Many of the songs we listen to these days are real anthems and they transmit a message of optimism that we share with each other at this weird time. In every country, these catchy songs are exactly what we need to bring us together, to share our feelings and to spread that spirit that enables us to look to a better future.
And, of course, listening to them, memorizing the lyrics and, then, singing them, is a fun way to sharpen your language skills. Italian has never been so popular before! Most of us have been humming songs like Facciamo finta che… Tutto va ben! these days, even if we’ve never studied this language.
For language teachers, songs are a great resource, either as an “ice breaker”, at the beginning of a lesson, or to wrap up a class, ending the class on a high note, literally and figuratively, for students. And they’re endlessly interesting from the linguistic point of view. Here are some examples of how such songs, besides how inspiring and motivating they are, can be used in a language class.
Resistiré, from Dúo Dinámico, adapted in many different ways, is good to practice the Spanish future form and the subjunctive present in time clauses. But, if it sounds a bit repetitive, we can, instead, practice our French, with Résiste, de France Gall, … et persiste. We can practice the Spanish imperfect tense with the beautiful and touching Pero a tu lado, by Los Secretos. Another commonly used song is Color Esperanza by Diego Torres, is perfect to practise the use of Spanish infinitives.
Is there anyone who has not tried to improve their English listening to their favourite bands? British and American groups are excellent resources at times like this.
Let’s start with a classic, by Sir Elton John, I’m still standing, an example of perseverance – in the present continuous. And then for more optimistic present tense practice, what better song than Here comes the sun, by the four lads who shook the world from Liverpool?
What about Gloria Gaynor’s amazing voice in I will survive? This was already an anthem for different causes and listening and singing it is a good way to practise the imperative and the future simple tense. You may find your feet may start tapping, though, without even realizing it! We can hear another wonderful singer, Andra Day’, in I’ll rise up, very popular in the circumstances we find ourselves in. But the quintessential optimistic song is Happy, by Pharrel Williams, which has plenty of examples of the first conditional.
There are many ways in which music can help us to learn languages and to get us through tough moments. Let’s finish with the great voice of Pavarotti, singing Nessum dorma, by Giacommo Puccini. Who doesn’t get goose bumps when they hear the last words, All’alba viceró!
So, come on, it’s time to stretch those vocal cords and sing in another language! And don’t forget:
QUÉDATE EN CASA
STAY AT HOME
RESTÉZ CHEZ VOUS
STAI A CASA
BLEIB ZU HAUSE
QUEDA’T A CASA…