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di  Leonard O’Shea, Silvia Chini

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Music has, since time immemorial, been a fundamental teaching tool. From the earliest rhymes and rythyms heard from our mother’s embrace or croaking songs from our father’s arms, music has seemingly found it’s way to stimulate our memories and tickle our desire for learning more.

Before literacy and the advent of the written word, the Celtic Bardic traditions of song and poetry, for example,  kept the histories of the the tribes intact and through strict adherence to the rhythm and lyrics, allowed for the histories and stories held within to be passed through the generations with very little loss of information and language.

 The importance of song  as a medium of passing knowledge  over generations has diminished greatly but the learning aspect remains as valid as it has ever been, particularly  when it comes to language and vocabulary. It has been found that songs assists in the learning of a new language by assisting the memory to retain sentence and phrase constructions as well as learning new vocabulary in context. With the additional benefit being a lot more entertaining to listen to  than a droning teacher. 

The introduction of musical streaming sites such as Spotify and Tide has helped the gathering together of these musical resources for easy use in a classroom context. Whereas in the past the relative awkwardness of recording on to magnetic tape or burning onto CD hindered the full use of music , its utility in the class was not always ideal, we can now ,in minutes and a single click, find, organise and optimise our playlists to suit whatever teaching subject we require. Present Perfect Continuous?; Led Zeppelin, Since I’ve Been loving You; Modal Auxiliaries ; Muse , Resistance. The options are boundless  because where there is song , there are words and vocabulary and also grammar. Spotify and such sites have added an ease to the use of music in language teaching that is difficult to overstate and both students and teachers are reaping the benefits both in class participation and enjoyment as well as fluency and lexical enhancement.