Playing an instrument is frequently listed as one of the best hobbies a language learner can have. Early childhood musical education has been shown to have long-term positive effects, one of which is the ability to pick up languages more quickly, even in adulthood. While it is still unclear how these two things are related, there is evidence that even if your child quits their instrument, they will be able to reap the benefits later on. But wait, there's more. Music can also help you learn your target language in other ways. The right music can really improve the way you learn, from improving your concentration to providing a great way to improve your vocabulary.
Tonal languages have never been easier to learn
The first way music can help you learn is through musical training, which can help you learn languages faster. The improved sense of rhythm that comes with musical training appears to benefit the brain's ability to process language. While this appears to work for all languages, it is especially useful when learning tones. While all languages use tones to convey meaning, tonal languages go a step further and use pitch to distinguish between words. Because musical training prepares you to distinguish the various notes you're playing or listening to, it stands to reason that you'll develop a better ear for them in spoken language as well. In fact, the effect is reciprocal. Tonal language native speakers, such as Cantonese, appear to have an advantage when it comes to processing pitch and tone.
Music will helps you in concentration
For millennia, various cultures have used music to put the brain into alternate states, one of which is concentration. While it is unclear how music aids concentration, it is undeniable that it does. It could be related to giving your subconscious something to process while you consciously devote yourself to learning. Whatever it is, Stanford researchers appear to have confirmed that music helps your brain pay attention for longer periods of time. You should, however, be cautious about the type of music you listen to while studying. It should be pleasant enough not to irritate you, but also mellow enough to keep you focused on learning. If you need more help deciding, read this blog post.
Song helps in learning vocabulary
Another way music can help you improve your fluency is by making it easier to learn new vocabulary. Listening to music in your target language will help you learn new words much faster than word lists because music has a way of getting stuck in your head. You can take advantage of this effect in a variety of ways. For example, if you're having difficulty memorizing new vocabulary, try setting it to rhythm. As researchers at the University of Edinburgh demonstrated, this transforms even word lists into songs, making them much easier to learn. Another method is to learn new vocabulary through songs. If you have a favorite song in your target language, looking up the lyrics can be excellent practice because the tune has already made them easier to remember.
Sing like a native speaker
Improving your pronunciation is another compelling reason to devote time to learning about music in your target language. All singers (especially classical singers) receive extensive training to improve their diction while performing. When learning your target language, you can use this over-pronunciation to your advantage by closely watching your favorite singers and then attempting to mimic what they're doing. Another wonderful aspect of music is that it begs for repetition. Once you've learned a few songs in your target language, it'll be simple to go over them again and again, memorizing both the lyrics and the correct sounds. This constant repetition will improve your accent without you having to think about it.
Music is Motivation to my ears
You can also use music to motivate yourself while learning your target language. After all, few things are more motivating than the right song at the right time. Finding something you're passionate about in your target language is essential for staying motivated, so spend some time learning about the artists who perform in the language you're attempting to learn. Find some (or many) musicians whose music you like. Appreciating their art will keep you motivated to keep improving your language skills.
Conclusion - Music has numerous advantages for language learners.
Children who receive music lessons as children have an easier time learning a foreign language, according to research, and the effects are especially noticeable when it comes to tonal languages. Music, however, can provide additional benefits even if you haven't learned to play an instrument. For example, you can keep yourself motivated by learning about the artists in your target language, using song lyrics to memorise vocabulary, or even singing in the shower to improve your pronunciation. Add in the cognitive benefits of selecting the right background music, and you'll see why music is a language learner's best friend.