Learning Spanish with Music
When I was 14, I picked up Christina Aguilera’s Spanish-language CD “Mi Reflejo” (My Reflection) and I became interested in learning Spanish. Equipped with a Spanish-English dictionary I started learning some vocabulary and I was able to sing along to all the songs without really knowing what they were about. My positive experience with self-teaching through music inspired me to enroll in Spanish the following year of high-school and I continued to enjoy learning with music throughout my studies.
Music for Self-Directed Learners
Listening to music can be very useful for learning languages. You can learn a lot about sentence structure, complex verb tenses, pronunciation, intonation and slang while getting a feel for the language, and learn about culture at the same time.
Learning a language with music, radio, movies or other forms of media gives you a new perspective. Finding something that interests you makes it even more fun and it can be a great way to meet people while travelling if you have similar tastes in music or movies.
The best part of learning through music is that you can laugh years later when you realize that you had no idea what you were singing!
8 Songs That Taught Me Spanish
Disclaimer: Most lyrics on the internet and in YouTube videos are written by fans, and are not necessarily grammatically correct and often have spelling errors. Check your dictionary and grammar books to be sure!
1. Pluscuamperfecto de Subjuntivo – Past Perfect Subjunctive
The song from that first CD that I owned that always helps me remember how to use hubiera…”Si No Te Hubiera Conocido” (If I Hadn’t Met You) by Christina Aguilera and Luis Fonsi.
“Si No Te Hubieras Ido” (If You Hadn’t Left) by Marco Antonio Solis is another cheesy song that can help you to reinforce hubiera.
2. Imperativo – Commands
And for the opposite (affirmative commands) check out “Ámame” (Love Me) by Juanes.
3. Gustar – To Like
4. Usted – Formal You
“Mayor Que Yo” (Older Than Me) by Wisin y Yandel featuring Daddy Yankee, a merengueton song full of Puerto Rican Spanglish that helped me learn how to use usted (the formal ‘you’) and also has some use of the subjunctive.
5. Chilanguismos – Mexico City Slang
Lastly, for the cultural aspect of music I’m including the song “Chilanga Banda” (Chilanga Gang) by Cafe Tacuba, which helped me to understand slang from Mexico City (chela, chambear, chafa, chupe, pachanga, etc) …and from which I am still learning.
If you want to learn more sayings from Chilangolandia, here’s a Glossary of Chilanguismos translated into Spanish.
I hope you enjoyed my list of songs – what are your favourite songs for learning Spanish?