Music is a part of our lives from the moment we’re born. We’ve all learned songs in school to help memorize things like the alphabet, our numbers, and the countries of the world. But music can also be very useful for learning a new language.
Just like books, television shows, or podcasts, learning a language with music is a fun and useful addition to your list of tools for learning and practicing.
Studies show that music helps your brain process things, including one from the Reid School of Music at the University of Edinburg, in which the participants had to learn and try to remember songs in Hungarian.
Similarly, music also helps you get to know another culture and establish a connection with it. In fact, it’s probably the best way to break down cultural barriers.
Immersing yourself in complex lyrics when you’re just starting out will probably be too complicated.
You’re better off starting with songs that use simple vocabulary and are easy to understand. Perhaps create a playlist on Spotify, Amazon Music, or Apple Music that consists only of songs in the language you’re learning.
You’ll likely start learning the words to the songs without understanding them all—but when you do understand them, you’ll know your effort was worth it.
Look for music videos
If you find a song you like, especially one that seems difficult to you, you can look it up to see if there is a video for it on YouTube.
This audiovisual tool can help you reinforce the new words and phrases you’re learning, putting them in context and creating visual associations will help you remember.
Videos can also be useful for pronunciation so you can see how native speakers—or singers in this case—move their mouths.
Lyrics are fundamental for learning
Just like happens with subtitles when you watch television or movies in other languages, written lyrics can help to guide you when you’re learning a language through music.
On the internet, there are endless pages of lyrics, and on YouTube, you can get karaoke versions of songs. The idea is to have the lyrics handy so you can follow along while you listen. This is especially helpful for visual learners and ensures that you know how to write the words you’re hearing.
Sing your heart out
If karaoke night is your favorite night of the week, put your love for singing to work when learning a language through music.
After listening to a song and reading its lyrics several times, sing along—eventually without looking at the lyrics.
Repetition is the key to success
Serenade your housemates or your family daily with songs in the new language. It’s all about repetition and daily practice, even if all you have time for is a quick song.
Ultimately, with so many students taking learning into their own hands these days, whether through language learning apps or time dedicating to learning outside the classroom, making the study of language more musical can be a fun challenge to try on your own.
Memorizing the words to a song in the language you want to learn, or simply listening to foreign songs while doing your daily activities can be great ways to experiment with improving your abilities.
By Andreina Ibarra
Read also: 6 Activities That Make Language Learning Fun
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