Italians love singing and if you’re learning Italian and want to understand the Italian culture, it helps to know a bit about Italian popular music.
In this post, you’ll discover how to learn Italian with songs.
Why learn Italian with songs
The Italian music scene is such a big part of Italian culture that it’s not rare to make reference to popular songs in the middle of conversations.
In the 90s, we had a very popular TV show called Karaoke where the host Fiorello used to travel around Italy hosting massive Italian karaoke night parties in the main Italian cities.
A huge crowd of people would gather to sing along and everything would be broadcasted on TV.
This is because Italians are not embarrassed about showcasing their singing skills!
So, today I will show you how to learn Italian with songs and introduce you to some popular Italian songs.
Learning Italian with songs is fun!
The best Italian songs to learn Italian
From picking up new vocabulary to perfecting the perfect pronunciation, listening to foreign language music can help learners go from complete novice to accomplished conversationalist.
And those who sing along as well find it even easier to remember new words and phrases.
Italian music is a great way to learn a language by yourself.
You can improve your language skills in a fun way and, at the same time, get to grips with some elements of Italian culture.
Listening to songs exposes you to all sorts of grammatical structures such as verbs and conjugations, and these are much easier to memorize with a melody attached.
The most important thing you must do when trying to improve your Italian vocabulary is to try listening skills in a foreign language.
Choose materials that are interesting and enjoyable for you.
You can choose to listen to podcasts, watch movies in the original language, or… listen to Italian songs!
In fact, songs are an excellent resource for dealing with the study of languages in general and the Italian language in particular.
Italian songs are a source of everyday language with both simple phrases and complex vocabulary.
They are catchy, easy to memorize and you can use the music in order to learn in a fun way, without too much effort…And you can even take advantage of improving your singing skills!
Italian pop music is not very popular in other countries.
When I ask my students which songs or singers they know, they always say Ricchi e Poveri, Albano e Romina or Toto Cutugno.
These are singers that were famous in Italy when my father was 20 years old.
Check out our list of Italian songs to learn Italian.
Italian children’s songs for beginners
You might want to consider learning Italian with Italian children’s songs.
Children’s songs tend to be easy to understand.
This is why I recommend starting with simple songs.
Here’s one of my favorite:
“Ci vuole un fiore” talks about flowers, seeds, wood, and trees and is perfect for Italian beginners because of the vocabulary mining potential in the simple phrases, not to mention the catchy melody that stays with you long after the song is done.
The structure is simple, regular, and repetitive. You can easily get the hang of the words because they have been artfully arranged into a progression. Kudos to the lyricist, Gianni Rodari!
If the English song “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” adeptly teaches children different parts of the body, this one does the same, but with words related to nature.
This is one of those songs that crams plenty of vocabulary into a few lines and is an example of how to creatively learn new words by embedding them in a meaningful context.
Learn more Italian children’s songs.
Easy Italian songs for beginners
If you’re a beginner, you want to start with easy Italian songs.
That’s why you should start with a mix of cheerful and romantic songs with simple vocabulary and common phrases by famous Italian singers, like the one below:
Con te partirò – Andrea Bocelli
This is probably one of the biggest international hits in the history of Italian music.
Con te partirò (“With You I Will Leave”) talks about a journey.
The theme of the journey is presented in a romantic and poetic way. The popular singer dreams of rediscovering lost and new places thanks to the love of his partner in the journey of life.
If we take into account that Bocelli is blind, the meaning of the song acquires an extra value: he can see the light thanks to the sincerity of a true, intense feeling.
This is one of the greatest international successes of Italian music. The emotion of this song has no time, but it is worth listening to it (and learning it) not only for purely artistic reasons but also for linguistic ones.
Bocelli marks the words slowly, the music has a slow rhythm, so it is easy to understand the vocabulary and learn it. This is what makes this song one of my favourite songs for a beginner learner of Italian.
Check this list of easy Italian songs for beginners.
Italian songs for intermediate level
At an intermediate level, these Italian songs can capture a language learner’s heart
If you already understand some words and want to expand your vocabulary, learn Italian with songs at an intermediate level.
Here are some of my favorite ones:
Ma il cielo è sempre più blu – Rino Gaetano
Here, you’ll find the lyrics and translation of this song.
Perdono – Tiziano Ferro
If you watch the video, you’ll find the lyrics and translation.
Check this list of Italian songs for intermediate-level students.
Italian songs for advanced level
If you already understand Italian at an advanced level, you can appreciate the subtleties of these Italian lyrics.
Learn Italian with songs and improve your listening skills through their wonderfully melodramatic tunes.
Here’re two songs for you:
Salirò – Daniele Silvestri
Il congiuntivo – Lorenzo Baglioni
This song is great to understand when we use the Italian subjunctive (il congiuntivo).
Check this list of Italian songs for advanced-level students.
When can you start listening to Italian songs?
One big misconception about learning a new language is that songs come later in the process and that they only play a minor role if any at all.
When you’ve got the grammar rules down and have a decent storehouse of your favorite Italian phrase memorized, that’s when you can employ songs and take those language skills to a whole new level.
Attempting to use songs without grammar and vocabulary already on your side would be a disaster, right?
Well, that all couldn’t be further from the truth!
While selecting a good Italian textbook and checking out a wide variety of books for Italian learners, in general, is important, it can be just as important to consider more interactive options in the early stages of learning.
You could go for games that teach you Italian or other online options for learning the language.
And along with these comes music and your favorite songs.
The earlier you take up songs in your Italian language journey, the better.
Think about the famous songs of your childhood, when you were learning your first language.
You didn’t have a decent grasp of grammar or vocabulary before you started singing your ABCs or your nursery rhymes out of tune.
In fact, you used these songs to bone up on your language skills.
So instead of waiting ’til later to use songs, which is really putting the cart before the horse, use them on the very first day of learning the language.
Songs are memorable and stick in the mind.
We never forget the songs we used to sing as kids in school, even when it’s been 20 years since those days.
Songs are the perfect vehicle to learn grammar and vocabulary because they provide a context for the language.
And language is context.
It’s really through context that language derives its meaning.
And songs are the language used to communicate a coherent thought and context, creating memories in the process.
Furthermore, with songs, we’re not talking just about any context.
Songs have a melody, rhythm, and rhymes that always beat memorizing a dry list of words from a sheet of paper.
So if you want to really learn Italian and learn it fast, consider Italian songs with lyrics to be one of the most efficient and effective tools in the shed.
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