses needed to function. Vocalisation leads to verbalisation and words unfold along and from the melodies of the mind. In Alzheimer’s patients songs are remembered long after day to day words have been forgotten. It might imply that the primary senses of being are not the five physical senses, but mental, and emotional. Jana Rowland

  26. yayRay Shell :) -  November 19, 2011 - 3:00 pm

    Things about music:
    1. Helped me become less stressed
    2. Makes me have fun
    3. Improves memory by making me memorize the lyrics
    4. Listening to classical music while studying makes you do better on tests

  27. Noob -  November 19, 2011 - 2:20 pm

    i luv music already

  28. Paige -  November 19, 2011 - 1:30 pm

    This article explains why after I listened to a bunch of Backstreet Boys songs (which I have not listened to since I was eight) I started getting flashbacks of bits of my past which I have forgotten about.

  29. ch3ru -  November 19, 2011 - 1:12 pm

    Foreign languages and music come very easily to me, and it’s been that way since I can remember. Both my parents were musicians, so I was exposed to a lot of different musical elements when I was still in the single digits. I’m convinced that having used those areas of my brain constantly when I was little is the reason I’m been able to continue studying so many languages now (in my 20s) when language acquisition is supposed to get more difficult with age.

  30. perezjos -  November 19, 2011 - 11:45 am

    Hello, my name is Jose.
    I suffered a terrible car accident on January 2010 as I was coming back from Mexico. I was ejected out of the car as it was doing flips, and both sides of the highway stopped and called 911. I suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and went into coma for three weeks. As I woke up, I had lost much of my memory and what really helped me recover was music. The nurses let my parents know that TBI recoveries would take about 3-4 years to recover half way.
    My parents told me I would not do nothing but scream day and night after I woke up from the coma. My dad would sometimes want to sleep and I wouldn’t let him because of the screaming. He one day thought of bringing my iPod to see my reaction, and was pleased to see me start mumbling words. He then sang the song with me… trying to get me to sing louder, and so I did. The day I was introduced to music again, my brain began to work better.
    After the nurses told my parents how long it would take me to recover, everyone sees my recovery as a miracle. I am almost fully recovered in less than 2 years, and I know music was a big help with my recovery. I thank this article because I now see that science is improving by making studies about music, and how it helps the brain learn faster.

  31. Barbara Crowe -  November 19, 2011 - 11:19 am

    There are trained professionals, Music Therapists-Board Certified, who have done this type of work with music for over 60 years here in the US. I teach at 1 of 75 colleges and universities that train Music Therapists in this country. It is not just the music but the trained music therapist using the music that makes the greatest impact, including with Gabby Giffords, who works with an MT-BC.

  32. lexicon -  November 19, 2011 - 10:41 am

    yeah. oliver sacks.

  33. Music and Language -  November 19, 2011 - 8:03 am

    [...] How music helped Gabrielle Giffords relearn words | The Hot Word | Hot & Trending Words Daily Bl…. [...]

  34. SANDY -  November 19, 2011 - 5:26 am

    Music for me is a great feel good. for example today, it’s cold, I listened to some reggae on my way to work, and I felt like it was a warm day, in the sun. wonderful!!!!

  35. Meloetta -  November 19, 2011 - 3:32 am

    Amen, RVargas21. I have unintentionally learned so much Japanese just from getting the theme songs to Japanimated shows caught it my head. Sing-alongs taught me the Spanish alphabet and many common words when I was young. And we can’t forget “The Slinky Sevens”. Though, really, I’m astonished you could learn anything. English is my first language and I can still hardly tell what most songs are saying! :D Kudos!

    Please note, I suspect musical overdosage leads to DISTRACTEDNESS AND COMPULSIVE TENDENCIES. Especially, if one makes a habit of trying to force listening to music over top of reading or solving equations. Must be a result of music’s repetitive nature.


  36. Juanita -  November 19, 2011 - 2:54 am

    I’m wondering why people who stutter can sing without stuttering?

