Why you should know your favourite songs by heart!
Do you remember when you first started learning English (or any other foreign language)? Was it at school? At home? Your first time abroad?
Were you excited or frustrated? What kept you motivated? Or did quit and give up?
I would be very interested to read your story. You’re welcome to go ahead and share it in the comments!
Mine started back in the 90s in post-soviet Russia when more and more people got an opportunity to study English at school. The thing is that in the USSR the second language number one was German. It took this position after the World War II. Gradually English started to gain importance and I was very happy to be assigned to an English class (we couldn’t choose ourselves).
First excitement and interest quickly slipped away as we started going along with a black and white boring book. Language studying turned into another science, like math or chemistry, where you had to memorize some formula, reproduce it in a test and move on.
English never felt living and breathing until I heard the song “Living on my own”.
I can definitely say that was the turning point in my language learning and maybe life itself.
To say I fell in love with English and English music is to put it mildly. I went crazy about it! I spent my time listening to Queen and Beatles and trying to understand the lyrics. I got the purpose. I needed English to be able to understand what they sing about. A dictionary became my best friend and I was training my ear trying to figure out the lyrics. It was the time far from the internet days when song lyrics are at your fingertips. I had nothing – just a dictionary and me.
And that’s how I learnt English – by translating and learning every song by heart. I forgot to mention that I had also become a guitar and piano player by that time. Another little side effect of music mania.
Now, being a language coach, I strongly recommend “Use your passion to study a foreign language”.
If your passion is music, and if you translate and learn your favourite songs, you will benefit in numerous ways!
• You’ll learn to listen and understand spoken speech
• You’ll improve your pronunciation.
• You’ll improve your vocabulary by leaps and bounds.
• You’ll gain more fluency
Be ready for good surprises as well! They are sure to come.
The last time I was particularly pleased with the song-method results, was during my 10 days Spanish marathon. It was a challenge of improving my Spanish significantly in only 10 days. (I also blogged about it here). Learning Spanish songs did not only give me tons of useful vocabulary, but it was an immense fun!
Now, if you’re a music fan, you’re studying an X language, and you’re not using your passion, it’s time! Go ahead, choose your favourite song, find it on youtube, search the lyrics and sing it out loud by the end of the day!
Don’t forget to share it here!
Being an English teacher I couldn’t help using songs in my classes. I’ve started a project called simply “English with songs” where I design some activities based on a song. They are meant to challenge your memory and listening skills.
I hope you have a wonderful musical day and I’m looking forward to reading your stories of language learning or music in your life.