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Learning Styles: Auditory-Musical

Explanations and strategies for different types of learning styles.

Banner Learning Styles


Tips and Strategies

Teacher lecture

  • listen to instructions and information given orally
  • sit towards the front of the room so you can hear well and so that you won't be distracted by the noises other students make
  • sit away from doors, windows, and other sources of noise
  • repeat information silently to yourself
  • "subvocalize" as you take notes - repeat information to yourself as a quiet "mumble" that's barely audible

Text or Print learning

  • rehearse/repeat information either silently in your head, or out loud
  • study with a partner and take turns reading to each other - discuss key concepts
  • work in quiet areas to minimize hearing music, television or other distractions
  • if you prefer to study with music playing, choose something with no lyrics, and keep the volume low
  • use rhymes or jingles to help remember important points
  • talk to yourself about textbook diagrams and illustrations
  • ensure you understand by creating verbal descriptions
  • tape yourself summarizing key points, then play the tape as a memory rehearsal strategy
  • try to remember important terminology by thinking about how parts of the words sound
  • read instructions and questions out loud to yourself (or subvocalize in test situations)

How to learn best

You will learn best by:

  • spoken directions and instructions
  • discussion groups
  • reading aloud
  • recorded text - audio books or recorded lecture
  • reciting material to help you remember
  • teaching yourself through talking aloud
  • studying with a friend, discussing matrial aloud and teaching each other
  • recording your study notes so you can listen to them while travelling or exercising


Is this you?

Do you seem to most often have a "song in your head?"

Do you find yourself regularly strumming your fingers or tapping your pencil?

Can you sing well or play a musical instrument? Have others commented that you have strong musical abilities?

When you hear certain songs, does it evoke strong emotions?

A person with an aural learning style may often say these phrases:

  • That sounds good to me.
  • That name rings a bell.
  • Your voice is "music to my ears."
  • I am "tuning you out."
  • I hear you loud and clear.

Implications for learning

One of the most often used advantages is that aural learners can "set facts to music" which helps them to learn the information.

Aural learners can often "make up a song" about a concept to serve as a memory aid. Examples of this include "The Alphabet Song" which young learners use early in their education.

Another useful technique is to have music playing in the background as you are studying.

Aural learners often report that they can focus much better when music is present than in silence.

Some even report that during a test they can recall a song that was playing while they were learning certain facts.

Even persons with low levels of aural learning styles may find it useful to think of a popular jingle from a television commercial and "put the facts to music" using the rhyme and rhythm of the jingle as a memory aid.

A final strategy for aural learners is to identify music that motivates them.

Perhaps it is a song like "Eye of the Tiger" which stirs motivation. Then when beginning an exam or learning activity, the person can be humming that song to themselves to boost their motivation and confidence.

Musical Learner

Picture credit:

You Are a Musical Learner

Your mantra: That sounds good to me!

You probably sing to yourself while walking down the street. Keep it up! Musical intelligence is associated with enjoying music, singing (vocalists), making music (composers), and playing an instrument (instrumentalists). You are sensitive to sounds and the emotions music conveys. You have a unique ability to know when something is off key.

Tips for the way you learn:

  • Listen to music while you study to connect its patterns and sounds with the subject you are studying. Replay the same song just before a test.
  • Create a rhyme, song, or chant for material you would like to memorize.
  • Associate what you're learning with a song you like.
  • Use your ability to distinguish sounds as well as hear the beat, tone, or chord in a song by learning an instrument or mixing sound.