  37. Jessica -  November 19, 2011 - 2:29 am

    well with me, stepping away from music for a moment usually I remember words and their definitions better if there is a memory attached to it. Music helps to string words together, and you build memories of words from catchy jingles, rhymes, songs which are inevitably likely to stick with you and pop up, when you feel something special or try to recapture a moment.

  38. sMiley -  November 19, 2011 - 2:17 am

    Every time i study my lesson, I always listen to music. It helps me on remembering the words that I studied. Sometimes I create music from my examination topics and I suddenly got perfect! For me music is the best way in remembering something!:)

  39. A G Maxwell -  November 19, 2011 - 1:40 am

    Music can be seductively attractive, it can be listened to because it can haunt you, words you wouldn’t attune to hadn’t they been in bewitching tones. It can be dangerous, it can be an escape route and reality can be fled from. Some of the most stupid things are sung, they are not said.

  40. jiya -  November 19, 2011 - 1:26 am

    i am a skin patient suffering since seven years and i can grantee that music really soothes my nerves and helps me overcoming all the anxiety of mine of the whole day …. really a nice article …. loved it

  41. sonia -  November 19, 2011 - 12:57 am

    Does it have to be only the type of music that the individual likes?

  42. Annie72 -  November 19, 2011 - 12:24 am

    I found this out myself last year when I had two concussions in the same year. I had a real hard time reading books for any length of time and had trouble remembering words.

    I remembered an Alzheimer’s patient at a nursing home I’d volunteered at years ago and how she couldn’t speak or feed herself, but when someone played an old song she’d hum along.

    I put on music and was finally able to get through a page in my favorite book. It’s been a year now, and I’m doing much better. Still have some problems, but I’ll never forget the small victory I had in my recovery the day I found my “back door” back into what has always been an important part of my life.

  43. aditi sharma -  November 19, 2011 - 12:21 am

    music is my life when it com i feel this is gorgeous presence of music

  44. Archon -  November 18, 2011 - 11:27 pm

    @ Tobias Mook

    Too late! Somebody already brought religion into this thread. Oh wait! It was you!

  45. Meowster -  November 18, 2011 - 11:26 pm


  46. Lee Harris -  November 18, 2011 - 11:10 pm

    The referenced article in Wired magazine talks about how anticipation and peak musical experiences are implicated in the release of dopamine and ultimately, in feelings of pleasure. My goodness–imagine what J. S. Bach could have done had he had access to these startling insights of modern science.

  47. Priya -  November 18, 2011 - 10:39 pm

    It certainly soothes my nerves but to forget keeps me fit .

  48. DR FARYAL -  November 18, 2011 - 10:36 pm

    Actually the words with melody made our brain stimuli and increase its efficiency to hear, understand,and keep the words for long time thats why it would may be helpful for recovery of neuropathy …..so let it is the time to make experiments n discoveries

  49. Hymie Blymaphebious -  November 18, 2011 - 9:24 pm

    Raymond – true, but it doesn’t have to be orchestrated at all though to involve acute sensory perception from hearing. it can be as simple as an environmental sound.

  50. WendyG. -  November 18, 2011 - 8:48 pm

    Absolutely agree with this… I teach jr. high students and my class can’t just get started if I don’t have the CD player on.

    It makes my students concentrate the most. It’s very interesting knowing how they learn by this method. It’s just amazing! =D

  51. ☺KitKats♫♥ -  November 18, 2011 - 8:24 pm

    Isn’t it AMAZING???????????????????????????????????????

  52. Ruma -  November 18, 2011 - 8:22 pm

    our physics professor once encouraged us in sitting for SAT exam. He quoated the name of a research paper that shows how music helps the psyche to learn 1000 words a day.

  53. rahem -  November 18, 2011 - 6:46 pm


  54. Amanda -  November 18, 2011 - 6:42 pm

    I agree, humans naturally favor music, its a part of who we are. That’s why there’s so much things in our lives that involve music: the radio, advertisements, games, TV shows, etc. Music can also help us learn English, how do you think everyone knows the alphabet? The ABC song! And haven’t you ever watched those videos where little kids learn things by rapping or singing them? This article is so true and interesting!!! :)

  55. Julia -  November 18, 2011 - 6:38 pm

    classical music stimulates the learning process………….

