Using songs to improve your English

A brilliant way to improve your English is to listen to English songs. There are so many reasons why this works and can help you to produce real everyday English with natural pronunciation….

How songs help to improve English

      • Firstly, features of music like rhythm, tone and rhyming help us to memorise chunks of language easily
      • Repetition of the chorus and other lyrics also helps us to memorise
      • We absorb the pronunciation of new words without trying
      • We learn vocabulary in context so we don’t need to use a dictionary to understand the meaning
      • The story of the song helps the vocabulary to stick in our minds long-term because we connect with the story and relate to it
      • Finally, it’s enjoyable – We always learn more quickly when it’s fun!

So how can you get started? It’s best to choose a song you love as you are then much more likely to be motivated. It doesn’t matter if it’s pop, rock, motown or a childhood nursery rhyme! Find the song online with lyrics (youtube is usually a good place to look). Listen a couple of times without the lyrics and just enjoy the music. Then see if you can follow the lyrics and sing along in time. Don’t worry too much if there is some vocabulary you don’t understand. Pop in your earplugs and see how many times you can listen to the song over the next few days. Hopefully it will get stuck in your head and you will find yourself singing it in the shower! That’s how the new language and pronunciation will stick in your head. Then soon you will start to notice the language from the song in real-life situations or you will catch yourself using a natural phrase from the song in everyday conversation without even thinking about it 🙂

One more tip – if you’re not sure which songs might be suitable for your level, check out this fantastic website. You can see which songs it suggests for your level or search by topic. Plus, if you subscribe, you will get exercise worksheets to go with your chosen song.

Have you got any English favourites that you love singing along to? I’d love to hear your top choices!

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Nicki is a Cambridge qualified, experienced English teacher for foreign learners. She loves helping English learners to learn real English and communicate with confidence!

2 thoughts on “Using songs to improve your English

  1. I’ve always been surprised at how singing seems to smooth out accents. I didn’t realize most of my favorite 80s and 90s rock bands were actually British or Canadian until the Internet came along.

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