Spanish language day: Benefits of learning Spanish through music

Held every October 12, UN Spanish Language Day coincides with the National Day of Spain, a holiday that also commemorates the anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival to the Americas. If you’re learning Spanish, the fourth most spoken language in the world, why don’t you try a more enjoyable way of maximizing your learning progress? Studies have shown that musical training can improve the brain’s language learning abilities and vice versa. Below are the benefits of learning Spanish, or any language, through music:

1. It can boost your listening skills

There are other different techniques and strategies for improving your listening comprehension – using online tools and apps like Memrise, having conversations with a native speaker, watching TV shows and movies, and listening to podcasts or audiobooks. But if you find some of these techniques monotonous or stressful, then listening to music could be a new approach to sharpen your listening skills.

After several repetitions of a song, you’ll get an ear for the sounds of the foreign words, expressions and idioms. You’ll be able to catch and understand difficult words that you normally wouldn’t recognize when spoken by a native speaker.

2. It can improve your speaking and pronunciation skills

Singing along to catchy tunes can help you practice speaking a foreign language because you’ll learn how to pronounce the lyrics correctly. In the journal Memory and Cognition, the findings have proven that a “listen and sing learning method” can facilitate verbatim memory for spoken language phrases. By following the lyrics of songs and singing them out loud, you can imitate how natives pronounce difficult words and adjust your pronunciation.

According to Telegraph, adults who sang words or short phrases from a foreign language while learning were twice as good at speaking it later. Doing this regularly can also help reduce your foreign-sounding accent. You don’t even need to have a good singing voice!

3. It can help improve your memory and expand your vocabulary

Music is known to help trigger memory recall due to the synaptic formations in the brain, which are stimulated by the melody and lyrics of music. This technique helps learners to memorize vocabulary and sentences better than by rote learning, a memorization technique based on repetition and constant exposure.

Songs also provide relevant vocabulary and useful phrases in a specific context or situation. The brain is an “association machine” and learning words, nuances and phrases that you can apply to different real-life situations is better than memorizing them without context.

Spanish songs for learners

To help you sing your way to fluency, we asked an experienced Spanish language teacher, María Jesús Sánchez Sánchez, for songs recommended for learners of different levels.

For learning the present tense and daily vocabulary:
Ella y Él by Ricardo Arjona
Video / Lyrics

For learning the future tense:
Qué va a ser de mi by Ismael Serrano
Video / Lyrics

For learning the present and past tenses:
Mediterráneo by Joan Manuel Serrat
Video / Lyrics

For learning the verbs “To be” (ser / estar) and comparisons:
Así estoy yo sin ti by Joaquín Sabina
Video / Lyrics

For learning subjunctive verb forms:
Ojalá que llueva café by Juan Luis Guerra
Video / Lyrics

For learning conditional verb forms:
No dudaría by Antonio Flores
Video / Lyrics

Do you know any other good Spanish songs for learning the language? Share them with us below.

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Mike Staffa

The author

Mike Staffa

Mike manages translator marketing at Gengo. Based in Tokyo, he is a tech enthusiast who's been living in Japan since 2005. In his down time Mike listens to punk music, reminisces about his years in Osaka, and tries to convince his Japanese friends that Minnesota is a U.S. state they should know.

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