  56. Julia -  November 18, 2011 - 6:37 pm

    classical music stimulates the learning process

  57. Fel -  November 18, 2011 - 5:51 pm

    For Christians, we learn that the purpose of human creation is to praise God. In fact, if you read the last book of the Bible, it seems that we will do nothing else in heaven but praising God through songs. No wonder music is an integral part of our existence.

  58. TETO -  November 18, 2011 - 4:54 pm

    Interesting that no one mentioned that music can be an irritant as well. I’m 89 and well remember when I was between five and eighty years old how I disliked the syrupy Wayne King or Guy Lombardo sounds my aunt Stell loved and forced the girls in her band to play. Mama was one of them, on sax or drums. Then the utter exhilaration Mama and I felt when we knew “The Jigs were coming to town.” bringing with them the strong, wonderful beats that we needed to come alive. The down part was when they left and took their beat and our life with them and left us bereft knowing they wouldn’t be back for a long, long time. That was in Dead Moines (as mama called it) Iowa. Later it was Dizzy, Coltrane & Miles whom I miss terribly. Now I swim with people my own age or younger who love KJOY radio which is my present irritant. I fell 8 ft onto the back of my head(broke nothing) but my taste in music never changed. Two houses recently sold to lovely black ladies and I’m so happy. They will probably like the music I like best.

  59. richard thomas -  November 18, 2011 - 3:22 pm

    Music helps you remember your childhood,and everything you see growing up,especially a girl or someone you loved.

  60. Ahmad Faizul -  November 18, 2011 - 2:29 pm

    Cool. Music help me to stay focus

  61. Vikhaari -  November 18, 2011 - 2:25 pm

    Isn’t this something! Believe it or not… I too had to have surgery in the left side of my brain in 1969. Left side is academic side/language, while the right is creative/music (this, music, I learn now and the like undestandably creative). I had aneurysm.

    In the 2nd paragraph of article notes music is very unique to brain. It’s true (after reading, understanding the piece, and remembering my past situation).

    1969 was definitely a long period of time when I had the surgery and above all I was a teenager and had very little knowledge regarding anything, that and English lang.

    I need to relate a story and little about me (and I am sorry because you’ll naturally be bored; however, I don’t know any other way). Currently, I undergo a very difficult situation rendered by my postsecondary school (U of T, authority; since July 2008). Because of this, I have taken up visiting maundirs/temples; otherwise, I am a non….

    I live in Oshawa, Ontario,…. I have a driving license, but no car since 2002. So I have no choice but to take public transport(s), sometimes 3 or 4 to get to my destination; hence, I am always late reaching my chosen temple. It was on one Sunday, I heard some enchanting and fantastic Sanskrit mauntrau (to you mantra), I too joined in quietly and pronounced and chanted along; I hummed after words and much later as it churned continuously/continually in my head/brain; it went on for minutes, hours and even days. I felt better. The feeling was so profound, I can’t describe. I was happy, at peace, some kind of bliss. As I was feeling good, I thought of it as definite healing, which I needed to feel better from my noted postsecondary school’s activity/behavior to a student aged 63 (last year)… alone, and, of course, issues of race, class, forgive me, COLOUR too among many…. I think this must be told.

    To come back to the original, so it is DOPAMINE, the neurotransmitter that surges/secretes in the brain upon listening to music and the like is the key. Dopamine is something that gives pleasure, and from this one naturally feels good; feeling good helps, possibly, focusing, concentrating on learning. (English is not my first lang and after 1969 I too listened to top of the pops in England under Jimmy Savile, Tony Blackburn disk jokies … I too learned the words, sentences etc from music/songs. I won’t be surprised if it was kind of same process, perhaps, going on in me by myself)

    Now/Then music’s pitch and rhythm come to act to play in the drama along with essential speech. All “interpreted in different areas of brain…” meaning I hope left and right side of brain (or else I’ll be totally lost) because to me left is for academic/lang and right deals with creativity, that is, music and such. As pitch and rhythm like to mix and mingle with each other or among one another with speech…the genesis of new reality—new lang—begins here, creative side right side, to take charge to give birth—NEO-LANG area—that must learn and recognize that what used to belong to a permanent domain to lang area/left side. No more. The left brain is weak …

    “Brain is fluid,” I was told by my local library head when the highly educated gentle man heard that I was ALMOST to finish my bachelor’s degree….

