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How to Integrate Music and Foreign Language

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There are so many different spoken languages. While teaching foreign language, music helps form connections between the language being sung and the history behind that country.  Not to mention, learning languages and music from around the world is so much fun!  Integrating music with any subject is one of my favorite things to do.  So, this post is all about how to integrate music and foreign language.

Learn About the Composers

There are so many composers and they are all from different countries.  A great way to integrate music with foreign language, is by talking about the country where that language is spoken. Learning about the composers is a great way to get started.  Here are a few of my favorite composers and where they are from to help get you started…

  • Beethoven is from Germany
  • Mozart is from Austria
  • Verdi is from Italy
  • Tchaikovsky is from Russia
  • Chopin is from Poland

Fill in the Blank

A great activity to help student’s learn a new language, is by filling in the blank.  In this activity, student’s will listen to a simple song from that language.  On their paper will be several blank spots.  When they hear that word come in, have them fill that missing word in to the best of their ability.  Then, discuss what the word is, how to pronounce it, and continue the song until they get to the next blank.  Then, when the paper is finished, practice learning the song as student’s use their new vocabulary to sing it.

 

Learn to Sing in Another Language

Why is it important to learn to sing in another language?  Well did you know that learning to sing another language is easier than speaking that particular language?  Here are some reasons why…

  • diction is taught
  • repetitive melodies are learned
  • children will gain confidence while practicing a song in another language.
  • social studies and language arts integration is also possible by learning about that country being sung and by reintroducing vocabulary in a different language

Listening Activity

Pick one of your favorite songs from another language.  While listening to the song, have student’s draw a picture or write words about how the song makes them feel.  Then, discuss what the words in the song means and see if student’s pictures or word descriptions align with what the song is really about.  Student’s will be surprised to find out that most of the time, they could figure out what the song was just by listening just like a beginning reading student can figure out what the pages of a book are about by looking at the pictures.

 

What is your favorite way to teach or learn a new language?  Have you ever integrated music with foreign language or with any other subject?  I would love to hear all about it.

 

If you are a parent, student, or teacher who wants to learn more about music, connect with other musicians, or wants to post their latest videos of what they’ve been working on, I would love for you to join my Facebook group Music Education Connection. Collaborate, learn from each other, and grow new friendships. This is a place to receive encouragement, positive feedback, and to ask questions.

 

 

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Jessica Peresta

I am a wife, mom of 3 boys, pianist, and music educator. Every child should be given an opportunity to learn music through lessons (traditional or online), home music education, and in the schools.

28 thoughts on “How to Integrate Music and Foreign Language

  1. We love singing. In India we have many languages! We can sing in many of them but speak only a few! I totally understand your idea!

  2. Great blog post! I love teaching my students about instruments from various countries. They listen to then watch excerpts of the featured instrument (both solo and in ensembles), learn how to pronounce its name, and I break down the name and translate it so they can see how instruments are often named after the material they’re made from, their shape, and/or what they sound like. Some examples are “glockenspiel” which is German for ‘bells play’, “xylophone” from the Greek meaning ‘wood sound’ and “shamisen” which is Japanese for ‘three lines’ and perfectly describes the 3-stringed instrument. Incorporating foreign language definitely helps broaden one’s scope of cultural and musical learning!

  3. These are great tips! I just taught my 23 month old the German alphabet because I still remembered it from school. It definitely helps you to remember things when it is in song form! She loves learning about all of the composers on Little Einsteins too. I never thought to expand on that with their countries!

  4. How clever! It’s so easy to remember lyrics rather than text. I can see this method as a super effective way to learn a language for all ages.

  5. I love these ideas! At my children’s elementary school they play a piece over the loud speaker each morning. I believe they do the same piece each day for a week. They are introduced to a variety of composers this way including many from foreign countries!!

  6. As a teacher and mom, I love any opportunity to integrate subject areas! I teach virtually and this year, I had my students to listen to songs in foreign languages to help them understand the idea of making inferences when reading. As you said, songs have a way of making you feel something, even if you are unsure of what the words mean! I also used pop song mash ups to illustrate the word “synthesize” and it made a HUGE difference. This is great advice for both educators and parents!

  7. These are great tips! I love learning foreign languages but I never thought of integrating music with this. It does make sense though. Thanks for this! 🙂

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