Many children really enjoy the songs that we learn together, but… well, not all of them! A child asked me today, “Why do we learn songs anyway? What’s the point?” For many, the first intuitive answer is “Because it’s fun!” but if it’s not fun for a particular child, then what is the point?
Learning a song brings the learner a number of useful things. People tend to copy the sounds of words in a song – you’ve probably heard children copying pop songs using an American accent, and the same thing often happens with songs in a foreign language, which helps them to both recognise and reproduce the unique sounds of the target language.
There’s also the long-term memory aspect – once a song is memorised, it can stick around in the memory for literally decades with little further effort.
A song with verses and a repetitive chorus presents a challenge to learners of all abilities – beginners can learn the few words of the chorus and repeat them over and over, while more advanced speakers can attempt a verse or two.
And let’s not forget the cultural aspect – language and culture are inextricably linked, and songs present a small window into the culture from which they come. And if a song from our club happens to come on the radio during a long drive through France, that can pretty much make the holiday!