To study Medicine as you would study music

A time ago I read an interesting article envelope how the musicians can give example in the world of the Medicine (1).

In general, this article picks up several characteristics of the musical learning and it tries them to apply in the world of the medical learning:

  • the importance of the good professor
  • the inherent art to the €œmedical action€
  • the practice and the experience as more important qualities that the natural talent
  • the importance of the work in equipment
  • how to avoid the deterioration of the clinical qualities with time

€¦ and some more than I recommend to you to read in the original article.

As I am otorrino and in addition I touch in an orchestra of guitars, the article called much to me the attention. Still more when I realized of which I myself, when I practice with the guitar, I apply some principles that consider techniques of maximum effectiveness in the study of any theoretical matter, including the Medicine.

photo with guitar

Servant with its guitar 😉


When the examination approaches and you feel to review in serious, all we have done sometimes the following thing: to reread and to review what or we know, mixed and so we know ourselves to regulate or fatal.

Nevertheless, which you need to review with more attention is indeed what you do not know yourself. All review that you do of processes that you know to deduce, and of concepts that you remember, it will be in certain way a loss of time. It is thus because a loss of opportunity exists: in that time (minutes) in which you review what you know yourself, you cannot review again what you know yourself worse.

Why you review what already you know, knowing full well that you are even doing and leaving it aside a subject that you know worse? Because it gives tranquillity you. During those minutes you feel that your activity is predictable and is controlled, and that, in the middle of the uncertainty to prepare examinations, is very reassuring.

Technical What of study predisposes to you to fall in the error to review what you know an equal number of times that what you do not know yourself? The re-reading. If you trust reading several times each subject to memorise it; if you use the method of the returns without accompanying it by another control system of reviews, you run the risk of being spending time in concepts that already you know.

How applied this is principle in music? He is advisable to touch whole a same work, of principle to aim, to suitably interpret each passage in relation to the others. But before arriving at this, to make it all fluid, it is necessary to detect the compasses most difficult technically, where we encountered, and to try them time and time again until they gain fluidity. At the outset it is touched slowly, and with the repetition it is gained agility, until finally all the work without difference can be touched between which you touched well from the home and the others.

How to control what worse you know yourself in Medicine? When trying to recall concepts (P. ex. definition of €œdelirium€), processes (P. ex. the Krebs Cycle) and listed (p.ej types of antihypertensives according to its mechanism of action), you must mark in the text which worse you control, thus to make more emphasis or to review more firmly in your €œreturns€ of review.

As habitually the notes or are too noticeable with initial underlinings, you can use a listing of concepts elaborated by you mismo/a, or the educational guide of the subject (as I explained you in this entrance).

Like upon music, from time to time it agrees to review the complete subject not to lose the general perspective.


How you examine to an Oboe or piano student to know if it can happen to the following course? Oy©ndole to touch.

How prepare its does examination the Oboe or piano student? Touching at home.

Very well, all in agreement. Now€¦

How examine to you your do professors to know if you dominate to the Cardiology or the Pharmacology? Doing questions to you on Cardiology or Pharmacology

How you prepare yourself for those examinations?

Which has been your answer?

I imagine it. Nothing that to see with the piano student.

The piano examination imagines to the piano student preparing reading and rereading the score, memorising each note in its mind and trying the position of the fingers€¦ on the table of its writing-desk.

Nothing that to see with the examination that it must happen, truth?

Although we cannot make an exact parallelism between the student of an instrument and the one of a theoretical medical subject, I believe that the analogy is understood well

Why you don't use tests similar to the examination in your preparation at home? All you have old examinations of each subject. Take advantage of them!

That is what opponents MIR do week after week, they know it very well. But then€¦ Why arrived that hasn't culture from the maneuvers at the examinations of Degree?


Delay, you you do not throw to me above€¦ I am not suggesting to you you study more than it is called on to you to study. He would not be viable nor it has sense. Generally, many Medicine Faculties of the world sin, in case, to demand too much matter to the student of Degree, that is a novice. It is the slant of the expert, who does not realize of which the novice does not need (nor he can) to assimilate so many data the first time that approaches a matter.

In my orchestra I touch two types of guitar: the Spanish guitar, and the low, slightly greater guitar, of cords something more thicknesses, in which it is necessary more force for €œeffectively stepping on€ the cords with the yolks of the fingers.

If step one week touching on a daily basis the low guitar, my left arm becomes a machine to step on cords and to fly on the frets. Verified!

If a work is difficult and I must force plus the arm, it agrees to touch it several times behind schedule to me each. Thus, the day of the general test, I have force very well to resist the corrections and repetitions that order the director.

It sounds to You? Many sportsmen make routines of muscle-building outside their habitual means to facilitate the work of the body during their sport activity. Soccer players, swimmers, tennis players€¦ To fortify certain muscles by means of a €œgradual and planned overload€ improves the general performance.

As this in your Medicine studies is translated? For example, using flashcards in your reviews, although most of your examinations are of type test. Why? Because to generate the answer to a question it is more powerful than to recognize the answer between multiple options. The data reviewed with flashcards (it looks at this entrance of will more deeply record something in your brain that if you limited yourself to reread them. Also verified; the work of Dunlosky and cabbages remembers (1)


  1. Davidoff F. Music Lessons: What Musicians Dog Teach Doctors (and Other Health Professionals. Ann Intern Med 2011; 154:426-429
  2. Dunlosky J, Rawson KA, Marsh EX, Nathan MJ, Willinghamd DT. Improving students' learning with effective learning techniques: Educational Promising directions from cognitive and psychology. Psychological Science in the Public Interest 2013; 14:4-58.
Almudena Trinidad

I am otorrinolaring³loga doctor in a hospital of Madrid and Professor Asociada de Medicina in the UAM. I help Medicine students to develop more effective techniques of study to obtain better notes, to remember during more time and to feel like more happy insurances and with its studies.

2 Commentaries
  • David Martinez
    Published to 07:42 h, 05 May To respond

    Very good, I am musical (guitarist) and also study the race of medicine and soon after studying medicine I could relate the techniques of study of these two great arts, and agree who the best form to learn something is practicing it, to as says the phrase (he practices It, makes the teacher).

    • Almudena Trinidad
      Published to 08:44 h, 15 May To respond

      What good one, David. You understand it better than nobody to the musical being. I wanted to help to that the Medicine students also realize of which to prepare examinations written must be looked more like how we prepared musical examinations.

      A greeting!

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