We are surrounded by music; no matter what we do would it be drive, do the shopping or simply relax at home, we are always humming away to a song being played in the background. So why do we love listening to music?
According to studies anyone who listens to music and sings along for ten minutes a day is a happier person and in the long run faces life in a more positive way. As we listen to music, it stimulates the control area in our brain, which means that when accompanied by a good song new concepts are absorbed more easily. We should all try and use this idea in our daily lives!
According to some theories every language has a distinct melody. In other words, the sound of words used varies when, for example, we speak in Spanish or English. The tendency for the learner is to keep using the melody of their mother tongue whilst reproducing a completely different language- that’s where the wrong accent is produced, and goes to explain that whenever we hear a foreigner talk in our own language we are capable of noticing their accent simply by the wrong melodic tone they are employing. In conclusion trying to reproduce a foreign language employing your mother tongue’s melody simply does not work. This is why pronunciation practice is important to make the lyrics rhyme with the music.
Intonation, described as the melodic movement of a statement, is what gives meaning to what is being expressed, so it is also of great importance in any language. How can it be improved? A good approach is the use of music and chants so as to practice the new language’s intonation.
One important element in a balanced language class is a good song. Regardless of the students’ age, the aim is to match a new learning approach with a positive experience. This is why the majority of us remember the songs from our childhood, as we associate them to happy moments in our lives, and this memory develops a bond with the concept of learning. It is when we listen to a song in the language we are learning when our sense of hearing ‘loosens up’ and opens up to new melodies which facilitate comprehension and reproduction in the new language.
At our language school we believe in the use of music and chants in the classroom, which is one of many methods used by teachers to make lessons fun and enjoyable as well as facilitating their learning process. Therefore, it is quite common to overhear music being played during class time at any given time or day, and a clear sign that students listening are improving and practising their language.
Click here to listen to a song written and sung by some of our students at the 2018 Cambridge awards ceremony, or enjoy our young learners perform this song before their parents at the end of the course celebrations.
Why not come and see it for yourself.