Thesis Title

The Use of Melodic and Rhythmic Mnemonics to Improve Memory and Recall in Elementary Students in the Content Areas

Graduation Date

Spring 2009

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Document Form


Degree Name

Master of Science

Program Name


Program Director

Madelienne Peters, EdD


Mnemonic strategies that use imagery and visual cues to facilitate memory recall are commonly used in the classroom. A familiar tune, song or jingle, used as a mnemonic device is another popular memory aid. Studies of the brain and memory reveal that exposure to music not only alters but increases brain function in students. The purpose of this study is to examine the effects of musical and rhythmic mnemonics to facilitate the recall of academic content in the K-5 classroom.

A review of the literature indicates that memory and recall improve when lyric and song are integrated as a learning strategy. The literature also reveals that musical mnemonics are particularly effective as a memory aid for the learning disabled and mildly handicapped student.

Experiments were conducted in three grade school classrooms. Children were taught songs with academic content in the curriculum areas that were current at that time. The students were interviewed and subsequently tested on the retention of subject matter and their experience. A survey of teachers was conducted to investigate their knowledge of the effectiveness of musical mnemonics as a tool in the classroom and the frequency of their use. An elementary school music teacher and fourth grade home room teacher were interviewed about their experiences with musical mnemonic aids in the grade school classroom. Findings indicated that using rhythmic and musical mnemonics in any classroom provides an attractive and innovative alternative instructional and learning strategy.

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