You have probably heard that one great way to practice English is to listen to music. Most people in the world like to listen to music, so this seems like a no-brainer, right? And lucky for you, English is one of the most common languages used in popular music that we can easily find on the internet or hear on the radio. But how does it REALLY make a difference in your language learning experience?
Why It Works:
Becoming familiar. Especially with beginners, songs can help learners become familiar with the sound of the language, the rhythm and the tone. For true beginners, children’s songs are perfect for picking up basic vocabulary. For false beginners or intermediate students, popular rock songs or love songs are great to use for sentence structure, vocabulary, and many other elements.
Repetition. When you hear the refrain over and over in a song, it is reinforcing the language to your brain each time. It’s easier to understand something when it is spoken in rhythm to a beat, repetitively.
Slang. Songs are a great way to learn cultural expressions and slang, as they are often used in the lyrics to popular music!
Pronunciation. When you learn to sing along with a song, you will automatically improve your pronunciation.
It gets stuck in your head! We all know how annoying it can be to have a pop song or a children’s song stuck in our heads. Well if that song is in a foreign language, you’ve just learned it!
Emotions and experiences. Languages are much easier to learn when we link it to emotions or experiences that help us remember and make a personal connection. Music is very emotional, and can evoke many memories or moods that will help us remember the words. Songs with lyrics that we can relate to are very effective tools for learning a language.
Culture. Songs from a culture can always teach you something about the way people think and act in that culture, as well as the things that matter to them. You can also see that many themes for songs are universal, and we see that we have things in common with other cultures as well!
Here are 6 Tips for Using Music to Improve Your English:
- Do not choose songs that are too fast, or that use language that is too difficult. Mainstream songs with lyrics readily available online, especially ones that tell a story, are the best ones to use.
- Make sure you have the lyrics to look at and study as you listen.
- Use the internet to find songs and lyrics. Spotify, Grooveshark, and Deezer are all websites that allow you to stream any type of music for free. You can also find many videos with lyrics already on the screen for you on YouTube. Lyrics can be found online using a simple search.
- Listen to music that you like! The more you enjoy the music, the faster you will improve!
- SING! Singing is the most important part of using music to improve your English! Singing the words out loud to the songs you listen to is the best way to improve pronunciation, pace, vocabulary, grammar, and other language elements– and you can have fun at the same time!!! The more you can sing from memory, the more fluent you will become!
- Do it everywhere! Today you can take thousands of albums worth of music with you in a small device, so you can practice English with music everywhere you go! No heavy books to carry around or grammar exercises to do!
The great thing about using music to learn a language is that you can do it all by yourself. If you are a teacher, music is easy and fun to implement into your lessons, and students love it! Give it a try!
Have you ever used singing to improve your English?
Do you think music could be an effective tool to learn a language?
Why or why not? Leave a comment!