Language is Music
Having labored through many dull language classes, I saw how ineffective rote memorization techniques alienated and discouraged students and knew that I could change language education to make it more fun and engaging. In Taiwan, I saw a teacher stare into a book and just read English phrases in a monotone voice and ask her students to repeat. She didn’t notice that her students were looking out the window and were bored out of their minds. After normal school, Taiwanese kids go to cram schools to memorize even more information and take extra English lessons, but they are not able to communicate in English and are scared to death to speak to a native English speaker. After years of memorizing dictionaries, like they do to learn thousands of Chinese characters, most Taiwanese adolescents need glasses. Having been born with eye problems, I had no desire to weaken my eyes or other people’s eyes to learn foreign languages. I knew that it’s possible to learn without major eye strain.
While reading Dr. Oliver Sachs’ book Musicophilia, about the neurological aspects of music, I became inspired to write about how music helped me learn foreign languages. (This was the second time in less than two years that Dr. Sachs’ writing provoked a profound and life altering change in my life. You’ll read more about this as I describe the mystery he helped me solve about my ability to learn foreign languages.)
After solving my personal mystery about why I was so dexterous in learning foreign languages, I developed fun tricks and lessons that will enable others to be successful. Creating this book was a way for me to contribute to international communication and to teach people that they can be their own peacemakers.
For most of my life this ‘gift’ was a huge mystery. I could not understand why other people had such a hard time learning to speak and understand another language. Now, I see that instead of feeling tasked with communicating for others, I want to share my knowledge for people to communicate for themselves and become polyglots.
Travel Happy, Budget Low
Being a traveler is a mindset.