How To Learn A New Language Through Music

Transforming “studying” into fun

Songs that work best to help you remember new phrases are ones with fun, simple and catchy lyrics. They stick in your head and are easy to share with others, making you the life of the party.

Studying the language by yourself is as important as talking to natives. If you view self-study as the learning and using it as putting what you learn into practice, you’ll learn any language very fast. Use music to make learning fun and interesting!

Since repeating songs is the key to remembering them, ensure you pick songs you enjoy. Nothing is worse than having an annoying and repeating tune in your head all day.

In an ideal world, learning new things should always be fun. Introduce yourself to a new world by learning how to say hello in Mandarin.

Listening to music helps with memorization

Music is a tool that professional linguists use to aid their memory. This is because of its ability to work as a mnemonic device. Schools employ this technique when teaching things like the alphabet – remember, you learned your mother tongue through a lot of music!

Everyone can recall a time when a song has been stuck in their head for a while. This is exactly why music helps with memorization. Repetition is key here.

Nailing pronunciation

Natives are known for speaking fast and speaking with idioms and colloquialisms. Singing along to catchy songs can help you pick up on pronunciation where you struggle to face-to-face.

“Listening to German music is exactly what helped me master all the new sounds in the Dutch language that I simply wasn’t used to making before. It was key to making Dutch my third language.” Says Aaron Cramer, ESL teacher at Writinity and Last Minute Writing.

Enriching our vocabulary

As songs have the knack of slowing down language for you (a great learning tool alongside living with fast-speaking natives), you are better able to spot new phrases and hear them in the correct context, too. This is a better approach to language learning that memorizing isolated words, as it encourages fluency. Even if you were a walking dictionary for another language, you would not be able to string sentences together with flair. That’s where listening to music comes in great use: you essentially hit two birds with one stone by getting the language and the grammar together.

For fun, learn these seven Portuguese time idioms to speak more like a local:

Get the English translation AND original language lyrics

Using the English lyric translations to your favorite foreign songs is a great way to learn new words fast. Additionally, reading the lyrics as well as listening to them will prevent you hearing and learning the wrong thing. This is essentially a self-correction to help you avoid mistakes when learning a new language.

“You have the choice of learning the songs side by side, or choosing either the original or English versions to learn first. Your choice of learning style is entirely up to you, and all will be a great help to you picking up the language fast.” Says Helen Cano, tutor at Draft Beyond and Research Papers UK.

Break the song down into “chunks”

The bold power of music in learning language comes from chunking language. See this as meaning that more information can be stored as one data file in your mind by grouping it all together. The rhythmical beat of music facilitates this, as we tend to remember the beat most when listening to music.

Don’t just listen: SING

Scotland’s University of Edinburgh used sixty participants to demonstrate that repeating 15 Hungarian phrases through a song increased their memory of the phrases, compared to those that repeated the phrases normally!

Granted you chose songs you love you won’t think twice about belting out foreign songs while you go about your daily life. They will soon contribute phrases to your knowledge that will be normalized to you. Sing wherever you are, and soon you will surprise yourself with how much you know.

Ashley Halsey is a tutor and blogger at Gum Essays and Lucky Assignments. She has been travelling the US and Europe with her international projects on language teaching, and enjoys regularly attending business workshops run by her team mates.