1. Listen to the Translated Version of Your Favourite Songs
You might not realise just how many songs have been translated almost directly from English to Spanish. For example, if you are a big fan of poodle rock then you can get your fill of big hair and power ballads in Spanish. Bed or Roses becomes Cama de Rosas and This Ain’t a Love Song turns into Como Yo Nadie Te Ha Amado. Jon’s Spanish accent is slightly tortured but it’s all good stuff. I’ve also heard Spanish versions of songs as diverse as All Around the World by Lisa Stansfield (sung by Marcelo Morelo if you're interested) and the classic Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love For You. I even once heard a version of Angels by Robbie Williams, which the unbearably cheeky little fellow himself seemed to be singing in Spanish. Sting and Phil Collins are a couple of other artists who sometimes do Spanish versions of their songs.
2. Go to a Karaoke
The Spanish love to sing. While many people will do this in a normal bar, there are also some karaoke bars in most cities. Will you be brave enough to stand up there and sing along to a song in Spanish if you don’t even speak the language very well? Singing in a second language is incredibly difficult. If you don’t believe me, just listen to one of those Bon Jovi songs I mentioned earlier. Even if you just sit there and watch the lyrics scroll up the screen while someone else sings you will learn a lot in one of these places.
3. Go to a Football Game
You should also hear some songs being sung if you go to a Spanish football game. The bigger the game and the better the atmosphere, the more chance you have of hearing some songs. Football songs and chants can be really difficult to make out, so you should think about doing some research before you head off to the game.
4. Write Down the Lyrics
This is what I did when I was learning Spanish. I didn’t think that it was at all strange or unusual but people have told me since that it is a bit weird. I would put on my headphones and try to scribble down the lyrics while listening to my favourite songs. This would involve hours of listening to the same song and agonising over words that later turned out to be really simple. Personally, I found that this approach definitely helped me pick up the language quicker than I would otherwise have done. If you aren’t sure if your Spanish is good enough to do this you could take a language test first of all and see how you get on.
5. Watch More Telenovelas and Adverts
One idea that I can’t quite bring myself to commit to is that of watching more telenovelas. These are the Spanish soap operas and they usually have at least one song in them, either in the titles or throughout the song. They are probably a bit more interesting than British soaps in my opinion but I would rather spend a few hours in front of a notebook while wearing my headphones than watching one. TV adverts are also good places to hear snatches of music, while many shows will have snippets of a song in them here and there. There are also some reality shows in the style of the X Factor that could help you out.
Can you think of any other unusual ways of using music to learn a language?