Study Tips

How singing can improve your English

Whether you’re a karaoke hero or just sing secretly in the shower, singing is a great way to improve your language skills. Here’s why:

It’s great for pronunciation. I’m not suggesting that you should sing all the time when you speak, that may seem a little odd. It really is good for your pronunciation however. To pronounce words clearly in English, you need to exercise the muscles used to make each sound. We can do this through speaking but when we sing, we need to make each sound a lot clearer and louder. This gives the muscles in your mouth a real workout, just like going to the gym does for your body, and makes it easier to speak in real life.

Singing builds your confidence. For most people, singing in front of people makes them really nervous, much more so than speaking to people. So, if you can sing in front of people, speaking is nothing to be nervous about, right?

Singing helps you remember words. If you hear a new piece of vocabulary in a song, you learn it in a context; and that makes it easier to remember. Learning songs for children is a great way to remember things like colours, numbers, and parts of the body. Pop songs can be a fun way to learn idioms, expressions and phrasal verbs too.

It’s fun! OK, so this is truer for some people than others; but singing, especially in a relaxed social place, can be great fun. Having fun with new language is important for motivation.

It helps you to breathe properly. Breathing is really important for your pronunciation and confidence, and you can’t sing unless your lungs are full of air. Singing highlights where it’s best to take a breath in sentences so that they sound most natural.

So, that’s how singing helps improve your English. What was the last song you sang?

image: Kevin Dooley

Wil is a writer, teacher, learning technologist and keen language learner. He’s taught English in classrooms and online for nearly 10 years, trained teachers in using classroom and web technology, and written e-learning materials for several major websites. He speaks four languages and is currently looking for another one to start learning.

Wil

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