Learning English with songs
Advantages and disadvantages
It is clear that to learn any language, the more resources we use and the longer we are immersed in the language, the faster we will learn.
Anything that is useful to us in acquiring the language is welcome, and we should not rule out anything, but rather incorporate all those tools that help us to learn.
There are many resources available to us: face-to-face or online language schools, conversations with native speakers; books, magazines, newspapers; videos on youtube, podcasts...
Another thing we can incorporate into our learning strategy is the use of songs in English. We all listen to music performed by English speaking singers and we are able to learn the lyrics and sing them with a more than acceptable pronunciation even if we do not know what the song says.
Why not make more use of this resource by trying to see what vocabulary is used and how sentences are structured?
Learning English by singing has many advantages, but also some disadvantages. Let's see what they are.
Advantages of learning English with songs
One of the main advantages of learning English with songs is that it really helps us to improve our pronunciation. When we sing, we imitate what the singer says and we also repeat it over and over again, which gives us the opportunity to train our English accent. In this way, we unconsciously learn to pronounce correctly in English.
2. Slang vocabulary
The lyrics of most of the songs we hear contain a colloquial language, the one spoken in the street, and that gives us a great opportunity to learn words and above all expressions that are not usually studied in a school. That kind of vocabulary will be the one we will find when we talk to natives, so it is worth looking at the lyrics of the songs and taking note of those interesting words and expressions.
A song gives us the necessary context to understand not only the meaning of the vocabulary used, but also how it is used. In addition, the songs are always about a specific topic, so all the words we learn are related to each other, which gives us a lot of information about the same idea.
3. Structuring sentences
Although it is true song lyrics do not always follow correct grammatical rules, in many cases the phrases are well structured and therefore we have good examples of the use of verb tenses. Thus, while singing we are using the grammar without realizing it. In fact, we are learning English by speaking, which is the best way to acquire a language.
4. Easy to remember
The part of the brain that controls language is the same as that which controls music. Thus, when we learn a song, these parts are activated and connections are formed between them, which favours learning. Moreover, when we like a song we listen to it over and over again, which means that we repeat the same words and phrases endlessly. All this helps to fix the new knowledge in our brain.
It has been demonstrated that there is no effective learning if there is no great motivation pushing us to do our best to achieve our goal. Music motivates us by itself, because it connects us with our emotions and makes us experience feelings. It does not represent an effort for us, it is not an obligation to learn the lyrics of a song; we do it because we feel like it, because we enjoy singing them and because we want to know what it is about.
We all know that when we have fun doing an activity, we learn faster and better. Learning English through songs gives us the opportunity to do so while enjoying the process. Music gives us a unique context, because it connects the rhythm and melody of a song with the content of the lyrics and the emotions.
Disadvantages of learning English with songs
Actually, there are not many disadvantages. Basically the drawbacks of using songs as a tool for learning English are that there is a misuse of grammar in some cases and that there are certain words or expressions that if not used well or in the right context can sound rude.
When someone writes a song, what they take into account is that the words rhyme, that they have a musical cadence and this is sometimes not compatible with the correct use of grammar. Even so, that is accepted because with song lyrics one can allow oneself certain mistakes which benefit the final result of the song.
Also, many pop or rap songs use words and expressions that take place in a very informal atmosphere. Knowing them will help us understand the song but we must be careful when using them, as in certain areas they would not be appropriate. The best thing is to look in a good dictionary in which the information of whether the word or expression is "slang" is given, that is to say, very informal and that it can sometimes be offensive.
Learning songs in English is another tool that can help us achieve our goal of speaking English in a fun and enjoyable way. So, let's incorporate music into our suitcase of resources and make the most of it to help us master this language.