When I was 6 years old I used to record my songs on cassettes. My mother tongue is Spanish but I grew up listening to my parents speaking in English, thus I used to sing in “English”, or better said, some kind of Fer’s English. I was saying nothing because I didn’t know the language, but for sure it had a lot of feeling, flow, and American phonetics!
Singing in a different language is indeed a great way to learn a new language and leave any shame backward, but it has many other benefits I’d like to share with you and your family today.
Do you remember the last time you were singing in your brain the same song over and over again all day long? Your brain memorizes the lyrics, rhythm, and pronunciation of each word and keeps playing it again and again if it’s sticky! Singing forces you to say the words as fast as they have to keep the rhythm of the song. It isn’t like repeating the speaking exercise from a usual English lesson in a classroom “the b-o-o-k is on the t-a-b-l-e”. Both don’t allow you to talk properly with a native or understand when they talk to you. Not even thinking about taking it by phone!
With this activity, you learn about slang and its correct use. This is not repeating a word and then not knowing when or how to use it. It is not guessing the meaning by the context, because this may be so hard with slang or metaphors. Instead, a song provides you with complete sentences or expressions that you can easily apply in a different situation.
Further, children have fun while singing and watching videos that go along with that topic. They like to see the videos and sing the songs over and over again because their brain needs to catch all the information and process it. Each time they see it again, they better understand what we’re talking about better and better.
What about kids singing songs that are not convenient? Did it happen to you that they hear a song in the supermarket and then they keep repeating words that they would usually not hear at home? They don’t know what do they mean, please don’t panic! Don’t get angry! Talk to them and explain to them that you don’t use those words.
I know that some families prefer to save their kids from some kind of song. I disagree with this because early or late they are going to listen to them. I consider training them as a better plan. They copy how you react to some songs and topics, and only later when they’re teenagers they will start developing their position about it. So please! Be careful about how you judge with your eyes, movements, or comments to different music genders.
Another pedagogic technic is to expose kids to foreign music in different languages and not only to different genders of music. Their young ear starts differentiating the cultures, languages and associating them with a different kind of art production. Which may later guide them towards a better understanding of worldwide culture and origins.
Adults can recognize a language because we know some words or accent in that language, also because we read the words, we listened to them during a foreign movie or a friend mentioned them during a conversation. Kids may have all these experiences compacted in songs for their young age. They can start differentiating languages just by listening to songs in different languages and identifying the language they hear as often as possible. Then it gets easier and easier for them. Later in their life, their brain will already have some information storage as a starting point to learn a new language, a new culture, or as a tool when traveling abroad.
I’m sure you hear before that learning a new language at a young age is easier. It’s true. Our brain has different ways of learning a language and until we are 3 years old we give each word a meaning that contains feelings, experiences, flavors, colors, and shapes. After that age, our brain is already pretty structured and it just adds to the fundamentals gotten in advance. You may have noticed that when we learn a new language as adults we are often tented to translate in our brain, like if there wasn’t storage for new concepts in there! Well, our brain already knows what “tree” means, it just needs to express it with different sounds so people from other countries get the message. But the brain doesn’t have to learn it all over again, so it saves that energy for…watching the soccer game later? LOL Of contrast, kids’ brain needs to create these concepts from the bottom and it includes not only a pack of sounds with a logical meaning.
Further, the way of performing of our brain also explains why we can express our feelings in our mother tongue better than in any other language learned after 3 years old. This happens because we understood to identify and differentiate our and other’s feeling when we were young. Our brain has deep channels to express that with words while doing it in another language takes a different part of the brain. That’s exactly it! When we are young kids our brain manages the operations and learning as a whole, after 3 it separates logical learning from emotional learning and the languages go to the logical side.
In conclusion, would you like your kids being able to express themselves in different languages from a young age? Would you like them to develop the right pronunciation and accent for each world and language? Would you like them to add new words, expressions, and sentences to their vocabulary? Then, taking Singing in English lessons is a great option for you!
Just one more thing, why don’t you just play songs on YouTube and let them be there? Well, the YouTube algorithm may be good enough to keep presenting to you similar songs, topics, or artists, but sadly it is not able to follow up your kid’s attention, memory or to correct some mistakes he/she may have in their pronunciation. I’ll be happy to do that and more!