learn English by listening to music

Previously, we looked at ways to develop your English skills while relaxing and watching the TV. Many also enjoy listening to music in their free time, and this week we’re giving ideas of how you can learn English by listening to music as well.

[Last updated on 14/08/2018]

I’m sure we all remember the songs that we learnt when we were kids. Perhaps you know “Heads, shoulders, knees and toes” either in English or maybe in your own language. It seems that they are programmed in to our memory and cannot be forgotten! (I also still remember the names of dinosaurs, but I can’t remember any songs for that though!) We’re not asking you to sing kids songs, but music is an excellent way to learn a language for all age groups.

How can you improve your English skills by listening to music?

Listening to songs is another great way for language learners to develop English vocabulary and to improve listening skills. You can do something that you enjoy and learn English at the same time. We can’t promise that you will achieve English fluency just by listening to music, but it’s a good option if your time is limited.

Naturally, you can learn even faster by taking some time to study at home and by taking English courses with professional and qualified teachers, but for now, you can think about your favourite music tracks and take a look at our tips and ideas for how to learn English by listening to music.

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Ways to learn English by listening to music

1. Regularly listen to music (English songs!)

This is pretty simple! There is an almost unlimited choice of songs in English, and you just need to find the best time in your daily routine to learn English by listening to music. At home, it’s easy to turn on the television, so you might prefer to listen to music on your way to work or when you’re at the gym.

All you need is a regular pattern to improve your English skills. This is possible, for example, if you listen to music while you are commuting to work. Naturally, you can develop your English skills faster if you concentrate more on listening to the music than reading posts on Facebook!

2. Listen to your favourite songs again and again

If you like music, then I guess that you already have a playlist of your favourite songs. Maybe you want to create another list of your favourite songs that are only in English, which you will listen to again and again.

With repetition, we start to remember the rhythm of the song and even some of the lyrics too. Repetition is a great way to develop English vocabulary too, and this is why we remember the words of songs that we haven’t heard for years.

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3. Get the lyrics online

It can be hard to understand all the words when you listen to music. Sometimes, I can’t understand the words myself and I’m a native English speaker! I recommend that you go online and type the name of the track and ‘lyrics’ to find the words. You can even search for specific tracks on YouTube, because they sometimes come with lyrics as well.

If you read the lyrics and play the song at the same time, you can develop your English vocabulary and improve your listening skills together. You can also use the lyrics to test your listening skills, by listening first and then reading the lyrics to check your understanding.

4. Make lists of words and expressions to develop English vocabulary

Listening to music also provides the opportunity to develop English vocabulary, but you don’t need to understand every word. It is better to get a general understanding first, and then you can look at words and expressions in more detail after.

It can also be beneficial to make a list of new vocabulary, and we have a few recommendations. Write down the new word or expression, and the meaning (in English or in your own language) and write down an example sentence that includes the new vocabulary. Then, try and use the new word or expression yourself. Repetition and practice is the one of the best ways to improve your English skills.

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5. Use songs to develop English pronunciation

English spelling can often be a problem for language learners, because it is not as logical as many other languages. Therefore, listening to music can help to improve listening skills and develop English pronunciation with examples of how to pronounce words and phrases with rhythm and intonation.

Sometimes, however, you need to be careful, because artists may also change the pronunciation of words. For example, a word with only two syllables may be adapted to have three syllables in the song. If you are not sure, we recommend that you check in an online dictionary that has an audio clip for each word.

6. Relax, listen to music that you love and just enjoy it!

Learning is more productive when we are in the right mood. We can concentrate better and are more likely to remember what we have studied. Likewise, it can be an advantage to just relax, turn on the music, and listen to (and even sing) English songs that you enjoy.

Other study ideas

We also recommend other study options to improve your English skills. This includes our free English level test and more ideas to study English at home, plus English quizzes and regular updates on our blog.