I know I am saying something really obvious but music is a great tool to practice a foreign language.
I have always loved music a lot and this has been really helpful to practice and improve my English. Over the years, I have consumed hours and hours of English music, which has helped me memorize thousands of English words and phrases.
I started learning English in middle school and soon after my love for British music began. So I remember spending many afternoons sitting by the record player – yes, I am THAT old – with a lyrics book in my hand – again, THAT old – trying to understand what I was listening to.
Back then, I was crazy for The Smiths and I really wanted to understand what their music was about. Those days, I mainly focused on the meaning of words, so I would look up in the dictionary every new word I came across. I was a beginner – lower-intermediate learner and there were many words I didn’t know but I had a lot of time and I could spend hours focusing on music and vocabulary.
My love for music has never faded and I still use it to improve my English. Unfortunately, I do not have that much time anymore, so I just listen to the songs and try to figure out what they mean. Unless they really struck my attention, I don’t look new words up but I just use songs as a way to fix the words I already know in my head and maybe improve my pronunciation.
As you may know very well, repetition is key when learning a foreign language, and is there something more repetitive than a song you hear over and over again? To me, it is still the best way of being exposed to the language without making any effort! But you can use music in different ways, depending on what you want to work on: vocabulary, pronunciation, word building, and so on.
I believe in using music for language learning so much that I decided to write a post about using songs to practice Italian. In particular, I have selected five songs that can be really helpful in focusing on verbs. In fact, each of the songs I picked can help you practice a specific verb tense like imperfetto, futuro, congiuntivo, and so on. But let’s see them in detail.
Storia d’amore – Adriano Celentano
This is one of the best Italian songs ever written, in my opinion. Adriano Celentano is one of the most famous Italian singers and, even if I don’t like the songs he makes today, I believe he created some real masterpieces back in the 60s and 70s.
This song, in particular, tells the story of a tortured love affair and it’s sad and overall beautiful. Speaking of the Italian language, it is a great song to practice the imperfetto: all the verbs in the refrain use that tense and it is perfect to fix those verbs in your mind.
Verrà l’estate – Malika Ayane e Pacifico
Malika Ayane is a very talented singer who started her career in the choir of the Teatro delle Scala, while Pacifico is a singer and songwriter with a very unique voice. They have teamed up to sing this song that is an ode about summer.
Their two peculiar voices sound really great together and create a song that has a nice summery atmosphere. Regarding the language, many verbs throughout the song use the futuro semplice and so it is really useful to practice that tense.
Tutto l’amore che ho – Jovanotti
Jovanotti is a very famous Italian singer and he is especially famous among students of Italian – I bet you have heard about it at least once – because his songs are great to practice Italian: easy, catchy and full of repetitions.
This song doesn’t make an exception yet the lyrics are a bit more complicated. In fact, I’d recommend it for more advanced students as it uses a lot of condizionale and congiuntivo: in fact, it is perfect to review the periodo ipotetico!
Sono come tu mi vuoi – Mina
And here comes the queen of Italian music. She is one of the greatest singers of all time and someone who decided to disappear from the public eye in 1978, so her image is crystallized in time. Her music, especially that of the 60s and 70s, is incredibly elegant and sophisticated.
The song I selected for you is a beautiful and dreamy declaration of love – sung with an incredible voice. In terms of the Italian language, it is great to review the congiuntivo presente and imperfetto.
Salirò – Daniele Silvestri
With this last song, we move from a very stylish and classic song to a super pop one. It has a very catchy tune and it’s one of my overall favorites. The song is by Daniele Silvestri, a singer and songwriter from Rome and this song is one of his most popular ones.
For your language learning purposes, this song is perfect to review the futuro semplice – beginning from the verb in the title, which is endlessly repeated in the refrain – and the condizionale presente.
I hope that you will find this post useful and will start using songs to practice Italian. By the way, which is your favorite Italian song?
If you want to practice your Italian conversation skills but do not have the time to commit to 1-on-1 lessons or still do not feel confident enough to chat for a long time, I’d suggest you check my program called Italiano Mordi e Fuggi, an Italian conversation practice via asynchronous video.
If you sign up to Italiano Mordi e Fuggi, you will receive a video from me four days a week (Monday through Thursday). Each video will contain a question, that you’ll need to answer in either video or audio form. For each reply you’ll send me, I’ll reply back with feedback and tips to improve your skills.