Looking for a fresh way to improve your English listening and vocabulary? Music is a universal language and can be a fun way to strengthen your listening skills, as well as expand your vocabulary.
Here are a few tips to help you use music as a language learning tool. Try them out and don’t forget to dance!
1. Choose a Genre – Do you listen to pop music in your home country? Or do you like jazz, or something with a bit more edge like heavy metal or punk? Whatever style you prefer, try finding some English music in a genre you love.
2. Look up Lyrics – Google the lyrics to your favourite songs on the internet and follow along as the songs play. Can you memorize the words and melody? Are there words you don’t understand? Use your dictionary to gain a deeper understanding of the music! For more advanced students, see if you can listen without reading the lyrics — then try to write them down on your own.
3. Karaoke! – It’s not only a great way to pretend that you’re a glamorous diva or rock star, it’s also a great way for you to practice your pronunciation. Karaokeintoronto.com has an extensive list of karaoke venues all throughout Toronto. Find one close to you, get your stage face on, and let’s hear that voice of yours.
4. Write your own song – If you play a musical instrument, or if you even just like to sing in the shower, why not write your own song in English? Don’t worry too much about making grammar mistakes. Song lyrics are a lot like poems, and the poetic form is very flexible. It’s all about having fun and getting creative. Many very famous songs break the rules of grammar. Let it rip!
5. Live music in the city! – Toronto has a vibrant music scene — take advantage of it! Whether your style is hip hop or folk rock, there is a live music scene for everyone. Check out www.nowtoronto.com/music/listings/ for the latest music events in the city. This is a great way to get out and take in a bit of the city’s local culture.
6. Music Exchange – Do a music swap with an English speaking friend. Show them the best music from your country and ask them to show you their favourite tunes. After all, music is a universal language and it’s a lot more fun to move to than grammar book listening exercises.
– Joshua Mover