Sunday, February 24, 2008

The importance of liking your music

I know a lot of people who tend to say that music has really helped their language learning experience in a positive way or is helping them to get a grip on their target language. I agree with them, although I must say that you must not rely too much on songs for language learning. Usually words are changed in a way that they sound nice, but they're not necessary correct when used in the songs. However, songs can be really good to get used to the sound of the language and to boost your love for the language.

I've been struggling with finding music that I really like for long. The Spanish language comes with a list of music genres which are typical for the language. The truth is however, that merengue and bachata music can be nice, but they're not really my type of music. I really like rock music and punk rock in particular. That said, it has been a real drag for me to find some bands I really like. "It doesn't matter if you like the music or not, just listen to Spanish music for the sake of listening" lots of people tend to say. This is not true, you will find out when time passes and you study more and more. You WANT to like the music, otherwise it will just negatively affect your progress.

My search for music that I really like led me to situations I prefer not be in anymore. Because of the lack of music I like, I started listening to some pop music and bachata music. Instead of helping me learning Spanish and increasing my love for the language, it began to break down the love I already had for Spanish. Every minute I listened to music I didn't really like, the more I began to hate the sounds of Spanish itself. I know, maybe I was overreacting, but that was how I felt.

That changed when I found music that I DO like. I started to love the language again, and the sound of Spanish now sound cooler than ever. This shows how important it is that you like the music of the target language you listen to. Maybe the music you like doesn't help you with building vocabulary or getting a better understanding of the grammar, but it can help you gaining a bigger 'liking factor'. On the other hand; listening to music you don't like can seriously damage your progress. In the end you will start studying less and less because you start hating some parts of the language, and the things you want to happen is that you start loving almost every part of it.

Another fun thing to do is to learn the lyrics by heart. This can look dull, but if you're really into a song it can be a really good thing to do. You will get used to the sound, maybe even the particular accent of the singer (if that's an accent you want to learn). Lots of sites which prove lyrics often give the translation of Spanish songs, so you can get a gist of the meaning of the words and sentences (remember: you don't want to translate word-by-word, simply because it doesn't work).


Thomas said...

We got a bunch of Swedish children's songs for my son. I've had fun learning to sing them. Children's songs aren't my style at all, but I think the motivation comes from being able to sing them to the baby.

Have you tried looking for rock and punk from South and Central America?

Rmss said...

Well, children's songs aren't my thing either. Maybe this will change when I have kids myself ;).

The rock bands I do like are actually from South America. A fairly unknown band called Fiskales Ad Hoc is from Chile. It's my favorite band at the moment.

Thomas said...

Hahaha. Children's songs were never my thing before either. Sadly my son falls asleep to Slayer :)

What does Fiskales Ad Hoc mean? The name sounds more like Latin than Spanish.

Rmss said...

Don't know, as my dictionary returns nothing :). So I guess it's just a made up name. Doesn't matter, I love their songs :).

Slayer huh? Will tell it some friends of mine, they love Slayer.