It’s a fantastic day in Siam today … why? I’m not quite sure yet, but I’m really enjoying it so far for some reason!!

Before you read any further, check out my latest clip that I’ve just thrown together. It will form the base of this blog entry.

Where Jazz, Language and Ciphers Meet

Playing for years in my Jazz Trio – “The ROL Trio” with Dale Lee and Kenro Oshidari, we would often experiment with new ideas for soloing and communication when we played together. Kenro is a master of telling a story on his double bass, and Dale likewise. I used to try and take that ‘communication’ concept to a new level. I would often incorporate into my piano solos, messages in Morse code.

This must have been rumbling in my subconscious a few weeks ago when I dreamed of teaching perfect pitch, relative pitch, how to swing, Morse Code and Sign Language in one big strategic globule!

Words were running through my head. I wrote down several versions and after a little thought decided on what you see in the clips for various reasons.


**Mnemonic** Letter Morse Code
**Apple** A .-
**Bees in a Hive** B -…
**Cotton Candy** C -.-.
**Dog’s Behind?!** D -..
**Egg!** E .
**Fifty Fat Frogs** F ..-.
**Go Go Girl** G –.
**Helicopter** H ….
**Ice Cream** I ..
**Japan in June** J .—
**Kangaroo** K -.-
**LaBOrat’ry** L .-..
**Mermaid** M
**Navy** N -.
**Oreos** O
**Potato Chips** P .–.
**Queue in a Line!** Q –.-
**Revival** R .-.
**Sausages** S
**Tea** T
**Unity** U ..-
**Victory ‘V’** V …-
**Wasabe** W .–
**X-Ray Machine** X -..-
**Yankee Doodle** Y -.–
**Zebra Crossing** Z –..
Here are some of the concepts that went into the mix when putting this together:
  • Language / Learning / Mind / NLP
    - Simultaneous Language Acquisition
  • Using Humour and Emotion in Learning
  • Guiding the Eyes / Utilising Peripheral Vision
  • Subconscious / Unconscious Programming
  • Hearing a new language or ‘Morse’ as ‘Sound Blocks’ – not text strings
  • Use of Colour in Learning and Memory
  • Learning Things Without Even Knowing We’ve Learned Them
  • Music
    - Perfect Pitch
  • Relative Pitch
  • Rhythm – the power of 120 beats per minute
  • Pedal Notes – makes the note easier to recall through repetition
  • Pedal Notes – Help change the brainwave state

Language / Learning / Mind / NLP

Simultaneous Language Acquisition

I’m a strong advocate of Simultaneous Language Acquisition. I’ve found that any time I learn more than one language at the same time, there are synergies that happen that wouldn’t have otherwise occurred.

In this clip, I chose two ‘candidates’ for our lab rats – Morse Code and the American Sign Language (ASL) Finger Spelling Alphabet. They are easy because they have a common link – the Alphabet. I admit that in other languages there are other letters and some of the images that I have used (e.g. Oreos) may not be relevant in some countries / cultures. I always have a problem when trying to make something ‘universally applicable’, as when you start to get broader with mnemonics, links etc, the ’emotional’ potency is sometimes lost that would normally be there from things that have strong emotional value in one’s own culture. I would recommend to people who find that some of the words might not sit well with them, to change them.

Some examples of this might be the word ‘Laboratory’ for ‘L’. Some people say ‘LABratry’, some say ‘LaBOratory’ and then some say (as I’ve used in the clip) LaBOratry.

Some people might have an aversion to embedding ‘Yankee Doodle’ into your psyche too. That’s just personal choice I guess J … I fully understand if you’d like to change it to something else.

Humour, Emotion and Learning

I’ve tried to tap into the ’emotional’ realm of things on a number of levels here.

**120 bpm

The first thing that I did intentionally was to choose 120 beats per minute. This rhythm sets our brainwaves into a state ideal for ‘learning’.


I’ve chosen to use a sparse plain white background. This enhances the images and colours used. I put several filters on myself to try and make the picture look a little more surreal. I didn’t want to appear as a ‘human teacher’ in the video. Just a memory aid that dueled with the pictures opposite.

You can see a similar intentional use of ‘space’ in training programmes like the Landmark Forum. Many people either love or hate the forum. I will reserve the right to not express my opinions on their philosophies, but they definitely understand how to use space, colour and repetition to have a subconscious impact.

I have tried to choose images that evoke emotions. In some cases I have also tried to choose words that look like the hand-signs. Often these emotions are reinforced by my facial expressions. Some examples are:

A Apple Looks like an Apple

D Dog’s Behind – humourous picture / concept. My facial expression reinforces it and the index finger in the sign is reinforced by the dog’s tail caught by peripheral vision in the image of the ‘dog’s behind’

E EGG! – The beat that the word ‘egg’ comes in on is an off-beat – chosen to represent a ‘splatting egg’. The image chosen reinforces it.

