Here's how studying and practicing music can help you with new languages.
Music helps tune your ear to notes *and* pronunciation
Studying music requires listening to and then producing a variety of musical pitches and rhythms—not so different from the sounds, intonation, and rhythms important to language learners! In fact, research shows that people with musical training have increased sensitivity to language sound patterns. This benefits your understanding of new languages, and also helps you be understood by others. That's why working on your intonation and rhythm can be even more helpful than pronouncing each vowel or consonant exactly right.
Music helps you listen more effectively
Musicians become accustomed to listening attentively, even when they aren't playing or singing! In fact, music has written notation to indicate rests (times when you are meant to be silent). Nevertheless, these "silent" signs still require you to remain alert and listen actively to what is being played in the music—that way you're ready to jump in when it's your turn to play again. You have to be in-sync with the rest of the ensemble!
This extra awareness for turn-taking and responding is essential for communication in general, and it's especially important when learning to have conversations in a new language. Even practicing on your own, like by listening to music or watching TV or movies in the language, requires active listening!
Music improves word learning
The parts of the brain most responsible for learning words and remembering their meanings are on the left side of the brain, just above your left ear. But language isn't the only thing that stimulates this area: These regions are more highly developed in people with musical training than they are for non-musicians! Exposure to musical education early in life definitely has this effect on the brain, and new research shows improved memory for words and speech in older adults who studied music for the very first time.
Train your brain with music!
You can start tuning your ear—and your brain—with Duolingo's music course! You might be surprised by all the ways music can benefit your learning. 💚