The power of music: How to learn English with songs

Woman listening to music

Do you like listening to songs in English? Here's a step-by-step guide to help you learn English with songs.

Music is everywhere. It can make you feel many different emotions and bring you happiness, energy or calm. It can reduce anxiety and depression. It can inspire you and capture your imagination. 

Music is incredibly powerful.

And it can also be an incredibly useful tool for learning English!

Music and memory

You probably know that the words of a song are called 'lyrics'. Some song lyrics are quite basic (She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah …), while others are deep, emotional and thought-provoking. 

Think of the lyrics of one of your favourite songs. They're not difficult to remember, are they?

Studies show that music not only helps us remember old memories. It also helps us to create new ones. 

This is great news for learners of English! 

Music will help you remember words and phrases that you already know, and help you learn new vocabulary and expressions.

A step-by-step guide to learning English with songs

1. Choose a song that's in English

It can be any song at all. A song that you like, that you've listened to several times before. Have you found it? Great! Now …

2. Listen to the song

Do you understand all of the lyrics? 

Probably not! But don't worry – people hardly ever understand every word of a song the first time they hear it. The words have to fit the rhythm of the music, so they are often difficult to understand. 

3. Read the lyrics

Find the lyrics online. Many music streaming services have a setting where you can listen and read the lyrics at the same time.

Listen to the song again while you read. Now it starts to make a bit more sense!

Make a note of new or interesting words and phrases. You don't have to look up every single word in the dictionary. Try to learn five to ten new words per song.

4. Notice pronunciation

You may notice some strange-looking words! Some words in songs are written as they are pronounced. 

'Wanna', for example, is an informal spelling of 'want to'. 

What about 'gonna' and 'gimme'? What are these informal spellings of?

As you listen, notice how phrases are pronounced. This really helps you understand people when they're talking fast.

5. Listen again and join in

As you listen, start to join in with the easier parts. Sing as quietly or as loudly as you want!

The chorus – the part of the song that is repeated several times – will probably be what you can sing along to first.

6. Sing along

Listen to the song a few more times, and each time join in with a little bit more. 

By now the song is really in your head! You're really feeling the rhythm of the music and the lyrics. 

Tomorrow, next week or whenever you feel like learning a new song, do the same thing again. But don't forget to come back to the old songs, especially your favourites. 

 

So, whatever type of music you're into, learning English with songs will help you improve your listening and speaking skills, vocabulary and pronunciation. 

It'll teach you words and phrases that you would never learn in the classroom!

And, most importantly, it'll make learning English really enjoyable and fun. Happy listening!

Discussion

Language level

Average: 4.5 (23 votes)

Submitted by CrissV on Fri, 19/05/2023 - 18:52

Permalink

Hi, it´s really funny to learn English using the music as a way to improve your skills.
By the way i loved New by Daya i think she is awesome .

Submitted by patronas on Thu, 04/05/2023 - 20:39

Permalink

Τhe power of music is huge, it cools, entertains, educates and brings people with similar interests closer.

Profile picture for user Timka23

Submitted by Timka23 on Mon, 01/05/2023 - 20:56

Permalink

Thanks for the article. I like the Imagine Dragons band and know some of my favorite songs. With your tips I can learn more songs)

Submitted by wakili on Sun, 30/04/2023 - 07:26

Permalink

In my opinion music is like medicine for our brain.
I really like listening to it especially when I'm tired of working.

Submitted by Etoile on Sat, 29/04/2023 - 01:45

Permalink

I like the explanation to lear with this method

Submitted by ourouba on Fri, 28/04/2023 - 19:34

Permalink

My favorite song is Make me Strong for Sami Yousef..the lyrics is so beautiful and give me some strength to continue on my hard working and efforts to achieve my goals.

Submitted by pinarvc on Fri, 28/04/2023 - 19:05

Permalink

Hello, I have been listening English songs since 2006. It has really helped me to expand my vocabulary. Recently, I have been listening to a song that is called Anti-Hero by Taylor Swift. I feel excited whenever she drops a song. I love her Reputation album. I must say every song on her Reputation album is my favorite.

Submitted by phamthanh195 on Tue, 25/04/2023 - 15:23

Permalink

The article is very useful. Thank you very much