I’ve always wondered why I’m so good at remembering music lyrics. While driving down the highway, I sometimes find it astonishing that I could remember the lyrics of Taylor Swift’s “You Belong With Me” and without hesitation, sing along to it. I can remember catchy songs like this without even trying while my wife sitting next to me has problems remembering the name of the band who sang, “I don’t want to miss a thing”.
The weird thing is, my wife has a memory ten fold better than I have and simple tasks like remembering to take out the trash, bringing along her slippers when fetching her from work or, paying the house conservancy charges, always elude me. Surely there is a way to help me remember daily domestic chores easily like how I remember music lyrics.
So just how do we remember things like how we can remember the lyrics to hundreds or not thousands of songs? Check out these pointers to help you boost your memory if you’re like me.
1. Repeat and lock it in!
The reason why people remember music lyrics so well is because of practice. For me, I will first hum to a certain song if I like the tune. Then I’ll sub-consciously learn the lyrics (because I’ve never consciously told myself to learn a certain song as it would just seem weird) after listening to it several times and soon enough, I’ll be taking it to my own personal karaoke room – the showers.
What I’m doing here is practice. If there’s something to remember, we would have to lock it into our heads by repeating it several times. For example, if there are 3 important things you need to do before you leave the house, repeat it in a certain order. “Stove, windows, lights.” And given time, checking these 3 things before leaving house will be second nature to you.
2. Rapping it
The easiest songs to remember are those with words that rhyme. With that being said, I actually have friends that can remember rap lyrics better than songs with catchy tunes because most of the words rhyme so it really depends on which aspects can trigger you to remember a song.
Studies have shown that making things rhyme will be able to make us recall much easier so why not try to make your to-do list rhyme? If you have a shopping list to remember, create a simple rap song out of items on the list. For example, if you have avocados and detergents on the list, you can create a rap song such as, “I have to buy detergents because there’s too much germs. I have to buy an avocado that comes from San Tiago.”
By linking rhyme items to words such as germs and San Tiago, it’s easier for your brain to pick out the answers because there are lesser cues to consider.
Similar to putting everyday items into a rap to improve memory, creating associations to important things can give us an advantage in remembering. Think of your brain as a highway network. To get from point A to point B, you would have to look out for certain landmarks to know when to turn. The more landmarks there are, the easier for your brain to remember.
For example, if there are information you need for an exam, simply associating the information with a certain place you studied in, how you felt and what you could see can help you to remember easier. Like a song, we tend to remember the tune, the voice and the instruments and all these forms the context for us to remember it.
Songs that I remember clearly are usually songs that move me emotionally. Take Taylor Swift’s You Belong With Me for an example; I remember this song for it’s meaning and it’s tune which are pretty much more than enough to make me remember it. So if there are things you should remember, the best way to remember it is to take interest in it at the onset or try to associate it with things that would make you take interest in it!
Featured photo credit: Singing via flic.kr