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Learning Spanish through music

One day I was talking with a friend and I mentioned I play the guitar. She saw it, she made the connection: 
- why don't you play the guitar in your classes? your students will love it. 
- Ummm... I've never thought about it.
One month later I was playing the guitar, my students were singing in Spanish and the result was amazingly unexpected for me. They got it fast. Way faster than me (it usually happens ;)
Their intonation, pronunciation and fluency were improved magically and we were having fun during classes. Whoa! I had to start doing some research on it right away! 

Here they are some of my findings:
It's so true that language acquisition depends on interaction [more when we are not in an immersion context]. And in my case the main source of interaction my students have available is their teacher. Also, even if we haven't noticed, there is a melody in our speech when we are teaching. We use so many different features like repetition, expansions, preference for simplified vocabulary, change in voice volume and modification of intonational contours.  These melodies become a scaffold for language learning. 
Exaggerated melodic contours found in adult-directed-to-infant-speech are considered to be parental intuitive behavior to guide their babies musical beginnings [Papousek 1996], but they are also seen as a species-specific learning guidance towards language [Feu and Piñero 1996, Wemke and Mende 2009]. 
An example of this is in the movie My Fair Lady when Professor Higgins distorts the rhythmic articulation of the following utterance: "The rain in Spain falls mainly in the plain", and it is just at this precise moment when his student, Eliza Doolittle, starts reproducing language properly.

The same idea applies for our students singing and listening songs in Spanish acquiring authentic phonics through real native speakers.

On top of that I would add the contribution we are making to our students happiness and motivation.

But also remember that carrots & sticks are so last century. Let your students participate in class choices. You'll see the difference!

Further reading:

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