Learning Spanish Through Music and Poetry Posted by Transparent Language on Apr 27, 2015 in Uncategorized
Learning a new language can be a daunting task. This is true for Spanish as well. Especially if you only focus on using textbooks, and trying to memorize verbs, nouns, grammar rules and so on. Studying the theory of a language is not going to make you a better speaker of that language.
So the most important thing, of course, is learning to communicate with others, especially with native Spanish speakers. Without being able to express yourself to Spanish speaking people and understanding them the rules you learned in your Spanish class suddenly lose value.
You might ask “how do I become conversational?”or “how do I become fluent in Spanish?”. Well, it’s not as hard as it sounds. There are many ways to do that, but I’d like to elaborate on two of them: Music and Poetry.
Did you know that music affects the brain, in ways we can’t imagine? Here is a little graphic to give you an idea:
As you can see brain areas responsible for movement, attention, planning and memory, consistently get activated when we listen to music.This means that when we listen to music, a lot of other things happen to our brain, not just simple sound processing.
I emphasized “memory” on purpose in the previous paragraph, because that’s how this science finding helps in proving that listening to music helps learning to speak a language. This means that music gets stuck into our heads; the beat, melody and the lyrics. This is why many brands try to come up with new jingles in commercials and this is why you should listen to songs in Spanish – to learn Spanish through music.
By listening to Spanish music you can learn much more about the language and Spanish culture that you can from your textbooks. Since we mentioned conversational Spanish, in all these songs you can hear local slang language. So, you’ll learn the language the way Spanish people use it to communicate on a day to day basis.
How To Use Songs To Learn Spanish?
You pick a catchy tune (rhythm and melody), that has clearly distinguishable pronunciation. At first you can try to understand the lyrics by hearing, if that’s a problem you can always check them out with a simple search query. Then check for unknown words, highlight them, and translate them. I would suggest you listen Spanish songs from a particular Spanish speaking region, as the dialect and the slang they use can differ greatly. You want to become familiar with just that region’s dialect, not all of them.
When you pick a song, you should listen to it a number of times, until you can sing along. That’s when this whole process of learning Spanish through music delivers the “end product”.
Here a few resources that you can learn Spanish from:
- Learning Spanish through songs: http://www.songsforteaching.com/spanishsongs.htm
- List of Spanish language resources and tips from experts: http://www.letutor.com/learning-spanish/
- This list of bands: http://www.alwaysspanish.com/2012/10/7-bands-no-spanish-learner-must-ignore.html
Here are a few songs that you might like:
La Tortura by Shakira
Vivir mi Vida by Marc Anthony
Maria by RIcky Martin
Me Gustas Tu by Manu Chao
Loca by Shakira featuring El Cata
Learning Spanish Through Poetry
An intermediary way of learning Spanish, between textbook and non-textbook methods is through poetry. As we know poets possess a great mastery of language; by using figure of speech they’ll open ways for you to understand not only the language, but the Spanish way of life as well.
A poem is one of the best forms of expressing feelings by using a distinctive style and rhythm. Poems make up poetry. Thus poetries have a distinctive rhythm as well. We can say that poetry is music without instruments. Since poetries should be recited in a particular rhythmic sense, it affects our brains in a similar way that music does. Also, most of poetries have a considerable use of rhymes, which makes them memorable, since our brain works in patterns.
In the previous section of this article, when we spoke about how music affects the brain. Now we explained how poetry affects our brains in a similar way. This makes learning a language through poetry just as helpful as doing so by music. Poetries are easy to memorize and after memorizing them, we can translate it, from let’s say Spanish to English, or vice versa. By doing this you can learn Spanish at a quite high level. Poetic level I’d say.
I am a Spanish teacher myself and we’ve been using these methods for a while now at our school Le Tutor in Phoenix, AZ, to make the language learning process easier for our students. Learning a language through music and poetry has proven to be very successful and our students seem to enjoy this way of learning a lot.
Here you can find some beautiful Spanish poems:
- Don Quijote: http://www.donquijote.org/spanishlanguage/love/poems
- Poetry Soup: http://www.poetrysoup.com/poems/best/spanish
- Poems in Spanish by Pablo Neruda: http://www.poemas-del-alma.com/pablo-neruda.htm
Guest Post by Julie Blair of Le Tutor
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