It can also be free and done anywhere, anytime!
Here’s how and why music helps you to learn:
You Learn New Vocabulary
Songs contain many new words – you can look up the lyrics to your favorite songs and learn the meaning. Hearing the words used again in songs helps to put them into context. If you are feeling really adventurous, you can print some song lyrics, blank out various words, and then at a later date (when you have forgotten what the words are!) listen to the song again and try and fill in the blanks.
You Learn Slang and How People Really Speak
Songs are filled with slang, figures of speech, symbolism, metaphors, and everyday ways of speaking. Whilst this will not help you learn strict rules of grammar, it will help you to understand natural speech. You can even try using some of the new words and phrases in your everyday conversations!
You Hear Different Accents
There are so many different accents within the English speaking community. Accents do not only vary between countries, but also within different areas of countries. Whilst you may not want to talk like this yourself, it helps you to understand different English speakers easier.
Music Trains Your Brain
Even if you understand very little of a song to begin with, music can help your brain be more receptive to hearing English. The more you listen to something, the more you expect to hear it.
Normal Speech Will Sound Slow!
Many English learners struggle to understand people speaking at what they consider a normal pace – for learners, other people can sound like they are speaking really fast! Once you master music, regular speech will be much easier to understand!
Music Can be Relaxing
Other ways of learning can be a joy, they can be a challenge, they can leave you feeling proud, and they can leave you feeling frustrated. Learning is a constant cycle of victories, defeats, and an emotional roller coaster.
Music is usually very relaxing though, enabling you to learn whilst enjoying the moment! It is a great addition to all your other learning tools and techniques.
Music Increases Your Discussion Topics
Having a wider knowledge of music gives you a very broad conversation topic when meeting new people. “What kind of music do you like?” “Who’s your favorite singer?” “Why do you like that band?”- you open the doors for some common questions and discussions and can talk about your musical tastes with ease, actually knowing what you are talking about!
Music Increases Cultural Awareness
Music is great for increasing language skills. It is also great for increasing cultural understanding and awareness. When learning a language, a basic understanding of the culture is always essential. Music can help you to expand on this. Songs contain lots of information about humor, love, anger, human relationships, moral issues, history, traditions, and more!
Music can also improve memory, improve concentration, be motivational, among other benefits!
And now for the science bit:
Experts (Maess & Koelsch, 2001) have discovered that the brain processes music and language in the same area – therefore, when you stimulate this area with music, it also activates the language learning bit!
So, pop some tunes on your iPod, turn on the radio, watch music videos on YouTube, and get set to improve your English effortlessly!
Sarah Williams is an English teacher and a freelance writer who writes for Listen & Learn. She comes from the UK, and is a keen traveler.
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