    PS: Forgive me for the length and poor writing.

  62. Diane -  November 18, 2011 - 2:07 pm

    Sometimes, music tickles.

  63. Alex -  November 18, 2011 - 2:02 pm

    This is really marvelous! I’ve always sensed that the way humans are able to engage with music is rather nuanced and complicated. This little article really gives composers like me some serious food for thought.

  64. Laura P -  November 18, 2011 - 1:59 pm

    Many years ago, my Great Aunt was in a nursing home after a major stroke. She had no movement on one side, her face drooped and her speech was unintelligible…until a volunteer came to the nursing home and played the piano and everyone was singing. She sang along and her words were completely understandable.

  65. Julie -  November 18, 2011 - 1:30 pm

    My 13 year old son has his earphones on 24/7. He’s a bright kid with mild ADD. If he doesn’t have his music on, he will sit in front of his math and his mind will wonder. He can’t concentrate. With his music on, he has no problem doing the work. One time, I caught him playing Mozart on the piano while listeing to a rock song on his headphones. Something I could never do (nor want to). I’ve heard that music turns on/stimulates a part of the brain which is normally inactive in people with ADD. To answer Jay’s question about why men like lound music and women are always asking you to turn it down. Maybe it’s not a boys versus girls thing. Maybe it’s whether or not you have ADD, which is more prevalent in boys. Best wishes to Miss Giffords. She’s a fighter!

  66. Radhika -  November 18, 2011 - 11:55 am

    Wow! is the word. I sing Indian classical music and I am a Technology specialist as well. The last few years of my life has been soaked in music and it surely feels good. The improved concentration I have in doing all tasks is tremendous, it is like my brain has been re-wired.
    Very thankful to music…

  67. EarlyMusicLover -  November 18, 2011 - 11:48 am

    This is a terrific learning tool. In elementary school my music teacher taught us the 50 states with a song. I still remember this song today.

  68. Rico KG -  November 18, 2011 - 11:44 am

    yooooooooo does any body want 2 chat…….but yea thats koooolllll

  69. Heather -  November 18, 2011 - 11:41 am

    So interesting! My first year of college, I was in choir and learned to sing Maurice Durufle’s Requiem in Latin. I do not speak Latin or understand the language, but still, 7 years later remember how to sing and pronounce almost all of the words of the Requiem. (it’s a very long piece).

  70. Jacob -  November 18, 2011 - 11:35 am

    For me yes. I think and write better when I have some music playing the in background.

  71. Thomas Pain(e) -  November 18, 2011 - 11:30 am

    Search on “D a v i d I c k e – Decoding The Matrix”

  72. caher -  November 18, 2011 - 11:26 am

    I knew it… I stop listening music as much as I used to.
    And now that I am trying to get back to my old ways… It make sense to read
    this article that the only thing is doing for me
    is to reassured that I was on the right track.

  73. Dielle Ciesco -  November 18, 2011 - 11:21 am

    Just as much as it is true we are comprised of atoms and cells, organs and tissues, we are also made of music. Words, music, languages– it’s all vibration. That is why sound will be the medicine of our not so distant future.

  74. uncle_fester -  November 18, 2011 - 11:11 am

    Well, Tobias, then why did you?

  75. MonikAr -  November 18, 2011 - 10:56 am

    Actually yes, very interesting to see how much “power” does the mind have, in this case the brain is such a miracle, music is wonderfull, and I am very glad they tried this new theraphy. I bet it will help a lot of people in the future! :)

  76. RVargas21 -  November 18, 2011 - 10:40 am

    English is my second language (Spanish is my mother tounge), and I can tell you that music helped a lot when learning new words and language structures when I first started learning English. I would listen to a song and read along the lyrics and whatever new word or new grammar I bumped into, I would remember it and learn it fast -all because of maybe the rythm of the song.I still keep on learning new words and structures through music. :).
    Music is also very suggestive of old memmories, so I think it’s a great thing that they’re using music to help bring back long-lost
    memories to Alzheimer’s patients’s mind. Interesting article!!!

