Why Learning Spanish through Music Is Great
Why is learning Spanish through music an excellent learning method?
Learning Spanish through music is useful because it:
- helps you remember particular words and phrases through repetition.
- teaches you useful vocabulary and grammar.
- shows you the right pronunciation.
I’m sure you know what despacito means now 😉
Like Despacito, some other songs in Spanish have conquered the world too:
Dale a tu cuerpo alegría Macarena
Que tu cuerpo es pa’ darle alegría y cosa buena (Macarena, Los Del Río)
La cucaracha, la cucaracha
Ya no puede caminar (La cucaracha, Popular Mexican Song)
Aserejé, ja deje tejebe tude jebere (Aserejé, Las Ketchup)
Wait, that’s not even Spanish.
Don’t you think learning Spanish through music is fun?
Yes, but it can get tricky because:
- Most of the song lyrics aren’t natural speech.
- They usually sing too fast.
- The lyrics sometimes do not translate literally.
Having said that, do you know of any learning method that is 100% perfect?
Right, neither do I. Let’s focus on the positive then.
“What Kind of Songs Should I listen to?”
So what kind of songs should you choose? Most people would tell you to go for pieces that:
- are good sing-a-long
- do not play too fast tempo
- have a clear pronunciation
- use easy words
While all those things make sense, there is ONE characteristic a song needs to have to help you learn Spanish: it needs to be in Spanish!
Sorry, that was a terrible joke.
Jokes apart, here you have an example of a song that doesn’t fulfill most of the requisites:
Salsa, tequila, corazón, cerveza, muy bueno… As you can see, the lyrics are just a few random Spanish words. You can learn some Spanish from this song but, be aware of something: calamari is not a Spanish word.
Please, do not think you can speak Spanish just because you can say cliché phrases like Hola señorita or Una cerveza por favor. I know you can do better.
Ok, no more beating around the bush. When does a song make you want to listen to it a thousand times? The answer is simple: when it’s emotionally evocative.
This aspect is subjective. So let me rephrase this sentence: It needs to be emotionally evocative FOR YOU.
Stop reading here for a second and ask yourself: What song do I find emotionally evocative?
I’m sure you came up with a few of them. Focus on one of those songs you love. How is it? Does it make you cry? Does it make you happy? What emotion does it evoke on you?
Emotions and Language Learning
Believe it or not, emotions are the heart of language learning.
You can learn and memorize thousands of Spanish words and phrases from listening to music. The condition number one for you to absorb this information better is being in a positive emotional state.
Ehm, what does it even mean? Gratitude, joy, interest, hope, awe, love, pride, hope, serenity, interest, inspiration, and amusement are all positive emotions. Music is a source of joy.
“Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.”
Or, like author and Psy.D. Jill Suttie says: Music enjoyment elicits dopamine release, and dopamine release has been tied to motivation, which in turn is implicated in learning and memory.
Ok. Let’s summarize a bit:
- Emotions are essential when learning a foreign language, aka Spanish.
- Being in a positive emotional state helps you learn Spanish better.
- Music should evoke positive emotions on you, ultimately joy.
- The joy you feel when listening to music makes you feel more motivated to learn.
- This motivation helps you learn and memorize better (point 2).
“How Do I Become Fluent in Spanish through Songs?”
Can I become a fluent Spanish speaker by passively listening to music? Is it that easy? Well, not exactly. If you’re serious about this, don’t go on Facebook or Instagram while you do this. Don’t text a friend either. Turn off all your distractions and focus your full attention on the music.
The process should go like this:
- Choose a song you like love
- Check out the lyrics and look up the words you don’t know
- Listen to it over and over again
- Sing along to lyrics
- Write down all the lyrics
Remember: we’ve said the lyrics sometimes do not translate literally. So don’t look too far into the conveyed meaning of the lyrics.
Now I’m convinced. Should I combine this strategy of learning Spanish with music with other approaches? ¡Por supuesto! (Of course!) Variation is essential to keep your learning experience enjoyable and efficient. Choose the strategies that work best for you.
“How Can I Find Songs in Spanish that I Love?”
Depending on your tastes, you can:
- Go on YouTube and write in the search bar terms like “pop en español,” “rock en español,” etc.
- Use Spotify’s playlists.
- Continue reading. Here is a list of eight great pop songs in Spanish that will cheer you up and provide helpful vocabulary and insight.
8 Awesome Songs in Spanish You Might Love
1. Conchita – Un beso redondo
In May 2015, Spanish singer Conchita released this charity single to institutionalize May 13 as the Day of the Hospitalized Child.
If you want to listen to more songs from Conchita, I recommend you check out El Viaje.
2. Manuel Carrasco – Qué bonito es querer
“Qué bonito es querer” is a tribute to friendship. The first time I listened to this song was when my daughter, who lovingly called Manuel Carrasco for Manolo, sang it at school. I immediately fell in love with it.
3. David Rees – De ellos aprendí
Can you imagine writing a song inspired by the movies you watched as a kid? “De ellos aprendí,” which means I learned from them, is a lovely song that will surely transport you back to your infancy, making you smile.
4. Chayanne – Madre Tierra (Oye)
This song from Latin pop singer Chayanne cheers the soul and encourages happiness, positivism, and goodness.
5. Celia Cruz – La vida es un carnaval
Celia Cruz was a well-known Cuban singer and performer. Her songs are inspiring and full of life and should be a must-know for every Spanish learner.
6. Marc Anthony – Vivir mi vida
In this song, Marc Anthony sings to life. I always feel happy after listening to it. The chorus invites you to dance, laugh, and enjoy life.
7. Rozalén – Girasoles
Rozalén is a Spanish pop singer and songwriter that sings very clearly and soulfully. She uses easy words in Spanish from Spain. The language isn’t complicated, and it doesn’t get too fast-paced.
Another song from her I’d recommend for learning body parts words is Para los dos.
8. Jarabe De Palo – Bonito
Jarabe de Palo has so many awesome songs; it’s hard for me to choose only one. “Bonito” is also a tribute to life. Even if things don’t always go the way we want, todo me parece bonito (Everything seems beautiful to me).
¿Qué canción te gusta más? Which song do you like best? Please, leave a comment!