|All cultures have a form of music. Music is one of the most basic tools we can use to learn a language. Parents use music and songs to teach their young children simple words. Music can help us focus, help us remember better, and thus, help us as we acquire a language. Music can aid our coordination and physical development, too.
|So, how do we use music to support our language learning now, as grown people?
|In this video we'll look at 4 ways to use music to study a language.
|Imitating structures and rhythms is important when learning a language, and the same is true for music. When children play with other children, they listen to songs, move their bodies as they play games, and try to imitate what they see and hear. This practice of regular imitation aids children as they gain their language skills. Repeating song lyrics, like those from nursery rhymes, helps kids retain words and expressions. Children may not know the meanings of all the words in the songs they sing, but they remember the songs, the vocabulary, and the rhythms.
|Children practice making sounds by mimicking the pronunciation of words. This can be the first step to the child understanding the meaning and use of a word.
|You might not realize it, but you probably still remember many of the songs and rhymes you learned when you were a child. We're able to remember expressions, words, and ideas effectively when they’re put to music. This is also the reason you can memorize the lyrics of songs you like rather easily. Patterns like those in many popular songs are repetitive - we review the rhythms and the words each time we listen.
|Everybody is different, so if you want to use music to support your language learning, we're here to provide 4 different ways.
|Number 1: Passive Listening
|One way to study with music is through passive listening. You can do this with songs you have in your target language on your computer, a CD, your favorite streaming site -- you can use this method as long as you have access to music in the language you want to study.
|Turn the music on and let it play in the background while you do something else (like studying, cooking dinner, or cleaning the house). Do this regularly, and let your mind get used to the idea of hearing your target language in your environment. This kind of familiarity with the language will help you as you work towards fluency.
|Passive listening is one form of language immersion. As you listen to the background music over and over and get more comfortable with it, you'll start to notice key words, intonation, grammar patterns, and so on.
|With enough practice (and with enough different music to listen to), you might even start to recognize certain sounds and words when you hear them somewhere else!
|Number 2: Memorization
|You can use music to help build your vocabulary and memorize words effectively. This method focuses on studying lyrics in songs to improve your ability to recall the words.
|Look up the lyrics to a song you're listening to and review them line by line. You can read the lyrics as you listen to the song or try to remember the next line in the song before it is sung. Memorization practice like this enhances your listening skills and boosts your reading skills.
|Number 3: Sing along
|Our first tip in this lesson was to listen passively. This tip, however, is to listen actively by singing along to your music.
|Look up the lyrics of a song you like. Play the song, and try to sing along. You may also be able to find videos on YouTube of popular songs with the lyrics included. If it's difficult at first, don't worry; remember, regular review and practice is essential. Just as we usually need to hear a song in our native language a few times before we remember the words, you can expect to need to listen several times over a few days before you feel comfortable with all the words. Through practicing this way, you'll learn grammar, spelling, and pronunciation. You'll also get to enjoy a song you like! Moreover, this type of exercise will help you work on your reading and listening skills.
|A good way to check your progress is by trying to sing a song by yourself. You can sing with no music, or you can try looking for a karaoke version of the song you like. If you can sing all the words, great! If not, you can go back to the lyrics and study a bit more until you master the track!
|To do this exercise, listen to the song. As it plays, write down (or transcribe) the lyrics.
|You can start and stop the song at the end of each line to slow things down a bit.
|If you begin your studies with this method, you might catch only a few words, but don't get frustrated. Play the song and write down everything you can hear. Then, play the song again and write down the words that you missed the first time you listened. With practice like this, your listening skills will improve (and so will your spelling).
|These are just a few ways that you can use music to study another language. Be patient, and don't forget to enjoy the music you're listening to as you study!
|If you want to start simple, try listening to children's songs in your target language. The song lyrics tend to be repeated a lot, and this can help you identify key words quickly.
|Learning a language through music is fun. It can help you focus your attention and improve your memory. This can be a great part of your self-study plan.
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