Ep. 49: “Traditional learning methods don’t work for me.” Utilizing Multiple Intelligences in Learning, with Graeme Winder

June 30, 2020


Have you ever heard of someone who eagerly began learning to play a musical instrument, excited by the idea of creating music; and before long felt so frustrated and discouraged by the process of translating a page of dots and symbols into meaningful sound that they gave it up and decided they are “just not musical?” Our guest today can relate to that story, and he has dedicated his life to connecting kids – and adults – to music in a new and powerful way.


Graeme Winder is CEO of Meloquest, he’s an advocate for music education reform, and has had great success teaching music using a non-traditional method based on the Multiple Intelligences Theory, a theory that everyone learns in different ways.


  • In one of Graeme’s articles, he mentions that music learning across the board, including private lessons and school music programs, “suffers from an astonishingly high drop-out rate of almost 80 percent in the first three years…” WOW. That kind of blew me away, not because I can’t believe it’s true, but just seeing it in black and white really got my attention.
  • Graeme tells about his first experiences with music lessons as a kid.
  • Overview of the Multiple Intelligences: The fields of psychology and education were revolutionized almost 40 years ago when psychologist Howard Gardner published his 1983 book Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences,” which detailed a new model of human intelligence that went beyond the traditional view that there was a single kind that could be measured by standardized tests. Gardner’s theory initially listed seven intelligences: verbal-linguistic, logical-mathematical, musical, bodily-kinesthetic, visual-spatial, interpersonal, and intrapersonal; he later added an eighth, naturalist intelligence and says there may be a few more.
  • Garder describes MI theory as “the idea that each of us has a number of relatively independent mental faculties, which can be termed our ‘multiple intelligences.’ A belief in a single intelligence assumes that we have one central, all-purpose computer—and it determines how well we perform in every sector of life. In contrast, a belief in multiple intelligences assumes that we have a number of relatively autonomous computers—one that computes linguistic information, another spatial information, another musical information, another information about other people, and so on. I estimate that human beings have 7 to 10 distinct intelligences.” (from multipleintelligencesoasis.org)
  • “We all have the multiple intelligences. But we single out, as a strong intelligence, an area where the person has considerable computational power. Your ability to win regularly at a game involving spatial thinking signals strong spatial intelligence. Your ability to speak a foreign language well after just a few months of ‘going native’ signals strong linguistic intelligence.” (from multipleintelligencesoasis.org)
  • Graeme designed a method of teaching music based on MI and experienced a retention rate of almost 75%! He describes the method and how it utilizes MI, and develops both strong and weak intelligence areas.
  • Certainly there are other factors that affect success in traditional lessons, such as scheduling, financial, and poor teacher fit.
  • Keys & Kingdoms: Meloquest is a software gaming company that is releasing the first ever role-playing game that develops real musical skills and abilities called “Keys & Kingdoms.” The beta version released on June 1st. Graeme tells us about it.
  • The game is completely free for music teachers in any school in the U.S. 
  • The creator and master mind of Guitar Hero, one of the most influential music games in history, is on Meloquests’s Board.
  • Keys and Kingdoms game is described as Zelda-meets-Guitar Hero!
  • Music touches all humans in such powerful ways. I think it’s wonderful if the MI theory can help more people experience the joys of creating music.


Graeme describes a creative game called Four-Square.



For the Coda, Graeme recorded his 8-year-old son, Trystin, playing a song he learned using SRM (“Sight Reduction Method”).  He learned it in about 5 minutes, but doesn’t read any sheet music.

Closing Words

Great job, Trystin – Thank you for sharing that beautiful song; I really enjoyed listening to you play! Keep it up! Thanks also to Graeme for sharing his story with us, and the fascinating information on different learning intelligences. On Saturday we celebrate 4th of July, Independence Day, here in the US. As we celebrate our country’s birthday this week, I encourage you to listen to these inspiring previous guests who show music’s connection to the fight for freedom, those who have sacrificed to preserve our freedoms –  and the great American game of baseball:

 And speaking of social justice, I AM making my way through Ibram X. Kendi’s book, “How to be an Antiracist.” It is very interesting and enlightening, and is NOT easy or light reading. I’m taking it one chapter at a time, so I can absorb the information and take it all in. I did watch the movie Just Mercy this past weekend, and wow. It is very well done, and very powerful. It was actually recommended to me by a friend months ago, and since George Floyd was killed, I’ve seen the movie on numerous recommendation lists. It is an incredible, moving, true story. One of the main characters in the movie is based on real-life Bryan Stevenson (who also authored the book, Just Mercy). Here is a short YouTube video that Bryan put together on June 16 – just a couple weeks ago – sharing his perspective:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q65pzBelBIc&feature=youtu.beIf you’ve been listening to this show in the last month, you’ve heard me rave about the tech help I’ve gotten from my 15-yo son, Erik – especially when it came to video editing for my spring piano recital. Erik is a tech wizard, and I encouraged him to put together a website so that he can help more people, for a modest charge, which he did. If you or someone you know could use some tech help, you can connect with Erik at ErikTech.help/.  Erik’s great at helping out with email and device troubleshooting, Zoom questions, device setup, and more. Feel free to share this info with others. Lastly, I want to give a shout-out to listener Lynn in Maple Grove, MN, who sent me an adorable video of her young son watching Laurie Berkner’s Goldfish Song on YouTube after hearing about Laurie’s music for kids on episode 45. I love hearing from listeners, so thanks so much for sharing that with me, Lynn! Loved it! Thank you for joining me today. Warm wishes for a wonderful 4th of July weekend – if you think of it, I’d love to have you tell a friend or family member about the show while you’re celebrating! Until next week, may your life be enhanced with freedom and music.

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