Learn Spanish through music


If someone told you that you could learn Spanish through music, you may think they are joking. But in fact listening to Spanish songs can do wonders for your accent and pronunciation! You do have to learn grammar eventually, but music can be key for learning languages.

Songs get stuck in our head because of our brains. Have you ever wondered why that catchy commercial jingle sticks with you for years? Well, when we listen to music, the emotional, motor and creative areas of our brain are activated, and when we do not know the entire song our brain fills in the missing gaps in the rhythm and repeats it over and over.

Music is therefore deeply interwined with memory – hence the cliche about couples and ‘their song,’ which reminds them of each other. The same ideas can be used to help learn a new language.

By listening to Spanish songs, your brain will pick up on lyrics and store it in your memory bank without you even realising. (Possibly the easiest and most enjoyable way to learn a language…)

1) Shock, Ana Tijoux

Chilean artist, Ana Tijoux, gives us a rap song with a steady, catchy marching beat. Lyrics like ‘la calle no calla, la calle se raya’ will help you to improve your pronunciation at speed. The song delivers powerful messages to the Chilean government on privatisation, through rhymn.

2) Eres, Cafe Tacuba

For a slower paced song, try the beautiful Eres. With simple, clearly sung lyrics, this song is easy to follow. It will also play on your heart-strings as it’s about being in love.

3) Latinoamerica, Calle 13

Calle 13 are a Puerto Rican band well know for their songs with strong themes and agenda. This song acts as a criticism of Western force and influence in Latin America.

4) La Tortura, Shakira

Shakira’s ‘La Tortura’ tells the story of a woman who has been emotionally ‘tortured’ because her boyfriend cheated on her and eventually left her for another, and has now returned begging for forgiveness. The lyrics are simple and powerful – perfect for learning a variety of new words

5) ¡Corre!, Jesse y Joy

Try this song from Mexican pop duo Jesse y Joy. It’s got a slow tempo and plenty of those ‘rr’ sounds to help you practice rolling your tongue.

These songs have hopefully given you a good place to start learning Spanish through music!

More resources for learning Spanish through music

  • Great podcast from The Guardian about music and the brain.
  • Learning through pop songs – popular Latin songs, lyrics and translations
  • Songs to help children learn Spanish from Rockalingua
  • Spanish songs that are ordered by topics from Songs for Teaching

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