  77. RPalmer -  November 18, 2011 - 10:34 am

    I had a skiing accident that resulted in severe brain damage when I was 12. I had excellent care and therapy during my month-long hospital stay, but only started full recovery by playing the piano in the lobby. This activity helped a lot in my neural “re-routing,” especially because it forced me to use both hands. Today, I play viola as part of a symphony and work as a writer. I am eternally thankful for music in my life and in my recovery. Music therapy for head injury patients is spot on.

  78. Satchfreak -  November 18, 2011 - 10:09 am

    Interesting. I find that when I listen to music it helps me concentrate.

  79. Jay -  November 18, 2011 - 9:59 am

    Dopamine is right! But why is the loud music loved by males for the “rush” (not Rush) it causes, not equally loved by females i.e. the “turn it down! it’s too loud” whine I’m sure all males can relate with. Is it that the dopamine triggers adrenaline in males and not in females? Men are stupid and will damage their hearing for a “rush”? Female hearing is more acute? The hormone cascade triggers different reactions in females? Females are just lame and don’t get what loud music is all about? Females are jealous of the intensity of male emotion caused by loud music? I don’t know where to go with this? Help, anyone?

  80. LEtisha -  November 18, 2011 - 9:16 am

    I agree with this:))))<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3

  81. Behnam -  November 18, 2011 - 9:09 am

    hi. i am an English Translator . i just copy your text on my computer and read it.
    thanks for writing this text.
    god bless you.
    have fun

  82. Maria -  November 18, 2011 - 8:43 am

    I agree with this study,most of the persons likes music a- lot is very good on lenguage.I am one of them.

  83. Elise E. -  November 18, 2011 - 7:43 am

    My daddy says the music we listen to affects the way we live our lives. So we should listen to good, clean music.

  84. middle c -  November 18, 2011 - 7:30 am

    Just google “the Mozart effect” and you will find lots of info on using music to enhance the brain’s capabilities. The name goes back to the 1991 book Pourquoi Mozart? by French academic Alfred Tomatis. The Wikipedia article is a good place to start learning about this.

  85. RachelAllison -  November 18, 2011 - 7:19 am

    Wow… very interesting. I listen to lots of music while I’m working on school work or anything of that sort and for the most part it helps my concentration. I love music for the character it contains. Especially classical. When you listen to classical music you can practically hear a conversation between the instruments and it always tells an interesting story. Music definitely encourages my creativity and, in many cases, helps me write.

  86. ed -  November 18, 2011 - 7:14 am

    I wonder if that’s why people who speak English as a second language seem to have a sing-song delivery.

  87. Cyraus -  November 18, 2011 - 6:23 am

    Music is such an important part of life, I believe. I can’t create or write music, but I surely can appreciate it, especially Baroque pieces. It conjures such inspiration, regardless of what type of music it is.
    I may not care for some genres, like country or rap, but I realize that there is no such thing as good or bad music. It all depends on opinion, so that means that everyone should at least appreciate if not like the different genres of music.

  88. Glenn -  November 18, 2011 - 6:21 am

    When I lived in Japan I used to listen to pop music to learn words and phrasing. I felt like I could retain new Japanese phrases more if they had been part of a song I had learned. I wonder if the same concept was in play.

  89. Owen -  November 18, 2011 - 6:17 am

    Interesting idea. But it makes a lot of sense, my 3 year old picks up quite a few words from the songs we listen to. She does a decent job pronouncing both Exceptional and Collaborate thanks to both The A.N.T. Farm CD and Vanilla Ice.

  90. Nikki Anthony -  November 18, 2011 - 6:12 am

    I work with loud anoying people. Thank goodness I have an ipod to block out the noise. It really helps me focus!!

  91. ana -  November 18, 2011 - 5:49 am

    Music really makes me high… Now I know its because of the surges of dopamine.. I wonder how much my brain produces..?? I think more than required.. LOL!!

