"If babies can do it, I can do it".
Learning a new language can be a daunting task. The thought of assimilating a new alphabet, grammar, spelling, pronunciation, and way of thinking may seem like an obstacle course better not started.
But, let's look at it from the viewpoint of infants. Babies are not born with the ability to instantly start spouting their native tongue fluently. In fact, it may take several years before a child is even ready to start learning the basics of the grammar laws in their language. Even some adults are gobsmacked at the prospect of dissecting a sentence into its grammatical parts.
Also, in the process of learning a new language, it is usually difficult to get the cadence and emphasis correct. Even if you live in the same country where your chosen language is spoken, it can be difficult to overcome the thinking patterns of years of your native language.
How can music help?
Here is where music can be of great assistance. After all, music is one of the first things that babies hear as parents lull them to sleep with a little ditty. Additionally, it uses a different part of the brain than what is used in traditional language classes or immersion in the culture. This is important because we want to be able to start thinking in our new language, which would require that the language permeate all parts of our brain. Music also emphasizes the fact that people in every culture have the same feelings and yearnings; thus, it gives us the chance to feel at one with others and empathize.
However, where do we find the resources to use music as a learning tool? The opportunities are endless! Advertising jingles, popular songs, children's learning songs - all of these and many more are available on the Internet via such sites as YouTube and other search engines. The best song choices will have the words subtitled so that we can sing along and review the meaning of the song. It can even be a fun exercise to dissect a song to diagram the lyrics into various parts of speech. The main thing is to not get too analytical; just have fun and learn the song! Pick a jaunty or haunting tune and notice how the singer fuses some words together so that the lyrics flow and take on new meaning. Focus on the cadence and pronunciation: it will give you some practice in how the fluent language sounds. Make note of idioms that may be commonly used (or even those not so commonly used).
So, whether you are learning or teaching new language skills, don't forget to make use of music because, as Longfellow said, "Music is the universal language of mankind."