K Kangaroo – the Sign already looks like a ‘K’ and I bounce my fingers slightly to trigger the thought of a Kangaroo

V Victory ‘V’ – This is a very powerful image the world over. I’ve abused THREE meanings of this sign. First – the letter ‘V’ which is the learning target. I’ve chosen the words ‘Victory V’ as the Morse peg, and to reinforce the meaning of ‘Peace’ to keep re-occurring each time the ‘Peace’ riff comes up.

Y Yankee Doodle – This image is filled with different meanings for different people – depending on what part of the world you’re from and what era you’re from. I’ve tried to have a similar expression on my face as Uncle Sam.

Z Zebra Crossing. Rather than using a shot of an actually Zebra Crossing, I finally decided on stark graphic black and white stripes as a cue in peripheral vision.

Subconscious / Unconscious Programming

My kids were singing the song this morning in the car on the way to school. They were sitting in there when I was knocking the tune out on the piano from the beginning, and so now know all the rhythms and melodies.

This morning, I was listening to my daily morse code bulletin and my 4 year old daughter could pick out many of the letters that she heard and referenced the melody and letter that the different letters appeared in my clip. I was very happy – as this was one of my intentions! – To help people to learn without realizing that they’re learning.

There are many other devices that I use to do this too. From the Spinning Peace Sign with a riff that is actually ‘Peace’ in Morse code, to flashing text ‘Groove’ and strong command words with black text on a white screen –

“Sing the Words to the Tune” (note use of capitals to stress key words)

“Copy my Hand” (not hands plural – subconsciously want to look again to make sure it’s right)

“And GROOVE” – (Groove in capitals and flashing)

These all help access the subconscious and the unconscious.

Flicker Rates

There has been extensive research into flicker rates – and how TV actually flashes at a rate that can put us into an altered state. This can be (and no doubt has been)abused by people who manage the medium. It is a fascinating subject though. If you are interested, you might want to start your research here.

Not a Word is Heard

You will notice that you don’t HEAR me say a word. I mouth the words, but my voice is essentially the music. I want listeners to be able to hear their own voice in their heads… or even better, to be able to link the concepts together with the rhythm etc without hearing ANY voice. This is a great skill to prepare people for simultaneous interpreting.

Hearing Sound Blocks rather than Text Strings

I’ve done this in many places. Actually – the whole song! One thing that I hear from experienced teachers of Morse Code is that they struggle to get students to not think of the textual dots and dashes and rather have them starting to hear ‘sound blocks’. I would say the same for learning a new language – rather than learning just grammatical structures and spelling, we need to learn to hear the way the meanings are locked into different sound blocks – not just individual words.

Some examples of this in the clip are:

“Prepare for Transmission” – The international Morse is QRV : –.- .-. …-

“PEACE” :.–. . .- -.-. . (I’ve intentionally rotated the Peace sign – with the intention that the eyes will follow the bottom ‘stokes’ in the circle as it spins and take the viewers attention of the text that comes up on the left. It still enters the subconscious, but the main focus is to think of ‘Peace’ via the symbol accompanied by the organ riff – which is spelling ‘Peace’.

“LOVE”: .-.. — …- .

“End of Message” -The international Morse is AR: .- .-.


To briefly touch on the music specific aspects of the clip.

120 bpm

I already mentioned the use of 120bpm. It’s a great thing for a musician to know how to play at a certain bpm on call. 120 is a good standard.

Pedal Note (Holding / repetition of one note)

Even from the ‘Mnidcraft’ intro before the main clip, you can hear that I have a ‘C’ pedal note in the background going. ‘C’ is a good central note to peg oneself when learning to develop perfect pitch. The whole song is in the Key of C, and I utilize certain intervals at different points within the Ionian and blues scales based on C.

The pedal note also helps change brainwave patterns

I’ve also used this concept on certain key letters like ‘Queue in a Line’ and ‘Zebra Crossing’. These work as anchors. The ‘Q’ also words as a great point for people looking to develop perfect pitch – you know that that is a ‘G’ – and it’s also a 5th interval from the root note C – which to resolve would be a perfect cadence.

Beethoven’s 5th

Two great techniques for learning to recognize a minor 3rd interval is to hum the first 4 notes of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony “DAH DAH DAH DAH!!!!!”…. Beethoven’s 5th is actually in Cmin. It just so happens that ‘V’ – is the same rhythm… which is very dramatic and so can easily link in with the concept of “Victory V”.

It just so happens of course that ‘V’ is ‘5’ in Roman Numerals… so linking it into Beethoven’s Vth is also another reinforcement.

Another tune to get this interval is to hum the first 3 notes of the Lullaby song ‘LullaBY’ – that is also a minor 3rd.

What’s Next?

This clip is actually part of my Mnidcraft programme. In just a couple of minutes, the clip is able to touch on many of the topics that are close to my heart – and really want to be able to share with other people. These are the things that I believe have led me to have such a good relationship with languages.

If you’d like to run a programme in your neck of the woods, drop me a line / email. I’d love to see how I can adapt it all to work across different languages and cultures.

If you haven’t done so already, I’ve created a Mnidcraft group in Facebook. Go on in and join the group. I will keep you up to date with latest news, materials and events. It also serves as a great meeting point for people who love languages, communication and using their minds!