Stuart Mill English

How to Learn, How to Teach English

Studying with Songs

Student Self Study: How to listen to music

Everybody knows that if you listen to a lot of music in English, then it’s easier for you to learn English. Listening to English music helps you learn faster. Just think about the people you know that speak English really well. How many of them listen to a lot of English?

Why is this true? Imagine that you learn a new English word. Let’s say the word is “poisonous”. It means that something is harmful, usually if you eat or drink it. For example: You can’t drink that. It’s poisonous. If you drink it, then you’ll die. But, now let’s say you learn the word “toxic”. It means the same thing as “poisonous”. For example: You can’t drink that. It’s toxic. If you drink it, then you’ll die.

Which word is easier to learn? Well, in 2004 the answer was “toxic” because we kept hearing “Toxic” by Britney Spears on the radio.

The same is true for everything in English. Grammar, pronunciation—listening to music reinforces them. For example, “All You Need Is Love” by the Beatles, is great reinforcement for the passive voice.

And don’t think that studying in a classroom has to come first. If you heard “Toxic” 20 times and then looked it up in a dictionary, then you’d never forget what it means. So, listening to songs can be a great way to prepare yourself to learn more in the future.

You don’t have to do anything else. Just listen a lot! But, you can do more. Here are five ways to really get the most out of songs.

Five ways to really learn a lot using songs

#1 Look up the lyrics. (The lyrics are the words in a song.) If you go to Google and search for your song’s title and the word “lyrics” you can easily find the lyrics to your song.

Try it. Go to and search for “toxic lyrics”.

#2 Before you look up the lyrics, try to write them down yourself. You’ll become better at listening for details if you do.

#3 Can you sing? It doesn’t matter. Even if you sing by yourself, it’ll be good for your memory, so don’t be shy, sing along with the song.

Sometimes it’s really hard to understand English because people speak too fast. If you can sing along with a song, you’ll get used to listening to English quickly. It will also improve your pronunciation, intonation, and stressing of words.

#4 Memorize some or all of the lyrics. Then you can sing them anywhere!

#5 Share a song with a friend. If you teach a song to a friend, then you’ll really remember it well.

Tip: If you don’t know the words, this is a great online dictionary

July 24, 2010 - Posted by | Studying Strategies | , , ,

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