  92. Ole TBoy -  November 18, 2011 - 5:31 am

    It seems that, after music, the next strongest phenomena in bringing us back through time to relive an old experience is odor, aroma, smell.

    Whenever and wherever I am when I smell a certain paint odor I am instantly 19 again and back in college, painting the walls of a new lab theatre I and other students were building in the basement of a dorm.

  93. Louis Rossi -  November 18, 2011 - 5:21 am

    I am now 80 years old.in 1950 i was in the U.S. Navy. i was in the engine room on a ship we had 4 large engines (G.M. 1278a’s) at full power the noise was oppresive.No ear protection. i would sit between the engines and think of a song and remember a complete song word for word. when the engines were shut down i could not remember the words no matter how i tried.After all these years i have thought about about this,and wondered about this, but who do you tell, and why.

  94. Eduardo -  November 18, 2011 - 4:31 am

    that’s a very interesting piece of information. Music is lovely to hear and we spent time listen to it, so we are neither wasting time, but improving our brains as well.

  95. Yosh Garcia -  November 18, 2011 - 2:11 am

    Brilliant! I’ve always worked better with music, and seen many posts on social networking sites stating things along the lines of “I can remember the lyrics to over 300 songs that span more than a decade, but I can’t remember the elements on the periodic table” etc.~ I wish we learned everything in song… I don’t think I would ever really forget!

  96. GAK -  November 18, 2011 - 1:53 am

    yap, this is really interesting and I know it’s work more than we expect but we should care about the selection of the songs because sad music make you sad and give you gloomy kind of imagination and happy and zest songs give you happy and fine imagines .

    like poems children’s always remember with re-thyme. it’s work.

  97. HariLari70 -  November 18, 2011 - 1:22 am

    Interesting, but does it matter what type of music the patient/person listen too? E.g. which is better for a patient and/or person wishing to develop this particular area of the brain: Mozart or Green Day?

  98. monikaa -  November 18, 2011 - 12:45 am

    ya its very intersting

  99. mnm -  November 18, 2011 - 12:30 am

    my father is a neurologist, and an architect. His is an infinite influence to my sound work, mostly voice processing in text sound. stimulating the brain through sound is not mysticism, it is precision healing from the body to the body.

  100. Blue sock -  November 17, 2011 - 11:59 pm

    This is really amazing and interesting! Definitively good news for patients with brain injuries. I find listening to music while doing homework helps me concentrate and if I need to remember a bulk of information I make up a song about it :) A great strategy.

  101. A-man -  November 17, 2011 - 11:11 pm

    music is just straight awesome. EVERYONE like music in one form or another. haha i still sing the states song when i need to remember certain names of states or something like that.

  102. Music Lady -  November 17, 2011 - 10:31 pm

    Music helps relax the brain. The brain registers and learns information better when it’s relaxed than it is stressed. One time I was up all night studying for an exam and played music while I was studying. If I didn’t have music on, I would’ve been really stressed, gotten bored of studying, and fell asleep. But I don’t always turn the music on when studying, but it does relax you when you’re stressed. It doesn’t work for everyone, everyone has his/her own technique and style of learning. I appreciate we have music in this world, music brings everyone together :).

  103. Just One -  November 17, 2011 - 9:52 pm

    The ae’s u see in spelling is a little on purpose hehe but yea

  104. Chad -  November 17, 2011 - 9:24 pm

    “This is Your Brain on Music” is another great book on the subjects of music and cognition.

  105. Kathleen -  November 17, 2011 - 8:34 pm

    Huh… Never knew that.

  106. Melinda -  November 17, 2011 - 8:14 pm

    My mother had Alzheimer’s, and my siblings were terribly distraught because they couldn’t communicate with her effectively. I however had no such problem. You see, I became the choir director of the adult choir at my church in my early 20’s. My mother, who was a member of this choir and had been before I was born, taught me the parts to many anthems that the choir used to sing long before I took over. Even though I had the sheet music before me, she was bent on singing S.A.T.B for me. So I when she had this disease, I would sing some of the anthems such as the Hallelujah Chorus and Glorious Is Thy Name that we used to sing together in the better days. She would start singing with me, and in a few minutes, she would become lucid and we would have some sensible conversation.

