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Mind Your Language, at New York Guitar School

August 17, 2015 - Music and Science

New York Guitar School Is Not All Greek to You

Parlez-vous français? Parla italiano? 你說中國話? If you don’t speak any foreign languages (and according to government statistics, 75 percent of Americans don’t), but would like to be able to converse in another tongue, we may have a solution for you!

Yes, there are language courses, of course, but that’s not what we are talking about. We are referring to another method of mastering a foreign language: music training! It’s true: while you are learning a language, music stimulates your brain and helps it absorb new information quicker and better. In fact, research conducted at Northwestern University indicated that “music training leads to changes throughout the auditory system that prime musicians for listening challenges beyond music processing.” Does this mean that, as a musician or music student, you will become fluent in a foreign language overnight? No. What it does mean is that your brain “soaks up” all the new knowledge in a more efficient manner. ¿No es maravilloso?

Sing, sing a song

When your (or your child’s) brain is musically primed for learning, a good way to start speaking a foreign language is through singing. Studies from the University of Edinburgh found that people who sing words or short phrases in a foreign language become twice as fluent at speaking it later. Researchers believe it is because this technique links music and memory. Can this approach work with any foreign tongue? Yes, it can, but it’s important to keep in mind that each language has its own specific rhythm, cadence, and pacing – to put it into musical terms, it has its own unique “melody.” This means that singing phrases in, say, Zulu, will not be the same as singing them in Finnish, or any other language, for that matter. Just as an example, one of the easiest French songs to master may very well be “Frères Jacques ” because the same words and phrases repeat themselves in each section, so there is not a vast vocabulary to master. What if you want to learn Spanish and Portuguese through music? This article might help you achieve that. And by the way, experts say that the best age to start learning a foreign language is in childhood, which, coincidentally, is also the optimum time to start music lessons. Of course, it is never too late to begin mastering both – you are never too “old” to learn new things!

We speak your language!

We don’t mean to brag (well, actually we do), but our teachers speak a multitude of foreign languages – including Spanish, French, Russian, Japanese, Mandarin, German, Hebrew, Italian, Portuguese, and others. However, when they come to give a lesson in your Manhattan, Brooklyn, or Riverdale home or office, they will communicate with you in the universal language of music. And that is one thing that will never be lost in translation!

Photo by unknown, available under Creative Commons License
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