Language teachers know that songs are really useful to learn languages. Simply they help to practise listening and to learn new words. Furthermore it is motivating for the students as it is an easier and FUN way to learn grammatical concepts. Songs can be easily played over and over and often contain repeated grammatical structures accompanied by melody. This combination helps the student to achieve quick and easy memorisation.
Whatever is your taste in music you might agree that some of greatest music in the world comes from Italy. As an Italian language learner nothing is better than choosing Italian songs to practise the language. Here is a list of some of the most popular Italian songs, perfect to improve your skills. The Language Class has compiled this list from Italian pop songs and it encompasses different levels.
Vieni Via Con Me.
If you are a beginner a song that you should listen and work on is “Vieni via con me” of Paolo Conte. The song is a collection of love moments, full of solitude, irony and future projects. It tells the story of a man and his love for his beloved. He asks her to come away with him, promising that he will protect her and give her a future together. Conte’s songs are full of feelings and emotions and this song could be useful to practice the simple present and all the prepositions.
Una Su Un milione.
If you have reached an intermediate level often referred as B1 level, you can try something more difficult such as Alex Britti’s “Una su un milione”. Another modern Italian canzone about pure and sweet love. The song using simple words and similitudes will help you to learn a new vocabulary and useful wordplays. The songs uses various Italian tenses and it could be a good way to revise them all, making it ideal for more advanced learners.
Tutto l’amore che ho.
From beginner to B2 level students some of Jovanotti’s repertoire is highly recommended. Almost always Jovannotti songs have very simple lyrics often repeated in rhymes making them the best way to learn Italian with songs. For example the song titled “Tutto l’amore che ho” is useful to revise the implicit forms and the hypothetical period.
Come si cambia.
If you have reached the C1 level it means that at this point you know the Italian language quite well, and you are ready to deal with more complex song, like “Come si cambia” of Fiorella Mannoia. It is a very introspective song: a woman is analysing her life and she does not know if she wants to believe in love again. Listening to this song you will revise all the tenses and several adjectives. You also will put yourself at test in interpreting the meaning of the song...according to your personal opinion.
Una donna per amico.
Lucio Battisti’s “Una donna per amico” is an evergreen song that will not only help you to learn Italian but also will help to understand Italian culture better. So if you are heading toward near native fluency (C2 level) you are ready to work on it. You will practice verbs, prepositions and even pronouns all at once The song is nice and catchy and talks about a strange mix of friendship and jealousy between a man and a woman.
One last recommendation.
If you are looking for an innovative and funny way to practice Italian you can resort to songs and do like teachers and students all over the world who use music to improve their skills. For this reason, why not add the book “Canta che ti passa” to your library: it is divided in 14 units based on 14 Italian songs, it comes with the songs on a CD.
Along with music, I have an interest in a language Learning (a hobby). In reading several articles about best practices in learning a new language, I was struck by the similarities in the way I teach piano to my students.
I didn't used to think that music was a language. Now I not only think it is but I think the best way to learn a musical instrument is to follow the structure of language learning.
So how did you learn language? Probably, as a child, you learned to "mimic" your parents and family members as they spoke. You learned a few individual words at first, later graduating to putting them together in phrases and short sentences. You made lots of mistakes in pronouncing things and probably the adults thought it was cute and knew that eventually you would get it right.
And you did. Later, In school, you learned what words looked like, and how they were constructed. You also learned how to put together more complex sentences into paragraphs. Perhaps most importantly, you learned how to express yourself in your speaking and writing.
So the journey of language began with speaking only, then later learning to read words and sentences. No one would expect a toddler to learn to write words and sentences before they learned to speak. That would be ludicrous.
Can this compare to learning a musical instrument? You bet it can. I've found that when I follow the same mindset of learning to play first and learn to read music later, my students find it easier and more motivating because they get to play great stuff right away. We begin looking at music reading exercises about 6 months in. It's rather easy for them as they're so used to playing the notes and rhythms they’re learning.
We would call this type of piano method a "playing based" method. These methods are fairly new on the music education scene. The only two I know of are Suzuki and the one I teach, called Simply Music. All other piano methods are "reading based" (you must learn to read music notation as you learn to play) and have been around in the same basic form for about 200 years. Here are some of the reasons I choose to teach the Simply Music method:
There are many more benefits but these are the most prominent.
I do know that I'm glad to be able to provide great learning and motivation for children and adults who want to learn piano but may have had challenges with other methods. For many people, learning to play the piano is really a dream come true.
There are many ways to learn to play the piano. Especially nowadays, one can surf the Internet and find many options to learn anything, including how to play something on the piano. If one wants to really make piano playing a good hobby or profession, however, the choices are fewer.
After teaching for a fair amount of years, I classify piano methods into two major categories: reading-based and playing-based. I began piano lessons in the second grade of elementary school (US). Most or all piano methods were (and many still are) very traditional (reading-based). This meant I started learning the complex language of music notation from the very beginning. Since it was a requirement that I had to learn to read the notation of a piece before I was able to play it, the first couple of years were filled with super simple and boring pieces that, frankly, I'm not sure I would want to push on anyone.
Was this the best way for students to learn to play piano? I assumed so. All piano teachers in my area taught this way so I also taught this way for many years while constantly trying to think of another, better way. However, I wasn't aware of some important concepts that blow this way of learning out of the water.
Music is a language, the learning of which can be compared to our own language.
How do we learn our language? As toddlers, we start learning words, then experiment with putting them together into sentences. Only several years later do we learn what those words and sentences look like on the printed page - that is, we learn to read. And along the way, we've made many cute mistakes in grammar and pronunciation and that was okay as that's part of learning.
Terry Smith teaches piano and voice privately in the Phoenix, AZ area and online anywhere using an innovative approach called "PLAY NOW!"
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