Research shows that music is one of the best tools to learn a new language. 

  1. Listening to music helps with memorization. According to scientists, singing new words makes them easier to remember. We learn the ABCs, the numbers, even the music scale (The Sound of Music’s “Do-Re-Mi,” anyone?), through song.
  2. Listening to music allows us to better assimilate the syntax and enrich our vocabulary.
  3. Scientific research suggests that infants who listen to music in multiple languages as they grow, will have better linguistic sensitivity in these languages in later life.
  4. When singing, we try to reproduce sounds and tone, so our accent is less pronounced than when we speak.

 

There are plenty of activities to encourage this!

  • Repeat simple songs in different languages. For example: “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes,” and “The Wheels on the Bus” have well-known Spanish translations, and “Are You Sleeping,” is originally in French, etc. Sing it first in English and then, repeat it in the other language.
  • Adjust the songs to the language of your choice. If it’s a counting song, repeat it a few times, first in English and then sing the numbers in the foreign language you want you child to learn. The same goes for songs about the letters, shapes, colors, etc. Don’t worry if it doesn’t quite fit the melody, just have fun with it 🙂
  • As you sing a beloved song, interject some words in a foreign language that are related to that song. For example, when singing “Row Your Boat,” say: “ruder” (row, in German) or “barca”  (boat, in Italian)
  • Listen to all kinds of music (not only kids music) in that second language often (this helps with vocabulary and syntax, as mentioned above) – plus, it exposes them to the sounds and rhythms of that other culture.