Learn A Language Through Music – Is It Effective?


It would be true to say that for some language learners music is probably one of the main reasons why they decided to learn foreign languages in the first place. The main question is, is learning a language through music effective? Is it the best way to master a foreign language? Would you be fluent by just using music?

Learning new languages means adding more foreign words to your brain and vocabulary. There are many ways to do so. The easiest of all is through music, obviously. 

We listen to it pretty much every single day. These might sound familiar to you because that’s probably what most of you have done (I know I did).

Here are the steps

  1. You listen to a foreign song and you like what you hear.
  2. You search for another song (same language) with a different genre that suits your taste and you love it.
  3. You keep listening to it and the next thing you know you’ve memorized the lyrics and decided to figure out what the song is about.
Woman Listening And Searching For Songs

By now, you know certain words and when you watch TV series and/or movies with that particular language you already know what some of it means. This is indirectly by no means, the easiest way to learn a new language without having to pay attention to the grammar and focus solely on the accent and pronunciation.

The best thing about music is it tells you a story. Have you ever heard people saying “I can totally relate to this song”? I bet you did. 

This is a good thing because when you talk with your foreign exchange partners they are more likely to want to know more about you and you can easily tell them the story of your life using music.

Passive Listening Vs Active Listening

Man Listening While Reading

Some people think that by just listening to music they will be able to absorb and become fluent. Well, you’re wrong. That’s completely a wrong mindset to begin with.

You’re not going to be able to achieve that while you’re doing something else at the same time. You should make it the centre of your attention rather than making it background music.

You have to listen, hear and focus at the same time. This way you’ll be able to absorb it. Think of it as doing IELTS or TOEFL tests. Would you be able to pass the test while doing something else?

I based my words on a study carried out by researchers at the University of Edinburgh’s Reid School of Music. Music and singing can definitely help one to improve their speaking of a foreign language.

“Each language has its own musicality” – Susana Zaraysky

Surely most of you have wondered why it’s so easy remembering songs but struggle when it comes to remembering texts from the textbooks/ syllabus so you can pass the tests and/or exams with flying colors.

Sceenshot Of Textbook Pages

I know it has to do with our brains, the auditory cortex to be exact. What’s your perspective on it?

When I was a kid I remember watching a cartoon (I’m not sure what it was about). They were singing the names of the prophets and after watching it several times I was able to recall all the 25 names. This had helped me whenever there were questions related to that area and I still remember it to this day.

Now that we know the power of music, we can use it to learn new languages. However, can we learn a language with just any song? Absolutely not.

What are the criteria to look for in a song?


For beginners, you may want to start with a moderate song. Meaning, don’t start with hip-hop, techno, or rap genres kind of songs. If you’re a fan of these genres and think can handle it, go for it.

Remember, you’re just starting so, choose a song that has a slow genre like pop, R&B, ballad, and so on. These types of songs usually have a clear pronunciation than the first genre which is kind of hectic as in you can hardly catch your breath (if you know what I mean).  

Pay attention to how they pronounce the word and you’ll find yourself getting the hang of the accent in no time.


Choosing one that has quite simple lyrics, easy to comprehend and follow is ideal. Personally, I’d stay away from songs containing profanity lyrics as I’m not a fan of those.

Do you want to learn from music videos, movie trailers, etc? Try FluentU. For K-pop fans out there who want to learn Korean from popular songs, this is definitely for you.


Learn A Language Through Music Is It Effective

We all do have a preference when it comes to songs. Some like a fast tempo, opera, ballad, pop, rock, country, etc. When choosing a song find one that’s your cup of tea. One that will not make you feel sleepy and bored.

All of the above criteria are for the beginner’s level. Once you succeed try going for a different genre.

So back to the question, will you be able to speak fluently by just using music? No.

One thing you should keep in mind is that while learning through music is a great and faster way to learn a new language you shouldn’t and can’t expect to speak fluently by just using that.

Eventually, you still have to learn the proper grammar. This method is only suitable for people who want to learn basic words, sentences, or phrases.

Do you agree or disagree? Let me know in the comment below.

You might also like
  1. OurMindonMusic says:

    This is really great! Thanks for sharing. I have just reposted this on @ourmindonmusic as well (credited of course). Mind you, if you would prefer I don’t share your article with our readers, I’ll be happy to remove it right away.
    Please do let me know.
    All the best.
    Jeremy (OurMindonMusic)

    • Meina says:

      Hi, Jeremy.

      I don’t mind at all. Thank you for sharing. I appreciate it! 👍

  2. Goddard says:

    Thanks for an informative site. Where else could I get this type of information written in such a perfect way? I’ve a undertaking that I’m simply now working on, and I have been at the look out for such info.

    • Meina says:

      Hi Goddard.

      You’re most welcome =) Thanks for such a nice feedback. I’m glad you found this site helpful. That means a lot to me.

  3. Tai Chi Charley says:

    For years I have been singing some songs from other languages. I sing the songs perfectly but have no idea what I am singing. I just really like the songs and I always sing along.

    • Meina says:

      I can say pretty much people out there are like that too (including me). Listening to foreign songs can give us a huge impact, to the point that it can lead us to want to know more about the language and perhaps the culture as well – or is it just me? 😀

      May I know what foreign songs are you listening to?

  4. Daniella says:

    Hi Meina
    I find hearing lyrics and learning through music is the hardest thing, you need to have a script written to catch the words you hear and don’t hear or not hear correctly. Then, after this kind of practice it gets easier. The brain knows how things flow.

    • Meina says:

      Hi Daniella.

      Couldn’t agree more. True, it’s quite difficult at first. However, things will get much easier and you’ll enjoy doing it naturally once you teach and train your mind (should I say brain) and body to do what you want.

      Regarding the script, for sure you’ll need one. But rather than going straight for the script, it’s better if you hear and write first. I mean, familiarize yourself with the song first, then, write it (lyrics) all down.

      The next thing you want to do is, search for the lyrics (original), compare it to the one you’ve just written and find the translation of the lyrics. It’s time-consuming, but definitely worth it. Or you could just list out the words that you don’t know and find out what it means.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



©2024 Together We Learn More

©2024 Together We Learn More