Thank you for the music…

Contact Al Bigglestone for further information about this technique

This technique will help students remember quotations which are essential to support analysis when studying English Literature; however, it could be transferable to many other disciplines to help recall information.

I find that I can remember song lyrics from my teen years and yet can’t always recall conversations that I had last week. Why? Because there’s something about rhyme, rhythm and a good melody that helps us commit things to mind.

Provide students with a focus – for example ‘How Shakespeare introduces the character of Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet, Act 1 Scene 4’. Students choose their own song to rewrite the lyrics to in order to help them remember key facts and quotations. For example, the following lyrics replace those from ‘Do you Want to Build a Snowman?’ from Disney’s Frozen phenomenon:

Do you want to know ‘bout Queen Mab?
She’s in Mercutio’s ‘mad’ speech
He brings her up Act 1 Scene 4
To show us more
It’s pretty kind of deep.
At first it’s all quite funny
But then it’s not
She’s a fairy that visits you!
Do you want to know ‘bout Queen Mab?
(But it’s not just all about Queen Mab)
Ok. Why?

The speech shows what Mercutio’s like
He’s unpredictable that’s why
He talks of “grasshoppers” and “spider’s webs,” “long-spinner’s legs”
“That dreamers often lie!”
He gets quite dark and frightening
With his talk of sex
Of violence, of “hags” and “blades.”
Do you want to know ‘bout Queen Mab?
It makes Mercutio seem quite sad.
“This is she-”

And this example is from Health and Social Care (to the tune of Baa Baa Black Sheep)

Children benefit
From inclusive practice.
Because they have
Plenty of chances.
Range of opportunities,
Range of equipment
Builds a can-do attitude
And ensures acceptance.

Many thanks to Sophie Wright for recording this track!

HSC inclusive practice