A great way to support your studies during your Spanish language course in Spain would be to immerse yourself in a Spanish-speaking lifestyle; to build upon what you learn during your lessons in the classroom. A tried and true method to improve your Spanish language skills is to make the learning process a fun one!
One of the many benefits of learning Spanish is being able to tap into the wealth of Hispanic culture all over the world in the form of food, film, literature, and of course, music!
I would be extremely surprised if listening to music was something that you did not consider to be a fun activity…..in the odd case that you prefer visual media to audio, you could try the Telenovela Method.
But if you, like most of the general human population, appreciate listening to a great song every now and then – well, make those pleasurable moments count by listening to songs in Spanish that you enjoy.
There are many diverse genres of music from Latin-American countries and Spain to be discovered. These styles in turn have given the world their share of popular recording artists and performers that many of us celebrate from a distance.
Ever wanted to overcome the language barrier and truly understand the beauty contained within the Spanish lyrics that these songs hold? Well now you can! Learn Spanish by listening to some of your favourite songs and take your Spanish fluency to a whole other level.
So here is how you could go about it:
Dig Up Songs That You Already Know
You could listen to Spanish language songs that already had international success that you are familiar with. This will make the listening process easier since you will already have the rhythm and melody under your belt. Now, you could just focus a little more and understand the lyrics.
Consider Bilingual Artists
Try listening to music put out by Spanish speaking musicians who are bilingual like Shakira, Ricky Martin, Gloria Estefan and Marc Anthony (just to name a few!). It is not uncommon for certain Hispanic artist to record the same song in both Spanish and English to cater to their linguistically different audiences. The first point may apply here, as you might have already heard a song in English only to find that the same song exists in Spanish! Note however, that some songs change, in title and lyrical content when “translated” to the other language. It would just make it that much more fun for you to pick out the differences.
Discover New Music
There is an entire Hispanic and Spanish world of music to discover and explore! Try going on Youtube or asking friends in search of artists and songs that you do not already know. Not only would it be great for you to expand the playlist on your music player, but this will be a way for to explore the various aspects of Hispanic and Spanish culture.
Explore Music From Different Countries
Diversity rules – and it would be awesome for you to delve into the different styles and genres of music available all over the numerous Hispanic countries and Spain. The rhythms, instrumentals, lyrical content etc vary depending on the country – from Central America, to South America to the Caribbean to Spain! This will not only be another cultural trip, but a great way to reinforce your Spanish language oral comprehension. As you listen to the music from all over the world, you will train your ears to understand the various Spanish speaking accents too!
Be sure to pick songs that you truly like so that the listening experience is always a pleasurable one. This will keep you motivated, even though you are “learning.”
While listening to the music, although you are having fun, it would be helpful to keep certain objectives in mind:
1. Seek to Understand the Lyrics
I suggest that, at first, you listen to the songs repeatedly to see if you can understand them fully on your own without any outside help. And then for a boost, you can use certain websites dedicated to writing out song lyrics to fill in the blanks where you need help.
Beware however, that lyrics are often submitted by regular people like you and I, and just like with songs in English, there could be typos and mistakes with people not agreeing on what they think they heard within the songs.
2.Make a Little Effort to Improve Your Vocabulary & Grammar
While listening to your favourite songs, sometimes you could make the little extra effort to look up meanings of words that you don’t know. Or make a point to observe the way certain phrases are structured grammatically within the verses. Many songs contain cultural expressions in Spanish, and this would be a great way in learning to understand and retain them.
3. Sing Along to Improve your Pronunciation
Some believe that when we sing, all traces of regional accents go out the door. Not sure if it is true, but it would be worth trying it out to see for yourself. Listen to the song and use the way the artists sing’s the lyrics as your guide.
Added Bonus: Song titles alone can be helpful in improving your understanding of grammar rules…especially as far as the subjunctive tense goes…!
The more you sing the more you will get comfortable pronouncing the words when you are actually speaking them.Try to take note of where the inflections are and how the words are stressed to be able to imitate a native speaker’s intonation.
And there you have it. Go ahead. Go crazy! Get to listening! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain!