Learning languages through music

There are many ways to learn a foreign language outside the classroom. In this blog series, we have already covered learning in a tandem (Tandem Language Learning), learning through podcasts (The Best Free Podcasts to Learn German) and books (Improve Your German by Reading). Today we are going to focus again on a predominantly auditory method, namely music.

In the first part of this blog post, we will answer the question of why songs are a valuable tool for improving your language skills. In the second part, we will provide you with over 24 German songs that we hope will not only appeal to you but will also help you to improve your German.

In this blog post we will focus on learning German. If you want to learn a language other than German, you can listen to the “Top 50” of each country on Spotify, for example, or search for suitable songs on YouTube.

4 reasons to learn with music

  1. You will improve your pronunciation

Non-native speakers are often identified by their pronunciation. There is nothing wrong with making small mistakes, but if our pronunciation is hindering mutual understanding, we should definitely practise more. Music is an easy way to do this. The important thing is to listen actively. The best way to do this is to look up the lyrics on the internet and read or sing along while you listen. So: listen actively, read along, sing along! (This also applies to the next points.)

  1. You develop a better feel for language

When we learn a new language, we need to be open, flexible and curious about rules that are different from the ones we know. This applies to grammar and word choice, but also to rhythm, sentence order and much more. Listening to songs and, if possible, reading (and singing along) the lyrics will help you develop a better feel for language. A feel for language is the ability to intuitively know what is right and what is wrong.

  1. Immerse you in another culture

Music can take you to other worlds and teach you about other cultures. As you listen to music, ask yourself the following questions: Are there any recurring themes? Where do the rhythms come from? Are there male or female voices? What mood does the music put you in? Go on a musical journey and discover a new side of the language.

  1. It is fun

Very few people enjoy spending hours studying grammar and vocabulary. Moreover, if you lack passion, this will have a negative effect on your learning process and success. That is why a certain amount of playful learning is essential, and learning through music is certainly a rewarding method for this. Another advantage is that we tend to remember melodies relatively well. You have probably learned your ABC’s from a song, have you not?

Over 24 songs to improve your German

Let us move on to some German songs that can help you improve your German.

  1. «99 Luftballons» by Nena

Surely you have heard this song before – a song for peace in the context of the Cold War. But have you ever paid attention to the lyrics?

  1. «Was du Liebe nennst» by Bausa

You might already be familiar with this song, too, because in 2017 it was number 1 in the German single charts for a very long time.

  1. «Major Tom (völlig losgelöst)» by Peter Schilling

This world-famous song was released in German in 1982 and in English – “Major Tom (Coming Home)” – in 1983.

  1. «So ein schöner Tag» by Donikkl

And while we are on the subject of flying: The so-called “Fliegerlied” is a big hit at many folk festivals or at the Oktoberfest.

  1. «Atemlos durch die Nacht» by Helene Fischer

If you like Schlager, you will definitely like Helene Fischer’s songs – they are really catchy!

  1. «Du hast mich tausendmal belogen» by Andrea Berg

Andrea Berg is also a well-known German Schlager singer.

  1. «Der Weg» by Herbert Grönemeyer
  2. «Ein Stern (… der deinen Namen trägt)» by DJ Ötzi, Nik P.
  3. «Sie ist weg» by Die Fantastischen Vier
  4. «Auf uns» by Andreas Bourani
  5. «Die immer lacht» by Kerstin Ott
  6. «Liebe ist…», «Lieblingsmensch» and «Je ne parle pas français» by Namika
  7. «Bilder im Kopf» and «Astronaut» by Sido
  8. «Nur noch kurz die Welt retten» by Tim Bendzko
  9. «Byebye», «Traum», «Easy» and «Du» by CRO
  10. «Applaus, Applaus» by Sportfreunde Stiller
  11. «Tage wie diese» by Die Toten Hosen
  12. «Lieder» by Adel Tawil
  13. «Musik sein» by Wincent Weiss
  14. «Chöre» by Mark Forster
  15. «Auf anderen Wegen» by Andreas Bourani
  16. «Alles nur geklaut», «Millionär» und «Küssen verboten» by Die Prinzen
  17. «Über sieben Brücken musst du geh’n» by Peter Maffay
  18. «Über den Wolken» by Reinhard Mey

The list is by no means exhaustive, but I hope it will serve as inspiration and encourage you to search for songs that suit your tastes.

Have you tried music as a learning method? What were your experiences? What are your favourite songs? I look forward to your input and feedback in the comments!

See you soon and happy music listening!

Nelly Müller – Sprachen Akademie

back to part 6
next to part 8