Project icon      

The ultimate vocabulary learning software

     Language learning       | HOME | DOWNLOAD | DONATE | WHAT'S NEW | VOCABULARY DATABASE |    
o Introduction
o Choosing a language
o Suggested activities
o How to...
o Memory aids
o Suggestopedia
o Choosing a dictionary
o Certificates and diplomas

Suggestopedic sessions
Background music



        The Bulgarian physician Georgi Lozanov devised a language learning method called Suggestopedia, also known as Superlearning® (this is a registered trade mark of Superlearning, Inc., USA).

The Suggestopedic method consists in exposing the student to an audition of pairs of items (flashcards), following a certain rhythmic pattern. At the same time, instrumental baroque music in Largo tempo (60 beats per minute) is played back.

This kind of soothing, rhythmic music is intended for inducing a state of relaxed alertness on the learner. This method is supposed to improve recalling performance by at least 25%.

Now, we will explain how this method can be put into practice. BTW, you can use
VTrain (Vocabulary Trainer) to make the most of Suggestopedia.

Suggestopedic sessions

  1. Sketch of a session
  A suggestopedic session consists of three parts:


First, an introductory Largo baroque music piece (60 beats/min) helps the learner to relax (approx. 3 min).


Next, you listen to the recorded flashcards (recording is explained below) (20 min), on a background of soothing baroque music.


Finally, a faster Allegretto baroque movement (120 beats/min) awakes the student from their half-sleep (3 min).
  2. Preparing a session
  2.1 Recording the flashcards

The speech for each flashcard is recorded following this pattern:

Breathe in (2 seconds) - Front/Back (4 s) - Breathe out (2 s)

(Typically, Front/Back contain an English word and its counterpart in a foreign language, etc.)

The speaker should use different intonations and rhythms, to make each flashcard more impressive.

The final recording must be about 20 minutes long (which makes 150 flashcards). It will later be played back along with soothing baroque music.

Tip: you can hold your suggestopedic sessions on your computer, by way of
VTrain (Vocabulary Trainer). This program includes a sound recorder and a highly customizable slideshow mode.

  2.2 Choosing the background music
  For the baroque background music, get suitable recordings (approx. 3 min Largo + 20 min Largo + 3 min Allegretto). The middle part can be integrated by several music works.

Check out our
Baroque music recommendations.

If you want to use a computer for this purpose, you can get suitable CDs and convert the tracks of your choice into the <*.mp3> format, by way of an mp3 encoder such as CDex (Freeware). You will need a player that is able to handle
playlists, e.g. WinAmp (Freeware).

Of course, you can also use a conventional cassette player.
  3. The resulting session
        After pushing "play" on the mp3 player on your computer and starting the playback of the speech recording, the learner lies down in a dark, quiet room.

- Relaxation (approx. 3 min)
  An introductory Largo baroque movement is played.
- Learning (20 min)
  Then, the previously recorded flashcards are played back along with the 20-minute background music playlist.
  During the audition, the student reproduces the following breathing cycle: inspires (2 s), holds breath while (s)he listens to the flashcard (4 s), expires (2 s), following the rhythm of the speech recording (not of the background music).
- Awakening (approx. 3 min)
  A faster Allegretto baroque movement is played.

I wish you plenty of success!

Background music


Recommended works


The following is a selection of music works from the baroque epoch (XVIIth c.), all of which contain Largo movements that are suitable for suggestopedic learning.

Tip: public libraries in large towns have a stock of music CDs available for the asking.

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

- 6 Concerti after Vivaldi. --- Concerto for Harpsichord in C Major / C minor / F Major, BWV 976 / 975 / 978.

- Goldberg Variations, BWV 988. --- "Aria".

- Concerto for Harpsichord in F minor, BWV 1056.

- Concerto for Flute and Strings in G Major, BWV 1056.

- Suite for Orchestra No. 3, BWV 1068. --- "Air".

Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713)

- 12 Concerti Grossi, Opus 5. --- Concerti 7, 8, 9, and 10.

- 12 Concerti Grossi, Opus 6.

George Frederick Handel or Georg Friedrich Händel (1685-1759)

- 12 Concerti Grossi, Opus 6.

- Concerto Grosso Nr. 1 in B flat Major, Opus 3.

- Music for the Royal Fireworks. -- Concerti No. 1 and 3.

- Xerxes [opera]. --- "Larghetto" [widely known as "Handel's Largo"]

Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706)

- Canon in D Major.

Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767)

- 6 Fantasias for Harpsichord. --- Double Fantasia in G Major for Harpsichord.

- Concerto in G Major for Viola and String Orchestra.

Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)

- 6 Flute Concerti, Opus 10. --- Flute Concerto Nr. 4 in G Major.

- The Four Seasons. --- "Winter".

- Concerto in C Major for Mandolin, Strings, and Harpsichord.

- Concerto in D Major for Guitar and Strings.

- Concerto in D minor for Viola d'amore, Strings, and Harpsichord.


Why this very kind of music?

  Baroque "Largo" movements help the suggestopedic student to reach a certain state of relaxation, in which the receptivity is increased.

Experiments by Lozanov and his successors in both Europe and America showed that the following criteria have to be met by a music work to be useful for suggestopedic learning:

- "Largo" tempo
Its tempo must be approx. 60 M.M. (60 beats/min).
- Instrumental music
Voices (even choirs) and instruments standing out against the orchestra are likely to distract the student.
Ideally, the orchestra must have a neutral color (the same instruments be played throughout the work) -- that is why the best choice are string orchestras.
- Regular patterns
Baroque works are often made up by rhythmic and melodic variations on a theme, following a somewhat mathematical pattern.
(The way instruments are used and the descriptive elements you find in symphonic and romantic music [XVIII-XIXth c.] would only distract the student, so those kinds of music are not suitable for our purpose.)


        BANCROFT, W. Jane (1999) Suggestopedia and Language Acquisition: Variations on a Theme. Gordon & Breach (New York)
LOZANOV, Georgi (1978) Suggestology and Outlines of Suggestopedy. Gordon & Breach (New York)
LOZANOV, Georgi; GATEVA, Evelina (1988) The Foreign Language Teacher's Suggestopedic Manual. Gordon & Breach (New York)
SCHIFFLER, Ludger (1992) Suggestopedic Methods and Applications. Gordon & Breach (New York)
    Updated: 2017 January 17
Legal notice.
  Copyright © 1999-2017 by The authors. All rights reserved.
Reload this page: