La Música and how to take advantage of it for learning Spanish

Listening to music is a fun, low-anxiety way to learn more vocabulary and practice pronunciation. You can start by exploring the list here. The Alt.Latino Podcast from NPR is a good way to discover lesser known Spanish language musicians. Once you find some artists you like, create a station for them on Pandora, Spotify or Amazon Music. Listen to these stations when you're in the car, cleaning your house, cooking, whatever! Even if you don't understand, some of the lyrics will get stuck in your head and before you know it your brain will be processing in Spanish!

When you have your dedicated Spanish time each day or week, search for lyrics online by typing “letra de” (lyrics of) and the song title in Google. Copy and paste lyrics into a document. You can also put lyrics into Google translate (it won’t be 100% accurate, but it will give you the gist of the song) and add to the document. Print and keep somewhere that you can access when you have dedicated time to read and process the lyrics, whether that be the glove compartment of your car, your purse, computer desk, nightstand, etc. When you read over the Spanish lyrics, first identify words you already know. Based on the words you know, see if you can understand the overall topic or theme of the song. Don't get hung up on every word you don't comprehend. Think big picture. As you listen to the song and re-read the lyrics, circle words that stand out to you: words that are new, words that you really want to know, words that are repeated. Take the time to look up these words or ask your Spanish-speaking amigos about them. Once you know the meaning, add these words to your running Spanish glossary.

If you want to practice your musical knowledge, here are some apps and websites to help:

Shazam App: This app is free and easy to use. Download the app. When a song is playing, open the app and it will recognize the song. It will also provide the lyrics for the song in real time, so you can follow along reading the lyrics as you listen.

Lirica: This app teaches you Spanish through songs. There are translations, grammar lessons and vocabulary review. A limited selection of songs are available for free on the app. The paid version is $4.99.

Lyrics Training: Lyrics Training is very similar to Lirica, but also available online. You can choose a language and there is a library of songs available to help you learn Spanish!

Happy listening!

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