Can you hear the rhythm of learning?

Este año Hablaworld Learning Center es centro colaborador de la Real Orquesta Sinfónica de Sevilla.

En ocasión de cada concierto de la temporada 2018-2019, en Hablaworld haremos una master class específica para nuestros alumnos sobre los puntos en común entre la música y el aprendizaje de un idioma.

Para este primer concierto de hoy, 13 de septiembre 2018 y que celebra el Año Bernstein, queremos compartir en nuestro blog parte del contenido de la clase:

Can you hear the rhythm of learning?

As a language teacher browsing on the web for ideas, you often stumble over “Pop songs you can use in class”, “Learn English with lyrics”, which is all good and sometimes even insightful, but this year we’ve decided to give a step forward and understand what are the real benefits of music in language learning. Considering the purpose, we could not find a better partner than the ROSS (Orquestra Sinfónica de Sevilla), to better understand the relationship with classical music specifically.

To start with the obvious, classical music clearly provides a cultural advantage: it does express the culture of the mother country ,and it is today of greater importance as more and more soundtracks are drawing from classical and Baroque music. Not only does music have an advantage as a form of art itself, but it also links with other forms of human expressions, such as language. Leonard Bernstein, in 1973 gave a series of lectures from the title “The Unanswered Question”, aimed at providing a framework to illustrate the parallelism in ambiguity and expressivity over the 20th century in the Western World. Specifically, he talks about Phonology (the study of sound) Syntax (the study of structure) and Semantics (the study of meaning), making clear reference to Chomsky’s linguistic theories, popular at that time. It was fascinating to discover how the mysteries of language evolution paralleled other mysteries in art, and it is a journey we encourage you to take.

What if, you might say, I ignore the most basic thing of music? Can I not reap the benefits? Of course you can, we all can. In fact, there are some benefits that only the lays in music can get, that’s right. We are talking about the neurological benefits when it comes to relaxing your brain. In fact, the pitch and the rhythm of classical and Baroque music are compatible with the cyclic wave patterns of the brain (Paget 2006.). In other words, you can predict the brain responses to music, which then allows your brain to relax. Indeed, it is not even necessary to like classical music to get the benefits, because the ear automatically translates the sound into electricity.

Benefits are also clear in the case of reading, as the study form Ozernov-Palchik et al. 2018 show. Here they show that musical rhythm training can improve reading skills in children with dyslexia, as the music seems to enhance the phonological awareness and, subsequently, the reading skills.

Well, sounds like it’s music time!

R.J.Paget (2006) The Role of Music in Learning, BAAT Ltd

O. Ozernov-Palchik, A. D. Patel (2008) Musical rhythm and reading development: Does beat processing matter?. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences May 2008.

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