By: Dr. Linda Carson
There has been research on earworms or stuck song syndrome, and basically we all experience this phenomenon. Familiarity is key and as a result, earworms are not unique to any genre of music, but they are unique to each person. There is just no denying that we have music memory, both short term and long term.
Can music memory be used for learning? YES! Music is a universal teaching tool used across cultures. Memory allows us to store and retrieve information, while learning allows us to make sense of it and apply it. Sometimes, for young children, singing songs that have content or messages helps them to both remember and apply the information or message. Most of us learned our ABC’s by singing the alphabet song and there are mothers who sooth their young children by singing nursery rhymes and lullabies that convey messages of love and comfort.
Click here to listen to samples.
Bottom line…while some adults find earworms annoying, stuck song syndrome is not all bad especially for young children and their families. If children’s songs deliberately include positive, healthy content and those songs are played repetitiously, it is likely that they will go to some memory bank in our brains. If you or your child can’t stop those songs from replaying in your minds, then that means the healthy content or messages are also stuck in your brains!
Caution: earworms work with all types of music played repetitiously so be very aware of the types of music that your child is exposed to in your home and in your car.
Let’s start a discussion of stuck song syndrome here by sharing your experiences with it. What songs have you experienced as earworms? And what children’s music have you found useful and sticky?