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Music and Language

November 13,2023

By Kate Liu, Lynn Tien

Research, including studies by Dr. Aniruddh D. Patel, demonstrates a strong connection between music and language learning. Music stimulates various parts of the brain, thereby enhancing retention and understanding. Listening to songs in different languages helps learners tune into natural speech rhythms, and singing along can sharpen pronunciation and fluency. Furthermore, Dr. Patel's findings indicate that music and language share cognitive resources, which can boost memory and language comprehension.

With this in mind, consider creating a language learning playlist, such as Sing In Chinese's original songs. These melodies are written based on the correct four basic tones of Mandarin, harnessing the benefits of music in language learning. Music not only introduces learners to authentic speech patterns, it also refines pronunciation, enhances fluency, and amplifies memory and comprehension. So, why not use music to enhance your kids' language learning?


How does music help with language learning?
Listening to songs in different languages can be a powerful tool for language acquisition. It exposes learners to natural speech patterns and intonation, helping them develop a better ear for the language. Researchers from Northwestern University have found that musical training provides an advantage in learning languages, such as Chinese. This is because both musical skills and language learning draw on parts of the brain that help detect changes in pitch, and Chinese, in particular, relies heavily on pitch patterns. Chinese speakers exhibit a more complex encoding of pitch patterns in their brains than English speakers, as pitch plays a central role in Chinese and other Asian languages. This connection between music and language underscores the benefits of using music in language learning.
Memorizing song lyrics is another effective method for reinforcing vocabulary and grammar structures. When learners sing along with a song, they are not only memorizing words, they are also internalizing their meaning within the context of the song. This helps solidify learners’ understanding of the language and makes it easier to recall words and phrases when needed. Also, the combination of melody, rhythm, and lyrics stimulates both the auditory and verbal centers, enhancing memory retention. This makes learning through music an immersive experience.
In addition, music can make language learning more personal and meaningful by evoking emotions and creating connections between words or phrases and their corresponding feelings or experiences. This can motivate learners to keep practicing and improving their skills.
How to learn a language through music effectively
Regular Exposure: Recognizing New Sounds and Patterns

Listening to songs in the target language regularly helps the brain get used to new sounds and patterns. It also makes learners more familiar with the rhythm and melody of the language, which, in turn, makes it easier for learners to understand and speak the target language. The soon-to-be-launched Sing In Chinese APP is an effective tool to help young learners learn and practice Chinese in an immersive environment from anywhere in the world.
Singing Along: Strengthening Speaking Skills
Practicing singing along with songs makes learning fun and it also strengthens the speaking skills. When learners sing along, they mimic native speakers' pronunciation, intonation, and rhythm. This exercise helps develop muscle memory for producing accurate sounds. Also, singing tends to allow learners to practice speaking confidently without fear of making mistakes. 


Mnemonic Techniques: Helping Learners Remember Better
Using mnemonic techniques with music can help learners remember new words and even new sentences more effectively. That's why some young learners manage to memorize a lot of new words or phrases through songs they listen to every day. On the other hand, it may take other learners quite a while to memorize them without songs. Mnemonic techniques provide a creative way of memorizing new information by linking it with something familiar—music!
From recognizing new sounds and patterns through regular exposure, improving comprehension skills through active listening, strengthening speaking skills by singing along, to aiding memory retention using mnemonic techniques—music offers an engaging and effective tool for language learning. 


Enhancing Language Learning through the Power of Music
To effectively learn a language through music, immerse your children in songs sung in the target language. Encourage them to pay close attention to pronunciation and the melody of the song. Singing along and trying to mimic the sounds as accurately as possible will help them develop a natural flow and improve their accent.

Incorporating music into your children’s language learning journey is an exciting opportunity to accelerate their progress while having fun along the way. So encourage them to crank up the volume, and let the melodies transport them to new linguistic heights! Remember, consistency is key – make it a habit to listen to music in their target language regularly.