LANGUAGE IS MUSIC. So why shouldn't we learn a language with music? You may find the answer in the text below...

To many people across the globe, music is an important part of everyday life. Whether Flamenco in Sevilla, opera in Milan, techno in Munich or American pop in Los Angeles, music brings people together and helps define unique cultures.
In addition to its cultural importance, many studies have found that music plays a key role in early language acquisition and can also help boost language learning. Neurologists have found that musical and language processing occurs in the same area of the brain, and there appear to be parallels in how musical and linguistic syntax are processed (Maess & Koelsch, 2001).
Inside the classroom, music can be a great way to motivate students of all levels to learn new world languages and help them practice grammar, retain vocabulary and improve pronunciation.
The benefits of using music as a tool for second language acquisition are extensive. First and foremost, songs teach linguistic elements, such as vocabulary, grammar and syntax. Through learning lyrics, students’ vocabulary can quickly become more advanced, and singing phrases can lead to better vocabulary recall. Songs can also prove helpful in learning paralinguistic and extra linguistic elements, including accents and tones, helping to improve pronunciation and comprehension of the language.

Most importantly, music helps connect students with new cultures and opens up a whole new world, just one of the reasons why songs are an important element of teaching world languages. They are an infinite number of songs that discuss culturally relevant topics, such as human relations, ethics, customs, history and humour, as well as regional and cultural differences. These songs can help teach language and culture simultaneously.

Here are just a few ways music can benefit your students in world language learning:
  • Songs often use a conversational tone, including day-to-day vocabulary and lots of personal pronouns
  • Lyrics are often repetitive, which help students understand the global comprehension of the oral text
  • The rhythm, as well as the repetition in songs, help reinforce vocabulary, as well as some grammatical structures, without rote memorization
  • Songs are open to discussion and to several interpretations, which can serve as conversation-starters (in language of course!)
  • Rhythmic elements could help reinforce the prosody of the target language

Barbara Sicot

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