It’s time to shake things up! Learn how you can mix in songs to your English learning plan, thanks to our friends at ABA English.
Remember we gave you some tips on how to learn by English watching movies? Well, today we’re here to give you some suggestions on how to make the most of the radio, your CD collection and the Internet, to harness the power of music to learn English.
There is a rich body of scientific studies that show how music impacts the body and how it can be used for learning. The power that music can have on learners is extensive; research indicates that both hemispheres of the brain are engaged when music is played. Isn’t that great news?
Let’s dig in to five different reasons you should incorporate music into your English learning schedule:
1) Practice your pronunciation
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and we agree. By mimicking the sounds you hear throughout the song, you’re practicing your pronunciation over and over again.
And the best thing is, you won’t just practice when you’re singing out loud in your room; if you listen to a really catchy song, you’ll be singing it in your head all day!
Have you ever wondered why Adele, who has a cockney accent, doesn’t sound cockney when she sings? It has to do with phonetics and the pace at which she sings or speaks. When you sing, you often pronounce words slower and more carefully. This is a way to make your accent less noticeable and is a good exercise to practice enunciation.
2) Learn vocabulary
This one is obvious: if you suddenly fall in love with Awolnation’s song “Kill your heroes“, you will probably research the lyrics and try to understand them. Because you will hear the song many times and sing along, it’s much more likely that you will remember the vocabulary.
Also, lyrics stay in your brain longer because they have context and melody, so it is much easier for your brain to recall them. In fact, Stephen Krashen, linguist and educational researcher, said that new, unfamiliar vocabulary is acquired when its significance is made clear to the learner. What does this mean? Context! Trying to remember a word without any meaning is hard, but when we know what it is and how to use it, it’s easier to remember. Also, songs are emotional and this enhances our well-being, which in turn, helps exercise those memory muscles.
It’s much more relaxing to sit down and press play than it is to sit down and open a grammar book. Now, we’re not saying you shouldn’t open a grammar book, but we are saying that mixing things up is key. If one day you are stressed out but need to practice some English, then listen to your favourite songs. But don’t just listen! Listen consciously, read the lyrics, sing out loud and keep notes of the words you didn’t know so you can look them up in the dictionary.
A study was done in which thirty-six college students listened to a Mozart sonata for ten minutes. After listening to the music, the participants experienced positive effects on their brains and its functions. Ok, Mozart doesn’t have any lyrics, but music is still a fantastic resource to put to use. It makes us relaxed, and this relaxed state allows us to pay more attention and be more receptive to learning.
4) Remember more
Music has been reported to help second language learners acquire vocabulary and grammar, improve spelling and develop the linguistic skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening.
A great way to put this to use is to try and memorize your favorite songs. But don’t stop there! Try and implement the new words you’ve learned into everyday conversation.
5) Tune into the language
Music gives you insight into English-speaking culture and what is going on in that moment. Also, music is a common topic of conversation, so if you know what’s going on, you will have more to talk about with other native speakers.
So there you have it: 5 reasons why you should learn English with songs. What we want to know now is what is your favorite song?
Author bio: This post was written by Kate, a teacher from ABA English. ABA English bases English language learning on short films about real life in Europe and the United States. Our course also contains 144 video classes on English grammar, which are available for free. Check out the ABA Teachers Blog for more tips on how to learn English every day.