Learning languages can be a lot of fun, just put your ingenuity and creativity into practice to turn the learning process into something more: a moment to enjoy all that a language and its culture have to offer.
English is the most widely spoken language in the world, followed by Mandarin Chinese, the official language of the most populated country on the five continents (its territory concentrates 1,433 million inhabitants). Therefore, it is possible to say that every day thousands of people are studying English simultaneously in every corner of the globe. However, the way of learning English has been mutating, transforming and evolving over the years.
Today, with the tools at hand – like the Internet, smart phones and applications – each student can find their own learning path without necessarily resorting to formal education. Or even doing it remotely, from the comfort of your own home.
These alternative ways of learning English were compounded by an intensification of globalization and unrestricted access to cultures from around the world through streaming platforms and an endless catalogue of artists to listen to online. Today, one click is enough to see or hear just about anything.
Therefore, one of the most entertaining and easy ways to learn languages is to do it through artists, their records and their songs. Next, we share 5 tips and advice to learn English by listening to music:
1. Listen to different artists and choose your path
Music in English is the most popular in the world, since many of the most popular musical genres around the globe, such as rock, jazz and blues, were born in Anglo-Saxon countries – both for their native musicians and for their immigrants.
Therefore, the first step to learn English by listening to music is to select and choose those artists that we like and allow us to study the language, such as The Beatles, Queen or Oasis, just to name three bands with very good songs, “catchy”, and easy to learn.
2. Assess your level of English
Once the artists have been chosen, listening to an album allows us to make a self-assessment of our level of knowledge of the language and choose to work on those that are understandable to us.
In the case of The Beatles, it is best to opt for the first albums of the band in which songs with simple melodies and ballads predominate that will allow us to concentrate more and better on the lyrics, which is really what matters to us when it comes to learning English.
3. Transcribe the songs
A very good technique to associate the sound of words with the written language is to transcribe those songs that are appropriate for our level of knowledge.
Thus, not only will we know how to pronounce those terms that make up the different verses and stanzas but we will also be able to incorporate how they are written and learn more about the spelling and grammar of the English language.
4. Translate your favourite pieces
Once the songs have been transcribed in their original language, the next step is to translate them. Although, as we have seen in different articles on this blog, translation is a professional activity, the informal translation of a song allows you to navigate the universe of words, their meanings and their different uses.
This practice is very important since it allows us to know the equivalents of each word in our mother tongue and to gradually incorporate new words to our – increasingly wide – vocabulary in English.
5. Watch music related movies
Movies present us with another great opportunity to learn English by listening to music. Documentaries about musicians, biopics based on the lives of different artists and Hollywood musicals, among other genres, usually include great hits and songs that can facilitate learning and also make us have a good time studying English.
Some of our recommendations are:
• Biopic: “Love and Mercy” (based on the life of Brian Wilson from The Beach Boys), “Rocket man” (about Elton John) and “Bohemian Rhapsody” (the story of Freddy Mercury).
• Documentaries: “Amy” (a journey through the life of Amy Winehouse), “What happened, Miss Simone?” (about the legendary Nina Simone) and “Living in the material world” (a close portrait of George Harrison).
• Musicals: “Singing in the rain”, “Moulin Rouge” and “Mamma mia”.
We hope you have enjoyed our 5 tips for learning English by listening to music and put them into practice to make studying the language a dynamic and fun process. Until next time!