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Musical Intelligence

As its name suggests, people who can count themselves among the musically intelligent love music. They will often have songs running through their heads, and find it easy to remember lyrics and melodies. Playing musical instruments and composing their own songs come naturally, and they often are adept at more than one style. Not surprisingly, they work as music instructors, composers, and musical performers.

People with Musical Intelligence are in tune with how things sound and the natural rhythms of the world around them. Speech patterns and intonation will stand out to them, and if a teacher or coworker has a shrill or monotonous voice, these people will notice and find it distracting. On the other hand, they can use rhythm and melodies to help them with rote memorization, such as using “Pop Goes the Weasel” to remember the Pythagorean Theorem.

You may think that a musically intelligent person is fidgety because they drum on their desk or their bodies when they are supposed to be reading quietly, but this is just the music in their minds finding an outlet. They whistle absentmindedly while they do menial tasks or feel the need to retreat behind their headphones in order to concentrate.

Admittedly, this intelligence is more difficult to integrate into USAT challenges because it puts the onus on the facilitators to be musically adept themselves. During Face-Off, we try to address people who are interested in music by quizzing them on music theory and vocabulary, because a person who plays an instrument will likely know the words that come with it. Participants are always encouraged to add music to their P.A.R.T.Y. performances, and sometimes it is an explicit requirement to earn points. This year, we were also able to bring some music theory into the Mind Sprint room during our “Duly Noted” challenge, where students had to use treble and bass clefs to fill in the missing letters of words.

We’ll be taking a few weeks off from the Multiple Intelligences series because the Regional Competition is right around the bend, but the series will be back in April with a look at the remaining three: Intrapersonal, Interpersonal, and Naturalist Intelligences.

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