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World Music for Cross Cultural Accelerated Learning

Special Issue of Spice of the Month Accelerated Learning Ezine

by Anne Thornley-Brown, President, The Training Oasis, Inc.


The Search for the Right Music

Preparing to Use Music
for Accelerated Learning

Practical Tips for Your Training Sessions

For More Information

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The Search for the Right Music

Ever since Georgi Lozonav, the noted Bulgarian physicist and accelerated learning pioneer, conducted his ground breaking studies about the impact of music on learning, trainers around the globe have been trying to find the perfect musical formula to help them connect participants and produce desired results.

When The Training Oasis, Inc. formed a strategic alliance with Kuala Lumpur based FIK International to offer seminars throughout Asia, we wanted to ensure that our approach would be relevant to the various cultures in which we would be working. We weren't sure what to expect. Acceptance was a lot easier than we anticipated. Asian audiences responded enthusiastically to accelerated learning with its emphasis on session starters, energizers, colourful visuals, and in-depth practice. Along the way, there were a number of pleasant surprises and unexpected discoveries about the importance of music in training. For the first time, we will reveal a couple of these secrets to you.

Asian Memories: Our Musical Journey

In Januray, 2000, I got off the plane at KLIA, loaded my accelerated learning paraphernalia onto a cart and wheeled it out to meet FIK's Mr. T. Saravanan. I immediately realized that I'd be right at home. You see I am Jamaican. The windshield of the car in which Sam Selvaraj was waiting for us had a HUGE Bob Marley and the Wailers sticker.

accelerated learning, music, reggae,

On the way to the hotel we even passed a club called Marleys with a statue of Bob Marley in the front yard. These were the first clues that it was important for us to include some reggae on our accelerated learning playlist. (Little did I know that, 2 years later, I would be chatting with Malaysian Rastafarians selling Bob Marley tee shirts at the night market and sipping sodas until 2 am on the patio of the Reggae Club along Penang's fashionable Batu Ferringghi.) More discoveries lay ahead.

At our first session, attended by 65 delegates at Kuala Lumpurís Regent Hotel, we realized that tucked away in our boxes, we had packed the perfect ingredient to "spice up" our training. We'll give you a hint. It was music by a particular artist. (Before we were introduced to this music, we had experimented with some royalty free music, produced by a training company. While it was well received in the US, reception from our audiences in Canada had been lukewarm. So, we searched until we found music to which Canadian audiences responded enthusiastically.)

Music by this artist, would also make a valuable contribution to our warm reception in Asia. From Bangkok to Bombay (Mumbai) from Kuching to Kuala Lumpur, the results were the same. In fact, 18 trips and over 2000 participants later, this music has continued to generate excitement wherever we have conducted sessions in Asia.

Whether we are in Toronto, Singapore or Penang, participants in our sessions always BEG us for more. Music is a universal language. The right music can greatly enhance your training sessions. It can create a warm and inviting environment and build participant enthusiasm. The key is to find the right music and add it carefully to the accelerated learning mix.

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Preparing to
use Music for Accelerated Learning

Based on our experience, here are a few tips for trainers and speakers seeking to ensure that their sessions are well received by multi-cultural audiences both at home and abroad. The first should be obvious:

  1. Use music.

    Music can cross cultural boundaries and linguistic barriers.

  2. Always provide a participant profile or learning styles survey for the meeting planner to distribute and collect from participants prior to your session.

    Include questions about musical preferences on this survey. Season to Taste: Catering to Diverse Learning Styles describes how to gauge musical and other participant preferences.

  3. Let the seminar organizer, client or meeting planner know that you plan to use music during your session. Provide them with direction about obtaining the appropriate license for legal use of music.

    Musical Moments: Music for Accelerated Learning goes into detail about how to legally use copyrighted music and how to obtain royalty free music.
  4. Create a musical score for your training and integrate music into various aspects of your sessions.

    There are many opportunities for using music during training.




Guided Imagery



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Practical Tips for your Training Session

  1. If your audience is conservative, modify the manner in which you use music during your training sessions.

    Check out Conservative Corner: Accelerated Learning for Conservative Audiences for details.

  2. Before you play, a selection of music, briefly identify the composer, the artist and the title of the selection.

  3. Involve your audience.

    Even if itís just a 1 day session, you can give the group a chance to select their favourite selections towards the end of the day. We sometimes give the opportunity to select the music for the next break as a reward for a mildly competitive exercise or trivia questions.

  4. Add a personal touch to your training by sharing your own culture with participants through your musical selections.

    For example, drawing on my Jamaican heritage, I have reggae breaks. I have taught delegates as far way as Kuching (Malaysian Borneo) to dance.

accelerated learning music, dance lesson, energizer, reggae, Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, Asia

accelerated learning music, reggae, dance, energizer,  Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Asia

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Anne Thornley-Brown is the President and founder of The Training Oasis, Inc., a Toronto based consulting firm for rapidly changing organizations. Anne has toured Asia 16 times and offered seminars to over 2000 executives, managers and HR professionals in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and India. Petronas, Malaysian Airlines, Digi, Mobil/Exxon, and Dell Computers are among the organizations that have sent delegates to her sessions in Asia. Anne has also conducted executive retreats in Dubai. Anne is available as a keynote speaker, instructional designer and facilitator for training.html and team building.

Anne Thornley-Brown, writer, World Music for Cross Cultural Accelerated Learning

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