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Teaching Russian With Songs

by Rachel Hudson

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Everyone knows how earworms cause us to get jingles stuck in our heads. You're just hanging around and before you know it, you're singing loudly and everyone else starts joining in. Would it not be great that instead of just annoying your friends, you could teach them Russian with a catchy melody or two. The good news is that you can, and in this article, we're going to show you how.

Everyone knows how earworms cause us to get jingles stuck in our heads. You're just hanging around and before you know it, you're singing loudly and everyone else starts joining in. Would it not be great that instead of just annoying your friends, you could teach them Russian with a catchy melody or two. The good news is that you can, and in this article, we're going to show you how.

Trying to master any language is all about improving listening skills. Whether you're just listening to the radio or you're putting together a playlist of foreign hits, music is a great way of learning the language fast. So if it's Russian that you're trying to master, start singing a tune or two.

Why Teach Russian with Songs?

It's very funny. If you think about lessons, they need to be engaging and what better way engagement than by getting everyone to sing along. It's different from the usual direct method of language teaching. If you pick tunes that everyone will love, this will make the whole learning experience a lot of fun. It's a lot better than sitting around and reciting flashcards.

Singing can also help one remember key grammar and vocabulary. Learning lyrics is a great way of remembering conjugations and vocab and really putting your knowledge to use. Language learning is contextual and there needs to be a point to doing it. By signing, this is introducing the context for the learner - you are engaging with Russian culture. Cultural awareness is very important and will make language learning a whole lot easier and relevant

How to Teach Russian with Songs

Encourage your students to sit back and relax, getting a feel for the tune. Once they're ready, you can introduce them to lyrics, pitch, and rhythm. The key is making things as engaging as possible, so you've got to really get into the music too.

Subtitles can be used effectively, especially when trying to get people singing along and knowing what they're singing about. It's simple to find numerous English translations to study Russian songs. The good people at novoline online suggest projecting them over the top of a video or simply hand out lyrics sheets in class. The translation will help students connect singing to meaning - it is no use learning Russian language through song if you don't understand the point of the lyrics.

With all of the rich tapestry of Russian culture at your disposal, there are many good Russian songs to learn from. Without further adieu, put down your book of ra game and let's take a look at some great examples to introduce to your students.

Katyusha (Катюша)

This WWII folk song became very popular at the time. It tells the listener about the sad story of a young woman who is waiting for her love to come back. The first verse is entirely in the past tense - this is a great thing to hone in on in a lesson.

 

Cheburashka (Чебурашка)

There used to be a soviet cartoon by the name of Cheburashka and this had an excellent, catchy theme tune. It's utterly adorable and will have language learners singing along with a smile on their face. It's particularly great when teaching young children.

 

The Black Raven (Чёрный ворон)

This classic folk tune is all about a raven that circles overhead over the body of a soldier. A somber number but with some brilliant vocabulary. One thing's for sure, you'll never forget how to say "black" ever again.

 

Higher (Выше)

The popular songwriter Nyusha (Нюша) composed this energetic song and its popular style is very engaging, especially with adolescent learners. Many of the lyrics feature the future tense, so a whole language lesson can be based around it. There are also several important phrases such as "I want", repeated frequently.

 

Everyone Can Study Russian with These Songs

Now that we've taken you through a few, you're all equipped to create some fantastic and engaging lessons. Depending on the language level of your class, some of the songs we mentioned might not be appropriate, but this we've only scratched the surface - there are all sorts of songs to learn from. Teaching through songs is the best method of teaching. Have fun and good luck!

About the Writer

R. Hudson graduated from UCL University with a degree in modern languages. She knows several different languages and grew up bilingual, speaking Polish and English at home. Hudson also finished courses of programming and now she is developing an android app for learning foreign languages.

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