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Music to your ears

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Good news for all of you because, as Amaya and Sara have already shown us, you can have fun learning Spanish!

Forget the old boring idea of the textbook and the dictionary! There are different ways to learn a language apart from the traditional ones. And yes, you’re right – today I will be talking about music.

We all know the benefits of music. It can change our mood, reduce stress and improve motivation. And we love it! But, how can this be related to learning? Research suggests that language learners’ skills are greatly improved when memorising to music. You can read it here and here. Music stimulates memory, improves comprehension and if you also sing along, it can increase your vocabulary and improve pronunciation. So far, so good!

Let’s look at some resources and websites that can help you achieve these goals:

Music to your ears2 Music to your ears3

Memorisation

No matter how difficult to remember Spanish grammar might be, just find the right catchy tune and you will remember it forever! My beginners’ greatest hits so far are:

  • The alphabet song: I am sure that the minute you listen to it, you will get an awkward conga dance feeling. Don’t fight it back! Join in, sing along and dance if you feel like it. Ok, maybe it is not your cup of tea in terms of music style but, I can guarantee that this catchy tune will get stuck in your head and you will never forget the Spanish alphabet.
  • Pronouns’ paradise: Do you remember Coolio’s Gangster’s paradise? If you do, you will find really easy to learn Spanish pronouns with this new version (“Yo is I, and then there’s , don’t you know that’s the informal you? The formal you is called usted, you gotta get the difference in your head’). Don’t worry if you don’t know the original song, the rhythm will immediately catch you and you will memorise the uses of Spanish pronouns regardless.
  • Princess of ser: From the producers of Pronoun’s paradise, we welcome this Fresh Prince of Bel Air version on the conjugation of the verb ser. If you find it too fast to follow, you can choose this other song, slow paced and with a tune that will also be familiar to you.
  • Estar+Gerundio: Presented as a silent film with rap singing over it, this video explains how to form the present progressive and how to conjugate the verb estar. After listening to it, you can try to make up your own version!

Music to your ears4Music to your ears5

Vocabulary and listening skills

Fill in the gaps in the lyrics is not a new idea, but being able to do it online and to the sound of some of the best known Spanish speaking artists, it is great! On Lyrics Training you can choose different languages to practise. I know, you are fans of Spanish, but it can also be helpful for those of you learning or speaking other languages. For each song you will be given different levels to choose: beginner, intermediate, advanced and expert. Depending on the difficulty you will have to fill in more or less gaps.

On Profe de Ele you can also find songs amongst other interesting resources for students. Songs are already divided into levels according to the CEFR levels. Choose one on your level and extend yourself by trying a song slightly above it. It’s up to you! You can fill in the gaps online and download extra activities.

Music to your ears

Just because…

No matter what your level is, listening to music in the language that you are learning will always be an enjoyable and enriching experience. Appreciate the different sounds and the melody on different accents. Play it as background music when you are cooking at home, listen to it while running at the park, or use it as a way to activate when you get up in the mornings. This time don’t think about memorising sentences or understanding words. Just feel the music!

 


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15 Comments

  1. patricia

    Great stuff to my ears Inés! I will definitely suggest some of the links to my students in today’s class. Many thanks for this!

  2. Viktoria

    Hola!
    I’ve always found music to be a great for remembering vocabulary, learning expressions sometimes or just pumping up your confidence because you understand most of what it says (if not the whole sing)

    If you are not a fan of salsa (or latin in general) music one of my favorite Spanish singers is Pablo Alborán ! – plus his pronunciation is very clear too 😉 😉

  3. Inés Fernández

    Thank YOU, Patricia! Glad you liked the songs and found them useful!

    You are right, Viktoria, there’s much more to music in Spanish than salsa! Pablo Alborán is a great example, a very talented singer song-writer who speaks clearly and has great diction! For those who don’t know him yet, you can check his youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCf3L_9odIRo9G2L_-hsb7lg

    You might also like Depedro, artistic name of Spanish musician Jairo Zavala. His ‘Hombre bueno’ song is perfect to practise your ‘indefinido’! 😀 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXrxeVNgm_g
    Hope you enjoy it!

    For more music suggestions to practise specific Spanish contents, just leave a comment and I will try my best to find the ‘perfect’ song!!

  4. Rosie Reynolds-Grey

    Ines, oh my goodness, the Pronoun’s Paradise song is amazing. I don’t think I even need to go over my course notes for Saturday anymore!

  5. Diana Pollan

    Jajajaja! I had fun listening to the songs, I think they can be useful for the students. Another great one for beginners is “ConjugationsBack”, you can listen it in this link:

  6. Carolina Garcia

    Very useful and and funny video Diana

  7. Inés

    ¡Gracias Diana! ¡Conjugation Back es lo más! It definitely needs to go at the top of the ranking!

  8. Andi Amistadi

    There´s an amazing song from Calle 13, a Puerto Rican band known for its satirical lyrics as well as social commentary about Latin American issues and culture, its people and traditions.
    The song is called ‘Latinoamérica’ and here´s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DkFJE8ZdeG8
    Enjoy it 🙂

  9. Bryan Gleeson

    I love these little helpful gems of information, and the article demonstrates that there is not one single method of learning that everybody must follow – if you find that one particular method of learning is not working for you, keep trying other methods, however unconventional they may be, until you find something that works for you. Remember that this is YOUR language learning experience, not anyone else’s.

    • Inés Fernández

      Thaks for you comment, Bryan. You made a very good point! There are many different learning styles and, as adults, we should be able to try as many ways of learning as we want to, until we find the right one for us! Some people learn better by listening, others love images, while reading is extremely important for the more ‘linguistic’ learners. As a teacher I think it is necessary that we offer different ways to achieve the same goal. And the more fun we have, the better!

  10. Amy Thomas

    Thanks! I love Pronouns Paradise. The reference to gangsta’s paradise is just good fun and very useful!

  11. Kim McLaughlin

    Creo que el sitio “Profe de Ele” es increíble! Me gusta cantar y creo aprender palabras en canciones bastante fácil (en Inglés); Quizas este es el método que va a cambiar mi vida. Gracias por la idea, Ines!!

  12. Ash

    ¡Gracias Inés! Andi sabe que me encanta escuchar la música española y pienso qué lo es una estrategia muy buena para aprender español.

  13. Edward

    ¡Qué graciosa y divertido estos videos! Me gusta mucho ‘Pronouns Paradise’ y Estar+Gerundio. Voy a mostrarlos a mi hijo. El quiere a aprender español tambíen. Yo siempre tenía problems con los pronombres, entonces, quiero ver todo que pueda ayudarme con esta parte de español. ¡Gracias!