  107. P Davies- Carr -  November 17, 2011 - 7:52 pm

    This reinforces my opinion that music is a very important intelligence and that its power should be harnessed by teaching it in all our primary schools. I have been a music teacher all my life and I am sad that the powers that be do not see this simple truth.

  108. falak -  November 17, 2011 - 7:46 pm

    yea in my school our teacher used to help us learn the names of the islamic months by making it into a song, as well as abc.
    but it does divert my concentration level. eg when i am studying and if i listened to a song before that, it would just keep filling my head and i cant get rid of it for a long time.
    i have stopped listening to songs now cux they are not allowed by my religion except religious songs without musical instruments and i experience that my concentration problem has been cured alhamdulillah. my head’s never full of song so i can study peacefully now. alhamdulillah.
    and when i listen to one of the nasheeds of Ahmed Bokhatir etc it’s delightful, peaceful, and pleasant music to relax me.

  109. None of ur business -  November 17, 2011 - 7:21 pm


  110. madsmuk -  November 17, 2011 - 7:14 pm

    i’m a prof. I’ve found that students pick up language and concepts easier when we use songs in class.

  111. Aaron Archual -  November 17, 2011 - 7:05 pm

    I am a musician and am currently trying to write a book on how music came to be, how music effects people, and what music has the power to do. My philosophical view is that music is one of the most powerful things on the earth(if not THE most powerful thing on earth). I believe this because music is more psychological than just understanding the words and sounds and because people are so naive of what it can do. I believe this to the point that music can literally tell you what to do without you even knowing. I believe that music can do much more than calm the savage beast, and this can clearly be seen by this tragic, yet hope filled, story. Perhaps one day, doctors will regularly prescribe “musical therapy”. Music can indeed do wondrous things. I know that from experience. As of now, i literally cannot go more than a day without music without going through symptoms of music withdraw.

  112. Ashley -  November 17, 2011 - 6:59 pm

    Music has also been known to help babies develop.

  113. Tobias Mook -  November 17, 2011 - 6:52 pm

    I really hope someone doesn’t bring religion into this comment thread. Really, really hoping.

  114. euni -  November 17, 2011 - 6:51 pm

    i don’t know where to leave this concern, but I realized that there are words that are not here in dictionary.com. This is the first time I was not able to find the meaning of the word here. That word is HOAXSTER, taken from Reader’s Digest Asia September 2011 Issue, page 142.

  115. Phillip -  November 17, 2011 - 6:41 pm

    Knew that it can help you learn I mean

  116. Phillip -  November 17, 2011 - 6:40 pm

    I actually knew this a few years ago

  117. ookiop -  November 17, 2011 - 6:37 pm


  118. Yvette -  November 17, 2011 - 6:23 pm

    And yah that was also learned in dreams too. Hiding secrets will come after you in this life and afterwards.

  119. Patrice -  November 17, 2011 - 6:06 pm

    Quite interesting. The wonderful part is we don’t have to wait until an injury to apply the techniques.

  120. Amanda -  November 17, 2011 - 5:33 pm

    I can understand what you’re saying, A-18-K, I write sometimes, little bits and pieces here and there and i like listening to instrumental and really any type of music to help me. most of the time when i listen music though i just daydream haha :]P

  121. Jin -  November 17, 2011 - 5:20 pm

    This is simply amazing. Hopefully this would be in widespread use

  122. laura -  November 17, 2011 - 5:12 pm

    well, I’ve learned all the presidents in order, all the states alphabetically, and every single king and queen of England.


    Because they were all put to song! It’s also been proven that choir helps with phrasing (i.e. not reading like a robot) and band helps with math and science because of the patterns and fractions in music.

    I’m tellin’ ya, music is a POWERFUL thing!

  123. DictionFan -  November 17, 2011 - 4:35 pm

    This shouldn’t be any wonder. Soothing music, especially classical, can help sooth brain wounds and lift morale of the patient, therefore speeding the recovery. Other songs with easy-to-memorize lyrics like “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” can help specifically with repairing language.

