Learning Spanish with songs

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Instituto Hispánico de Murcia - Learning Spanish with songs

For sure once you have heard one of your teachers point out what nuances all societies, and therefore all cultures, that have occurred up to the present day have in common.

Music is necessary and basic for the full development of the human being. Every culture needs music to define itself, as it helps it to understand the reality, which is shared by a social group as opposed to other groups or cultural communities.

In addition, habits and customs are assumed to be transmitted from generation to generation, through the process of enculturation. A process by which adults teach and transmit their own culture to new generations through the repetition of norms and values.

Hence, cultural clashes occur, where two people with different history and influence see their personal tastes and customs in a different way, having to give rise to coexistence within uncertainty.

Very few people live or have been trained with their backs to music. The love of human beings for music is universal, although each culture has specificities in terms of error(its structures, genres or musical styles.) verdad (in terms of musical structures, genres, or styles.)

However, songs have been considered a suitable vehicle for teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language (ELE), as can be seen in the Curricular Plan of the Cervantes Institute (PCIC), which states that songs constitute a relevant teaching material.

Spanish in songs

No one is unaware of the boom of songs in Spanish around the world. Some musical artists have become true ambassadors (at least in the media) of the Spanish language around the world.

Are songs a good resource for learning Spanish?

Of course they are, they are a way to motivate students in learning Spanish and any language.

Pronunciation in songs

In Spanish classes through songs you can work on pronunciation in a different, fun and effective way. Thanks to music we can work on rhythm, pauses, intonation, as well as the way in which words are joined together to pronounce them properly.

Tips for learning Spanish with songs

Nowadays, there are many tools for learning languages with music, such as Spotify, but if the student wants to learn Spanish correctly and the grammatical bases, it is convenient to follow a methodology.

There is no doubt that music influences the learning of a foreign language. This is the methodology we believe it is convenient to follow to learn Spanish with easy songs.

Choosing songs that we like and listening to them several times is one of the most important factors for learning.

To begin with, try to choose quiet songs, such as ballads, with clear pronunciation because they are easier to understand.

Another tip is to look up the lyrics of the songs and read them several times. At the same time you listen to the song you have to read the lyrics well and try to sing them without getting tongue-tied.

To improve your pronunciation and after having followed the above tips, you should try to sing it without looking at the lyrics.

What are the most interesting songs to learn Spanish?

For example, the song “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee is the most viewed music video in the recent history of the YouTube platform. It is a light summer song, with easy and catchy lyrics, simple and extremely easy to memorise and repeat, even for those who have no knowledge of Spanish. Not since the time of “Macarena” has a similar phenomenon been known.

Around Christmas time, we recommend you to listen to Christmas carols. If you are in Spain, we recommend you learn them and sing them so that you sound like a Spaniard.

Learn Spanish through songs

Types of songs

We have made a list based on the teaching songs that our students have recommended to us and that they have used for language learning. Among them we find the following songs:

Level A1

Within this level of Spanish we can find songs like “Limón y sal” by Julieta Venegas or by Jarabe de Palo the song “Bonito”. They are easy songs for initial levels and knowing the present tense. We can also highlight the Spanish Manu Chao’s song “Me gustas tú” to teach the verb gustar (to like).

Level A2

To learn the past tenses, we can find songs like “Se fue” by Laura Pausini or “I fell in love” by Shakira. With “My great night” by Rafael we will learn the future.

Level B1

Dúo Dinámico that became so fashionable in the pandemic with their song “Resistiré” you learn the future and time sentences. For the subjunctive and some of its structures we find songs like “A Dios le pido” by Juanes, “La bicicleta” by Carlos Vives or Juan Luis Guerra, “Ojalá que llueva café en el campo”.

Level B2

You will get to know a great variety of adjectives in the songs of Pablo Alborán “Solamente tú” or “No importa que llueva” by Efecto Pasillo.

Advantages and disadvantages

The main advantage is that you can listen to the song as many times as you want and if you make an effort to reproduce the different sounds and tones, your accent will be less pronounced when you speak.

The songs help you to work on your pronunciation and intonation and to improve your oral expression. In addition, you will learn new words and have a larger vocabulary.

On the other hand, it is important that you know how to choose a suitable song to work on pronunciation as sometimes listening is not understandable. You may encounter colloquial expressions, structures or tenses that are complicated or that you have not learnt yet.

It is also common that you will find different structures from those you have studied in class because they are not perfect texts, as rhyme prevails over linguistic correctness.

In conclusion, and as has been seen throughout the article, the diversity of resources and depth of the world of song in the teaching of Spanish seems infinite.

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