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I was singing and crying, my heart felt so full.
I was also learning a good amount of Spanish.
What was I doing, you ask? I was listening and singing along to some of my favorite songs in Spanish. I've always loved using music and songs to help me learn foreign languages, and you can do the same to improve your English.
Benny Lewis, polyglot (speaker of many languages) and language learning blogger writes:
I want to say that it is super fun as well! Learning English through singing, especially if you are big music fan to begin with, will help take the BORING out of studying. Singing can help your grammar, can expand your vocabulary and can you more of an understanding of slang and and conversational English.
The language experts over at Lingholic recently wrote about why music can be so effective for language learning. You can learn more about WHY this works here.
And now I'll tell you HOW to make it work for you!
Read on to see the 3 easy steps that will help you sing your way to better English:
STEP 1: CHOOSE THE RIGHT MUSIC
In my very first post ever on this blog (don't laugh at me when you read it!), I wrote about studying through your passion. Make sure to do the same thing when choosing your music.
What I mean is, choose songs you LOOOVE!
If you choose songs you already love (and that happen to be in English) you will love the process of learning through using songs.
...and if you want to focus on American pronunciation, it's best to study with music from the U.S. Let me make that quote into a pretty image for you so that you can read it again:
You're in luck because a lot of the music available around the world is from America!
Just choose the type of music you really like and move on the step 2:
STEP 2: USE YOUR EYES
Uh, maybe you are thinking, "Sabrina! I can't use my EYES to listen to music. What are you talking about?"
You're right. You can't listen to music with your eyes.
But you CAN use your eyes to read the lyrics (the words in the song) as you listen to the music at the same time.
Here are a few places I like to go to get lyrics for songs:
I like using this site because it is like a song lyrics wiki. What that means is that people can sumbit lyrics and other people can edit the lyrics, leading to more accuracy.
This website also has a really big selection of songs, so if you want to find the lyrics to a certain song, you will probably be able to find it here.
Lyrics.com is another site where you can find the lyrics for tons of songs. You can search for a whole album or for a particular song.
People can edit the song lyrics and they can also leave comments on the lyrics pages.
You can also use websites like YouTube and Vimeo, and when you do a search for the song you want to practice with, just search like this: "(SONG NAME) with lyrics"
Here's an example search with Michael Jackson's song "Billie Jean":
After you've watched the video or downloaded and saved the lyrics onto your computer, you can look up the words you don't know (in an English-only dictionary if you can).
Sing along as best you can as you read the lyrics. Read while singing along for the first few times you study with your chosen song.
STEP 3: REPEAT
What do little kids do when they like a song? They say, "AGAIN!" ...and they make their poor parents listen to the same song over and over again. And over again. Trust me, I know! I have a 2-year-old daughter!
You don't have to be so extreme, but once you have chosen a song you love, listen to the same song over and over again.
Just like when you were a child, listening again and again will help you learn and remember more!
Here are some things you can do to help you repeat your chosen songs:
Put them on your playlist on your computer.
Put the songs on a playlist on your MP3 player.
Save the music videos from your chosen songs to a playlist on YouTube.
Make a CD and play the same songs in the car, when you're cooking, or before you go to sleep at night.
Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Then repeat again!
Repeat while singing out loud.
Repeat while reading over the lyrics.
Repeat and hum along.
You get the idea.
Here are the 3 steps again:
OKAY, BUT NOW I'M BORED
Once you get bored with a song, you can do the whole process over again with new songs.
If you were to do this 3-step process with all of the songs on one of your favorite albums, you could learn lots of casual English phrases, improve your pronunciation and really remember some new vocabulary.
How do you use songs and music to help you learn English?
Learn to speak real, conversational American English with Sabrina, an American English teacher.
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