  124. Niya -  November 17, 2011 - 4:17 pm

    wOw. isn’t this something? how, just by listening to music we can regain the language that some of us were born to know? i find it incredible! I love music & everytime I play it or listen 2 it, it takes my breath away. Every note, every lyric, every beat just makes me grateful for the brain that God gave me. =)
    wOw. isn’t this something? how, just by listening to music we can regain the language that some of us were born to know? me, i find it incredible!

  125. Troy LeDuc -  November 17, 2011 - 4:12 pm

    So what you are saying, is that if I listen to music in a different language, and I translate the song, I can learn that language?

  126. ciara -  November 17, 2011 - 4:09 pm

    now im goin to listen to music even more then i do now

  127. photosynthesis -  November 17, 2011 - 4:00 pm

    So music IS important! That’s cool that your brain uses lots of parts for music. Sad that schools consider it unimportant and have to decide whether musical education is worth as much as academic classes…

  128. Anemos -  November 17, 2011 - 3:42 pm

    Hah. I only suffer a little from drain bramage.


  129. Cathryn McCormack -  November 17, 2011 - 3:04 pm

    I can still remember all the books of the bible in order since learning them in a song in Sunday School over 40 years ago. As a result this approach strikes a chord with me.

  130. sherryyu -  November 17, 2011 - 2:29 pm

    yay im first , i had two brain injures but i only forgot a little about math and science

  131. A-18-K -  November 17, 2011 - 2:26 pm

    I’m a writer; I write both stories and poetry. Often I listen to music to inspire me to write. I have a lot of instrumental music, and I find that when I sit back and listen to it, that it takes me many places and teaches me many things. There are countless worlds in one song, and an entire galaxy in an album. ;)

  132. Nshera -  November 17, 2011 - 2:21 pm

    This is interesting. God forbid my family and/or I am in her condition, I know what to do.

  133. GIFFORDS | BLOGCHI@mayopia.com -  November 17, 2011 - 1:52 pm

    [...] Gabrielle Giffords and Kelly — We watched them both on the Telly –  The Space Man on the earth — and the Strong Woman of Worth — with a voice that is missed in a Cowardly Congress that’s Smelly. — Let the Tax cuts Expire — from the Top down the spire, — With Mental Health Care for Arizona’s Tea Party as Welly. –>>L.T.Rhyme This entry was posted in DEMOCRAZY, DICTCOMHOTWORD, L.T.Rhyme and tagged Democracy, LT, LTRhyme, the HOT WORD by admin. Bookmark the permalink. [...]

  134. Tori -  November 17, 2011 - 1:50 pm

    It’s true. sometimes my teacher will beat on a desk and sing our assignments to us and we never forget what to do.

  135. lezza -  November 17, 2011 - 1:41 pm

    ♪ Fifty nifty united states from thirteen original colonies ♫

    I can still recite all of the states in alphabetical order because of that stupid song.

  136. Maddy M. -  November 17, 2011 - 1:36 pm

    That’s amazing. It only inspires me more to continue down the path of music.

  137. Cyberquill -  November 17, 2011 - 1:35 pm

    No idea how music impacts my brain, if at all. I don’t have an MRI machine.

    Some French guy once created an artificial language based on musical pitches called “Solresol,” but it failed to catch on.

  138. Raymond -  November 17, 2011 - 1:18 pm

    Specifically, singing, (church once a week), helps calm the breathing process throughout the day– even when not singing….

    Fully orchestrated music with its complex tones and beatings (interference of higher-pitch phasing, moreso than merely performance rhythm) captures the natural sensibility-concentration (discernment of tone structure, moreso than the mere sensory alertness the Navy Seals use upon mission-engagement): But it also takes practice to hear as deeply as the master music composers.

    But… death by jingles could be a terrible waste: “Go go go for Cheerios….”

  139. Julie Manson -  November 17, 2011 - 12:44 pm

    This makes absolute sense in every way possible.

  140. Peter -  November 17, 2011 - 12:27 pm

    Check out the story (and music!) of Melody Gardot Both are amazing.


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