5 Tips for Practicing Language with Music



A lot of customer who are enjoying our Living Language Online Courses write to us asking for different ways they can build on their practice of the language once they’ve completed our course. Here are some tips you can use for enhancing your language practice either once you’ve completed the course, or while you’re studying.

Music is a great way to commit new vocabulary to memory and practice hearing and producing the sounds of a language. This tried and true method has been made easier and more effective in recent years with the proliferation of audio and video streaming. We thought we’d round up our top sites and tricks for tapping into the wealth of music on the Internet to practice your new language.

1. Lyricstraining.com 

This is a very cool new tool for listening to music in several languages (10 when we last checked) and checking your comprehension with 4 levels of activities.  You select your language and then you’re offered suggestions of videos for some of the hits in those languages. Once you select a video, you’re asked what level you’d like to play at: beginner, intermediate, advanced and expert.  The beginner level is already a bit challenging, so I’d stick with that unless you’re very proficient already.

Lyrics Training Levels

Then you listen to the music with the lyrics showing on the screen. There are blanks that you fill in as you go. If you get it wrong, the video goes back a few seconds so you can hear that part again. If you got it right, you keep going. It’s addictive!

Lyrics Training Fill In

The game is free, but you need to sign up if you want to save your progress. There’s also a Karaoke mode that allows you to sing along and practice speaking (and singing) in your new language.

2. YouTube with closed captions

If you already know of an artist who sings in your new language, you can search for any of their videos with closed captions by entering the artist’s name in the search bar, clicking on “Filters” and selecting “Closed Captions.”

Youtube CC search

Once you’ve found the videos with closed captioning, you can follow along more easily by reading and listening at the same time. Try once with and once without to see if you can follow along without the closed captioning as well.

3. Find other artists you like using YouTube, Pandora, or Spotify suggestions.

Once you’ve found one artist who sings in your new language, type their name into one of the streaming services above (or any other you prefer to use) and let it make suggestions for you. This is a great way to discover new artists who sing in that language.

4.  Write down any idiomatic language from the songs and post on our forum.

Songs are often filled with poetic and idiomatic language, which are not the easiest to decipher. Write down any phrases that you’re unfamiliar with and post on our forum to get our e-Tutors to translate them for you. If you don’t have a forum account, you can also often find translations on Linguee, a tool that searches online translations for the phrases you enter. Below is an example with the French idiomatic phrase “j’en ai marre de…” (I’m fed up with…)

Linguee look up

5. Read our blog and filter for “Music” for music tips and suggestions.

We often have blog posts recommending music in our languages, such as this post written by our French e-Tutor Sev on the French band Lo’Jo. Here’s another example of a post on a hauntingly beautiful song in Irish from the movie Brooklyn. Our tutor provided a translation of the lyrics for you to follow along. Our Japanese e-Tutor, Sakura, also suggests that you start with songs you know in English and find versions of those songs in your new language. Here are her suggestions for Japanese. 

The most important thing is that you enjoy yourself when listening to music in your new language. You’re more likely to keep practicing and learning if you’re having fun.