Language and Music. Language is Music. Music helps you learn language.
It’s so simple. Yet sometimes it feels like I am talking to the wall when I tell people how lyrical songs can help people learn language. I was just in Kyrgyzstan a couple weeks ago doing presentations about my book, Language is Music, for the US State Department (Foreign Ministry) and I got many dumbfounded looks from language teachers when I told them how to use songs to teach language. Really? I can use songs to teach grammar? Yes.
Now there is an incredible story about how songs are helping Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords regain her speech. She is making incredible progress using melodic intonation therapy to regain speech after a bullet passed through the left side of her brain, causing her to lose expressive speech.
Yes, music can help you learn language. Music activates more parts of the brain than language does, on both the right and left sides of the brain. As the Nightline Special says, “When the music fades away, the words stay”. After listening to songs, Representative Giffords remembers the words from songs that she previously could not say. The music activates her memory of the words and ability to pronounce them.
If songs can help someone with brain injuries regain speaking abilities, then music can help everyone else learn languages. No more excuses!