European Cortex

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November 03, 2003

Comments

brett

I once had Garth Brook's "Friends in Low Places" going through my head incessantly for a week.. which, I assure you, is pure torture for someone who doesn't like country (or western)

1050 lb.

I am convinced I lost 100 points on my SAT because Kansas' "Carry On My Wayward Son" was on the radio en route to the test. "Tossed about, I'm like a ship on the ocean..." Aaargh!

Steve Gigl

Is anybody else worried that the scientists we trust to work on our BRAINS have to resort to talking about "earworms" and "brain itch?" I know, I know, it's a good way to get popular (and therefore funded)...

I learned when I was a teenager what to do about songs that are stuck in my head. I had one song (Bon Jovi, sadly) that was stuck there for what felt like months, and once it went away I used it against other such songs; whenever a song was repeating in my head, I'd start reciting that "uber-earworm," and both songs would go away.

Now my problem is more subconscious: the muzak at work will occasionally crowbar a song into my head (although it's always the original version, not the muzak version). Thank God my boss got the muzak shut off in our office area...

Andrew Lodge

earworms (mbt) Ltd.

A new and unique concept in accelerated language learning.

We are a UK based team of educationists, teachers and musicians who have developed a concept of learning using the power of music to anchor information into deep the brain (The auditory cortex)

The science behind this concept has been well researched and the classroom results thus far have been quite phenomenal.

contact
Email: andrew@earwormslearning.com

Web:http://www.earwormslearning.com

main contacts

Mr Andrew Lodge (Managing Director)


earworms (mbt) - Accelerated learning - in a nutshell:

Teaching approach. How to memorise the target language.

Ever wondered why you just can't get that song out of your head? earworms uses this same brain function to boost the retention of words and phrases when learning a language. It's a well known fact that we use only a fraction of our brain power and traditional book learning is now recognised as not suiting every learner.

Course author Marlon Lodge recognised this early on in the context of his teaching and has developed simple techniques which open up and exploit more of the brain's native power. He explains: 'Music is an ideal medium for learning. It gets to deeper subconscious levels of your memory, and most people really enjoy it..Although you feel that you are just listening to music, subconsciously you are taking in masses of verbs, nouns and connecting words, and picking up the correct accent all the time!'

The idea is as simple as it is old. Before the age of writing, ancient historical events (e.g. in the Finnish sagas) were recorded in verse and song form for easy memorisation. In his book 'Songlines' Bruce Chatwin describes how the Australian Aborigines were able to navigate their way across hundreds of miles of desert to their ancestral hunting grounds without maps. And how? The extensive lyrics of their traditional songs were exact descriptions of the routes!

Rhythm and words, i.e. song and verse, have always been a very powerful memory aid, and this is supported by recent scientific research*. The advertising industry knows only too well how powerful music can be in getting the message across with brainwashing-like jingles and sound-bites. earworms (mbt) puts this potential to a positive educational use.

What you learn. How the courses are structured.

earworms adopts the so-called lexical approach to language. In essence, this means we look at language in terms of whole meaningful chunks, then break these down into their component bite-sized, easily digestible, easily absorbable parts and then reconstruct them. You not only learn complete, immediately useful phrases, you also intuitively learn something about the structure (the grammar) of the language.

These 'chunks' which the learner can 'mix and match', gradually build up to cover whole areas of the language.

This may sound logical to the layman, but it is only very recently that this approach (as expounded by Michael Lewis in his book 'The Lexical Approach') has been taken up in the classroom.

*In the March 2005 issue of the journal 'Nature' researchers at Dartmouth College in the US reported that they had pinpointed the region of the brain where 'earworms' or catchy tunes reside, the auditory cortex. They found that the sounds and words that have actually been heard can be readily recalled from the auditory cortex where the brain can perceptually hear or reconstruct them. Music, it seems, is the ideal catalyst to memorisation.

The UK demand for effective language learning.

Recent news and developments*

The UK government and the business community are insisting that we dramatically improve our language skills. Britain's economic future will be 'compromised' unless more students study foreign languages, according to Sir Digby Jones, the director-general of the CBI, and the government is supporting its appeal with structured programmes and financial backing, investing an extra £115 million in promoting language learning in 2005 plus £10 million for each year thereafter.

'Anyone who is serious about doing business in international context needs to wake up to the need for languages,' said Hugh Morgan Williams from the CBI. But the take-up of language learning programmes does not match this latent demand.

The reasons have a lot to do with our preconceptions of language learning - that it must be difficult, time consuming and dry, and this pretty much reflects the state of affairs in the UK language learning scene.

Learning through music and repetition is especially effective for young learners!

Given the widespread popularity of pop music especially in Britain, and the fact that music has been scientifically proven to be an excellent memory aid, earworms is a language learning tool 'made in heaven' for UK learners, especially young learners who the government has in its sights at the moment. The system has been extremely successful in classroom tests, and the resonance among teachers and pupils has been more than enthusiastic.

A common reaction has been 'Why hasn't this been done before?' or 'At last a learning product that really helps you to remember!'

Why hasn't music been used more in education up to now?

Imagine kids at school getting a CD of hip-hop songs with all the historical dates or all the French verbs they have to learn, or all the countries and capitals of the world! Wouldn't that make their (and teachers') school lives much easier, much more fun, much more successful.

Rest assured we are working on it.

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