I was quite excited to discover that the library now includes Earworms in its collection. No, I’m not referring to those annoying snatches of songs that get stuck in your head – Christchurch City Libraries’ are not your common garden-variety earworms, but rather a series of “specially composed melodies with rhythmic repetitions” of phrases in foreign languages and English that “take the hard work out of learning.”
I have always been a bit of a sucker for “revolutionary accelerated learning techniques” – at one stage, a few years ago, I even tried playing tapes (yes, that’s how long ago it was) while I slept, in the hope that osmosis would do its thing. (It didn’t, though the fact that I couldn’t fall asleep because I was too busy listening probably had something to do with it…) So, as soon as I saw the title in the RSS feed of just ordered titles, I placed a hold on a brand-new copy of Earworms Rapid Arabic Volume 1.
My personal “musical brain trainer” came with a booklet listing the 200+ words and phrases that are on the CD, together with their phonetic transcription, as well as a very persuasive explanation of the science behind Earworms. Does it work? Well, my definitive answer is maybe! Remembering the words hasn’t been particularly hard, but I have to admit that I did cheat, because I chose a language that I was already familiar with. On the other hand, while the sing-song conversations were not too painful to listen to, I wasn’t drawn to go back to them again and again, as the booklet suggested would be the case. Still, I think I’ll give it another shot, perhaps with a language I don’t know at all. Chinese, here I come!
Have you tried any of the Earworm series? Did they work for you? Do you agree with Wikipedia that having a touch of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder makes you more susceptible to earworms? And, most importantly, if earworms have been driving you crazy, is it true, as I seem to remember being told at some stage, that the solution is to listen to Faith by George Michael?