Going Gaga for Learning English

Modified on by Guest Blogger

Going Gaga for Learning English

This guest post comes from our friend Alice Morell, who is a professional musician, dancer, and blogger at My Music Box.  You can find Alice on Twitter @AliceMorell.

Music is all about spectacle, no matter what culture you’re in.  It pushes boundaries, changes perceptions, and challenges the status quo. The best music makes us think, makes us feel, and reminds us that the way things are is not the way things always have to be. It speaks to some of our more basic instincts, and the part of us that refuses to be just another copy of the cultural standard.  These elements are vitally important in any culture, keeping it evolving and flexible, and helping to prevent cultural stagnation.   All of these elements of music are put forth to the listener through the artist’s voice.

Language finds its ultimate expression through music, where emotion and vitality are transmitted through the power of the singer’s voice.  It’s an aspect of culture that is with us from the very beginning, when we first start learning the alphabet, and carries on with us through all aspects of learning language. Most everyone, at some time in their lives, has had to write poetry in school, and it is a hallmark of the angsty teenager to write poems expressing this time of change. In the case of Lady Gaga, she used it to challenge the world to tell her to change, just so she could spit in its eye.

Learning a Foreign Language Through Music

Popular Songs Use Repetition and Catchy Hooks to Help You Learn

The first song we’ll be working with today speaks of a woman who isn’t letting you know what she’s thinking, and is using that to her advantage.  Part of Lady Gaga’s image in the musical culture, is an element of flowing mystery.  Is she really this wild?  Is she just doing it for attention?  Does she have an agenda?  You’ll never know, because no one is as skilled at keeping their “Poker Face” as Lady Gaga.  This song is fun to sing, and has an upbeat rhythm that will keep you singing along as you learn English with Lady Gaga.  It’s decidedly repetitive, emphasizing the creative use of certain phonemes (the base sound structures of language) during the chorus.

The second song carries with it an important lesson that’s central to Lady Gaga’s image and the songs she writes that emphasize her personal view of life.   Sometimes you find yourself in a situation where everything is trying to go wrong, or people are trying to turn you into something you’re not.  In the face of these circumstances, don’t succumb to it, instead “Just Dance!”  Some of the best elements of this song are the quick stops where it lets a word hang, emphasizing it to aid in memory.  The majority of the words are incredibly clear, with a few sections where it speeds up.  This will aid you in recognizing English words in cases where it may not be exactly clear, but overall this is an excellent song to learn from!

Following this theme in her music, the next song we’ll be talking about emphasizes how it’s not necessary to be like everyone else, and how we’re all different.   There is a strong message in this tone that everyone is alright just the way they are, because the world is made beautiful by precious variety.  In the end, be proud of who you are, and don’t be afraid to be different, you were just “Born This Way!” This song is a bit challenging with its driving beat and somewhat faster pace, but with practice it’ll come much easier to you!

The path to speaking a language like a native is a long and arduous one, but artists like Lady Gaga can make learning it ever so much more fun. So pick up the language, meet the challenge, and express yourself, in English! Learning English is a lot easier with music [and Brainscape is a great supplement]!

Brainscape is a web & mobile education platform that helps you learn anything faster, using cognitive science. Join the millions of students, teachers, language learners, test-takers, and corporate trainees who are doubling their learning results. Visit brainscape.com or find us on the App Store .


Romane Robinson 2 years ago

I think this is an interesting look at what Lady Gaga's songs can do from a learning perspective. At surface value, one would write her songs off as very "poppish", catchy, and makes use of simple words we commonly use. A second look, as you suggest, says more where emphasizing phonetic sounds in the chorus and enunciating makes her music as a learning tool for English. It's very interesting, really. As a native English speaker, I wonder how much of the Korean language English-speaking people absorbed with PSY's Gangnam Style song.

Elizabeth Gjersvik 2 years ago

I think music provides a major key to easy learning that hasn't really been explored yet. Lady Gaga's songs, as well as many others, can be regurgitated without consciously thinking about the lyrics or the melody; often times people need to sing through a song before they remember its title, or can thoughtlessly sing along to a song they haven't heard in years. What is it about music that taps into listeners' learning abilities and easy recall?

Mel Bradley 2 years ago

Like Elizabeth, I'm interested in how music leads to faster memorization and better recall. Can we tap into this somehow in education? Would tapping into it take the fun out of music?

Clare 11 months ago

Memorizing a song in a foreign language makes it so much easier to recall. I can still recite a song I learned in German from 2 years ago (I'm in a HS choir), and I'm sure if approached correctly this could be a great tool for learning!

Electronic Whiteboard 8 months ago

I like Gaga and her songs! They are terrific. I think listening to music is a relaxing way to learn English. Take some Non-English singers for example. They don’t speak English but they can sing English songs in a perfect way.

Courtney@Brainscape 8 months ago

That's awesome! Good luck with your studies!

john mical 8 months ago

It’s nice site. I have very good experience with https://play.google.com/store/... there we can learn all languages it’s really helpful.

Jhon Abraham 9 months ago

Perhaps this might a way to study English abroad it seems ;)

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Archer 7 months ago

good site. I have very good experience with https://play.google.com/store/...
there we can learn all languages it’s really helpful

Stanley Revis 5 months ago

Yes.Musics really help us to learn.Music contain many strong messages.also music can bring the current problems to the public.I like her song.Many professional singers are there.

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liza jack 3 weeks ago

It is very important to improve english language for esl teaching

liza john 3 weeks ago

A person who like to explore is knowledgeable. There are many things that you really need to do through an effective process so that you can surely achieve something that you wanted.

Elizabeth 11 months ago

I knew that the truth was on my side and I felt fortunate that the jury was able to see that. Rob and I made our agreement in 2005. We are now entering 2015. The journey has been a long one. My attorneys at Dunnegan & Scileppi did an extraordinary job at helping me reach this milestone. I am so thankful to them for making the Herculean effort that was required to win this case. It would be wonderful if the verdict helped other people to remember that agreements are enforceable. Do business with people who are worthy of your trust. Be the living example that your word is your bond. It’s a tough business and people need to be valued for their work.


Maria Smith 1 year ago

This is important to remember while you are browsing IELTS or TOEFL preparation course, if you are planning on applying for citizenship or collage and intend to use your results as an entry requirement.

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Fred 2 years ago

I go gaga for cocoa puffs!

Diego 2 years ago

Hi Alice,
Good article, Lady Gaga is not my music taste, but the lyrics really are too good and it says us about many things of our lives. Thanks for sharing. Could you exploring more these lyrics?

jayennoa 1 year ago

its how music is like to talk about it'

Maria Smith 1 year ago

I think speaking a language is as important as writing it, or in whatever you do, do your best. Although it may take time to perfect speaking English, it is best to try it without the "bahala na" way of thinking.

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Julia Smith 1 year ago

English teachers is very important to the students in order for them to have a fluent mind in using English language that would help them to have an effective communication to the foreigners.

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Julia Smith 1 year ago

Learning a new language effortlessly can be a unique experience for the learners, as it takes lots of patience and hard work to get adopted with an acquired language.

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Izmeister 2 years ago

great article - not a fan of Gaga, however I can't deny those songs are catchy :p

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