The other day I mentioned three benefits of using music to teach a second language. In today’s post in our 31 Days of Homeschool Spanish series, I am going to give you some practical things you can do to incorporate music into your Spanish class and use it as a learning tool.
Here are 5 Ways to Use Music to Teach Spanish
1. Listen to to the Language to Improve Pronunciation
Listening first. Listening to songs, to narratives and to conversations, before you start speaking can greatly improve your pronunciation and accent.
It doesn’t even matter if you don’t understand what they are saying at first. You are training your ear and when you do begin speaking you will speak better for having spent time listening.
2. Listen and Read or Sing Along
If you can find YouTube videos of songs you know with subtitles, or use a hymnal to follow along to recorded hymns in the target language, you can begin to practice singing the words, trying to match your sounds the pronunciation sounds you are hearing.
Our family loves to sing hymns and children’s songs in Spanish around the house, and of course at our weekly Bible Club and church services here in Mexico. Our children know many of the hymns of the faith better in Spanish than in English! We try to have a balance in our home of playing the songs in both languages, and often one or more of the kids have pricked up their ears and said “Oh, I know this song, it is “this” in Spanish” and they name the Spanish song. The words in the two languages become interchangeable and they learn the language without it being a chore. This one by The Steve Pettit Evangelistic Team is one of our favorites (Disclaimer: we do not recommend EVERY title they sing.)
Here are some of our favorite Spanish Hymnals:
- Himnos Majestuosos -by Majesty Music is our Preferred Hymnal. The translations of the “old hymns” are generally more accurate and or meaningful than those of the Himnario Bautista.
- Himnario Bautista – comes with guitar chords noted.
- Himnos de Gloria y Triunfo – another good one.
- Celebremos su Gloria – also has guitar chords noted.
- And the Patch the Pirate Spanish Song Books that go along with the CDs we mentioned in the other post.
3. Write the Lyrics
Just like we touched on in our copywork post earlier, writing in your target language is very important to fluency. Just as you can copy down Scripture passages, poetry or literature, you can also copy down song lyrics. You might even have your student try to write it from memory and then check their spelling against the written copy.
4. Use Music for Vocabulary Learning
Find a song, or an unfamiliar hymn in your second language hymnal and write out a list of the words you don’t know. Then look them up in your bi-lingual dictionary and write out the definitions.
5. Use Songs for Translation Practice
While your student may need to be a bit more advanced for translation, this is an excellent way to practice your language skills. It would need to be a song you do not know in the language your are translating into. Start with an English song and translate it into Spanish, or start with Spanish and translate into English. If the song already has a translation, you can then check your work and compare your vocabulary choices to those used by the original translator.
How else would you use music to teach a second language? What else have you done?
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