The Musical Learning Style Type of Intelligence

Two girls and one boy using tablet in classroom

Ferran Traite Soler / Getty Images

The musical learning style, also known as the aural (auditory-musical-rhythmic), is one of eight types of intelligence defined in Howard Gardner's theory of Multiple Intelligences. Musical learning style refers to a person's ability to understand and process sound, rhythm, patterns in sound, relationships between sounds, and ability to process rhymes and other auditory information.


Musical learning styled people enjoy school activities such as music performance and appreciation, band, choir, orchestra, and writing poetry or songs. The musically talented person enjoys being surrounded by music and can appreciate many different types of music and sounds.

They may be avid collectors of music, join a band or choir, or enjoy playing one or more instruments. They may often be found humming or drumming out beats with their hands. Many are also creative in other areas as well.

Learning Strategies

People with musical learning styles learn best when taught using spoken instruction and auditory media. They focus on using spoken content in their association and visualization. Musical learning style students have good auditory memory and may respond well to jingles and rhymes to help memorize information they may otherwise struggle to remember. Teachers or students may want to create a rap that covers the material to help them remember it.

Students with strong aural learning styles would benefit from recording lectures in class. It provides a basis for understanding and helps the individual better visualize the content. These individuals would benefit by creating mnemonics or acrostics to make the most of rhythm and rhyme, to help them best recall the information. Teachers may want to include music and instruments from the time period being covered in a history class or lessons on geography, social sciences, and other cultures.

Students may find that they like to have background music while studying or working on projects. They enjoy musical games. They may want to add music to presentations. They can enjoy performing in musicals, through singing or playing an instrument, or through composing or selecting the music to be included.

Career Choices

Musically talented students may be interested in careers such as working in video, social media, radio, television, and live performance. They may sing or play music professionally solo or in a group or orchestra. They can teach music, band, choir, or orchestra at the kindergarten through grade 12 or postsecondary levels or at music camps. They may do private tutoring in music, voice, or instruments. 

Musical learning styled people may also prefer working in music retail stores, composing music, songwriting, music ministry in churches or community choirs, music reviewer, piano tuner, and work as a recording engineer.

Medical and allied professions that make use of these skills include audiologist, speech language pathologist or technician, music therapist, and recreation therapist.

Other Learning Styles and Multiple Intelligences

2 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Sternberg RJ. IntelligenceDialogues Clin Neurosci. 2012;14(1):19‐27.

  2. Kraus N, Slater J, Thompson EC, et al. Auditory learning through active engagement with sound: biological impact of community music lessons in at-risk childrenFront Neurosci. 2014;8:351. doi:10.3389/fnins.2014.00351

By Ann Logsdon
Ann Logsdon is a school psychologist specializing in helping parents and teachers support students with a range of educational and developmental disabilities.