If you are trying to learn a language what is the best background music to listen to? This question raises some more questions connected to studying and music. The questions are:
- Can your mind focus on more than one thing at once?
- Should you listen to anything while trying to study?
- Should you listen to music before or after you are learn?
- What is the difference between background music and music that helps languages?
- What is the connection between music and languages?
- Which audio format is best for music? MP3 or wav etc?
- Has anyone ever really learned a language with MP3s?
I teach and study languages. I also write MP3 music for language learning. So I have some background in this music, MP3s and languages. The above questions are very relevant if you want to learn a language and are feel you do not have the gift to speak a foreign language.
Working memory and the ability to focus on multiple tasks
Working memory is the ability to hold multi bits of information simultaneously in your brain. This is important as complex though requires you to hold pieces of information that applies to another problem your brain is working on. People’s working memory varies. But it can be developed. There was a theory about 30 years ago innate and working memory could not be developed in adults. However, working with people with brain lesions and rehabilitation – I believe the opposite. The brain is very flexible and if you practice working on multi tasks your brain will adapt.
In theory your brain can not work on more than one thing at a time, rather it quickly goes back and forth between two tasks so quickly that it seems like you are multi tasking, much like the RAM on your computer. This is what experts say. Marylin vos Savant the IQ genius claims this. I think the opposite, you can multi task as the brain is always working on multi task. You brain is regulating your heart and breathing while it is subconsciously listening for danger, squelching out sub conscious thought and working on conscious problems with your steam of thought.
I think proof of this is when you are looking for something or can not solve a problem then latter while not focusing on it you have the aha, that is where it is, or that is the answer. Have you had this?
What does this have to do with languages, music and MP3s?
Everything, it means your brain can do many things at once, including listening to music while studying.
Should you listen to music while you study a foreign language?
It depends is one of the lamest answers on the Internet. I see it everywhere. Therefore, I will give you a direct answer. Yes. Listening helps you study. It helps you because:
- Music makes you enjoy studying – this is most important – time seems to be less tedious
- Music relaxes you in general and with less stress you can learn better
- Music endures brain waves conducive to learning
Listening to music after you study a language in a relaxed way helps the brain keep more information. For example studying for 40 minutes then laying down for 20 minutes listening to relaxing music will help your brain assimilate the information. Memories are built after the learning process. Like weight lifting your body breaks down musics during exercises and recovers and builds after. I think listening to music before as little effect.
What is the best background music to listen to while studying?
The answer is whatever you like and does not mess with you. I could never study to rock or jazz, it is too chaotic. On the other hand reggae is OK. Some people recommend Baroque music because of the timing brings you to an alpha state, but for me it’s too noisy and busy. I prefer chants or mystical music, anything that relaxes me and makes me want to stay in this place more. For me it is usually spiritually based, esoteric music, Gregorian chants or something peaceful and soothing. I guess I have to ask what music do you study with?
How are music and languages connected?
Rhythm and brain waves. If you’re using music to learn new words it has to have a rhythm that is catchy like a song kids sing. A strong simple melody. If you are listing to music for background music see the above. I think sound is the ultimate accelerated learning technique.
What is the best format for songs? The best format is MP3. Why? It is a compressed light weight MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3. You can fit like a million hours of word lists, dialogues, songs and music for languages on an iPod or cell phone.
Do you know anyone who has learned a langauge with MP3s or songs?
Yep, my wife learned English by talking to me and with listening to English language songs. I use sound to help me learn. I know many people who learn with music and even some polyglots. My daughter is learning languages this way. I think it is more a girl’s way to acquire a foreign language, but that is because women are really into dance. I think it goes right into your brain almost like a native because it opens your brain for learning.
If you want to try to create amateur MP3s for language learning music or word lists please contact me as I am trying to build a site for a free resource to others.