Accelerate Your Learning by Lorna Minewiser

Although you may not currently be a student, learning is a life long process. Perhaps you need to learn something new for your job, or you would like to learn a new language before you take a vacation abroad, or you want to "brush up" on math so you can help your children with their homework. For many of us school and/or learning were not pleasant experiences, so we may hesitate to attempt to learn something new. Fortunately there are ways to enhance the learning experience to help make learning fun, easy, and successful. (This process works for kids too.)

"Accelerated Learning" is a system based on studies of the human mind and how knowledge is acquired. It is a powerful process that engages both the analytical and the emotional parts of the brain and uses both the conscious and the subconscious mind. The body is important to learning as well. Many of us need movement to learn. We also need to take into consideration our learning styles and our multiple intelligences. One of the important components of Accelerated Learning is the use of music.

Although any music can have an effect on your mind and body, there are particular types of music that can enhance learning, just as there are certain kinds of music that can interfere with learning. The founder of the Accelerated Learning movement, Dr. Georgi Lozanov, experimented with a wide variety of music in his research. He found that Baroque music affects the emotional centers of the brain as well as the heart and breathing. Today there are a number of composers who have designed music to enhance our learning abilities. I use both Baroque music and the specially designed music in all the classes I teach. At the end of this article there is a list of music that my students prefer.

This is by no means a complete list. Experiment to find out what suites you. One of the most important considerations is that the background music does not have words that you might sing consciously (or unconsciously), as that would interfere with information acquisition. You can use highly rhythmic music as a base for creating rhymes or raps or jingles to help you memorize lists or processes.

Preparation for learning is another key component of Accelerated Learning. There are several things you can do to assist your body and mind to get into a receptive state for learning. In addition to your traditional learning tools (books, computer program, paper, pens, etc.) you will need a cassette or CD player and your "learning" music in your learning space. If you prefer comfort to learn, you might choose an easy chair, if you need structure, a desk or a table would be better for you.

Before you open your book, or start your program, spend a few minutes getting ready to learn. Since an ideal state for learning is in a relaxed body with an alert mind, do a brief relaxation exercise with the music in the background. Then bring to mind a successful learning experience that you have had in the past - any kind of learning. Try to re-create the joy and pleasure you felt while you were learning and the satisfaction you felt when you succeeded.

After spending a few moments in this pleasant experience, begin your current learning experience. If you find that you start to tense up, pause, take a few deep breaths, listen to the music for a few moments, and resume learning. Take frequent breaks and briefly review what you have learned when you return.

Some Baroque selections include Handel's Water Music, Vivaldi's Four Seasons, Pachebel's Canon in D Major and Mozart's Symphony in D Major ("Haffner"). OptimaLearning has created several volumes of specially compiled Baroque music for learning and productivity. The Sound Health Series by the Center for Psychoacoustical Research includes classical music for learning, concentration, thinking, motivation, inspiration, and relaxation.

Some of the specially created music by Stephen Halpern has subliminal messages, but you can find his Music for Accelerated Learning and Music for Creativity without subliminals. He has a variety of relaxing CDs as well. Daniel Kobialka uses Pachelbel's Canon in his composition Timeless Motion and it is my personal favorite.

So, use music, relaxation, and positive visualization to make learning easier and more fun.

Lorna Minewiser Ph.D, has been helping people reduce their stress for more than 15 years. She offers individual and group coaching, workshops, CDs, e-books and Stress Reduction and Relaxation kits. She is available for presentations on Stress Reduction and on Accelerated Learning. For more information you can reach her at