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5 Steps to Teaching ESL in Music

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Like the original version of a movie, the lyrics of a music are a good source of words and expressions that can be memorized while having fun. Moreover, listening to or humming foreign songs can improve your pronunciation. This article gives you some ideas to help you learn a foreign language with music, and invites you to practice this method that I personally appreciate.

Learning a language while listening to music: how to get better results?

Music in English is very present in our daily activities, be it in the supermarket, in the car, listening to the radio or watching television… Wherever you go, musical notes accompanied by English texts are bludgeoning our brains. Thanks to music, huge streams of words and phrases surround us, with extraordinary learning potential. But often we don’t pay enough attention to it (passive listening), so it doesn’t improve our language level.

A passion for music can become the key to improving one’s language skills (be it English, Spanish, French, German, Arabic, etc

Here are the steps to follow to optimize your learning with music while remaining an enjoyable activity :

1 – Choose the song you like

You don’t have to go any further to choose which music to listen to. The advice is to start with the songs you are already listening to. Then look for the lyrics of the songs you like.

We hear our favourite songs about ten times a day, but maybe we don’t pay enough attention to their content and the meanings of their lyrics. I think you know by now that repetition is one of the most important factors in learning a foreign language.


2 – Try singing or humming without looking.

If you want to improve your pronunciation, it is important to try to sing by trying to get the best pronunciation possible without reading the words. Indeed, as soon as we try to sing while reading the words, our bad pronunciation habits will start again. It doesn’t matter if you don’t understand the meaning of what you are singing, the most important thing in this step is to pronounce it correctly.

try to write down the lyrics by listening to them. It’s a very good exercise!


3 – Look for the lyrics

Then you can search for the lyrics on the internet. To do this, just search in google «lyrics Name Of The Song» (or lyrics=English lyrics, for English songs). And if you need the translation, just search «translation lyrics SongNameLyrics», to get what you need in a few clicks.

If you use iTunes, you need to install a small program that plays your music library and automatically saves the lyrics to the MP3 file. These applications allow you to have the lyrics directly on your iPhone or iPod with the music in just a few clicks.

So even when you’re out and about, you can, if you wish, listen to your favourite music while reading its lyrics.


4 – Listen to the song while reading the lyrics

It’s time to listen to the music with the lyrics, you’ll be surprised to find words and phrases whose meanings you already know, but you couldn’t realize it before (in fact, it’s not always easy to understand the lyrics of a foreign language song by yourself).

Concentrate on the phrases that seem most interesting to you or maybe just the chorus. If you already know the choruses of your favorite songs, this is enough to allow you to learn hundreds of words and phrases in foreign languages. Here are a few examples:

5 – Listen again and start singing.

Now that you know the lyrics and have grasped the general meaning, you can continue to listen to it while singing it. Once you’ve settled on your favorite song, you’ll probably want to hum it while doing other activities in the car or in the shower for example (personally, these are the only places where you don’t hear my catastrophic performances 🙂 After a while, you’ll end up memorizing the song!

Rehearsal is one of the fundamental pillars of memorization. If you follow the outline of these 5 steps, I can guarantee you that you will improve significantly, and all this without making any effort, and in a pleasant way.

One of the tricks I can advise you for language learning is to alternate a little «serious study» with pleasant activities (music, movies, etc.) in order to keep practicing without your attention and concentration dropping and getting bored. The results can be incredibly surprising!


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