Music and language learning are essentially similar: both part from the hearing sense. Think about it: an infant learns its mother tongue by listening to it constantly and repeating it. First, she produces sounds, then words, sometimes with incorrect sounds. Little by little, through trial and error, she starts developing fluency by making simple sentences. After a while, the sentences becomes more complex as her vocabulary and understanding increases.
In the same way, when you learn to play an instrument, you have to listen carefully to the sounds, recognize them, and repeat them. After a lot of practice and trial and error, one can play more accurately. Not to say that music is a language in itself, with its writing and accents. On the other hand, music is a way of communicating ideas and feelings. Music IS a universal language.
Engaging language learners actively is the key to success:
In my ten years of experience as a teacher, I’ve had the opportunity to teach languages to different students from children and teens to adults. One of my favorite teaching methods has been songs. Why? -Simply because music engages students, and it’s an effective way to introduce new grammar, vocabulary, and idioms within a cultural frame. The result: students learn the target language faster while enjoying the process.
Learning Spanish through songs:
Songs can be catchy and stick in your head or can evoke certain feelings. There is extensive research on how students learn better when their emotions are engaged, and music gives you exactly that. Think about learning the imperfecto (simple past) verbs in Spanish. That is a hard, memorizing work. Now think about singing a song where different simple past verbs are used. Now let’s say you listen to that song every day: you will get a lot of language practice easily, you’ll learn new vocabulary AND the new verbs in a context. On top of that, you will expand your knowledge of Spanish cultural references by learning about some well-known singers, where they come from and the genres they interpret.
This is an example of a song I use when I explain the use of articles in Spanish. Listen to the song and fill out “lo”, “la” or “el” in the correct place. Click here for the activity.
Using songs to speed up your learning:
Songs will aid you in understanding real language, the way natives speak it. This is very useful since both your listening and pronunciation skills will improve. Remember that, just like babies, you have to listen to new language several times before you can reproduce it. In the beginning, the song will probably sound too fast or too difficult to learn, but as you listen to it several times, it will become easier to understand and pronounce. Also, there will be new words in each song that will increase your vocabulary in a situational context. If you download the song to your phone or iPod and listen to it often, your brain will continue catching up with the new language, even when you’re not aware of it.
Let me teach you Spanish, English or Norwegian in a fun and interactive way!
I am a native Spanish speaker, and fluent in English and Norwegian, languages that I have been teaching for more than 10 years in Norwegian classrooms. In addition, I hold a Master Degree in foreign language teaching from the University of Oslo. On the other hand, I have gone through the process of learning foreign languages and I know very well how frustrating it can be for my students. Both my personal and professional background gives me a deep understanding of the language learning process which I would be happy to use to help you achieve your goals in any of these languages.
Every student is different, so getting to know my student’s specific needs and developing a program that works for him or her is essential for good results. With me, you will get personalized, one-to-one classes through Skype that adapt to your specific needs. You will learn Spanish, English or Norwegian easily through songs, as well as with multimedia and interactive exercises that focus on real, everyday language to maximize your achievement.