People often ask uswhat language young children should sing in when they start learning music. And we always tell them this: as many as possible. When children start identifying new languages early on, it has many benefits.
Even traditionally, single styles of music have often been multi-lingual for example Carnatic music is in Telugu, Sanskrit, Tamil and Kannada, while Western classical music covers Italian, German, French, English.
We follow the same principles when we teach global music in the classroom. Before students reach grade 1, they learn to sing in ten languages. And by the time they reach middle school, that number is fifteen languages.
Here are some of the ways that singing in multiple languages benefit children:
1) Different languages help build different skills
Each language has its own set of technical challenges and benefits. Learning to pronounce new words in multiple languages engages different parts of the brain, while also teaching you to work with your vocal cords more efficiently. The voice is a versatile instrument that should be challenged, and singing in new languages develops expression. Experts from Trinity College have suggested singing in multiple languages to develop a stronger musical identity.
2) When you sing in a new language, you become better at speaking it
Multiple research studies conducted in music universities showed that participants who learnt to sing in a particular language were able to recall phrases more accurately. They were also able to identify words from these languages correctly in the long term. One reason why this happens is because melody and memory are strongly linked.
3) It helps build perspective
When children learn songs in different languages, they’re also introduced to context. Each language takes a different approach to describing details, and when you learn the song, you also learn a little more about the historical and social context behind that song. For example, we introduce our students to an Italian song about immigration. Along with the meanings of the words, we also teach them a little about what it means to leave what you consider as home and adapt to a new place. These are complex concepts, but presenting them musically, and in a new language, helps make it easier to understand.
4) It teaches children to enjoy learning
Singing in new languages brings many learning opportunities – from pronunciation to understanding the nuances of the language. It challenges learners in a fun way, and encourages them to keep exploring and discovering new things about the language and the region it’s from.
As the world continues to become more and more multicultural, it’s important that children grow up appreciating diversity in all forms. And one of the best ways to do it? Introducing music in different languages from the around the world as early as possible.
Want your child to learn new songs in multiple languages? Bring SaPa to their school today! Read about the program here.