A while back (Summer 2011) I wrote a few articles entitled MUSIC & ACCENT (part 1 bit.ly/RQhrRf and part 2 bit.ly/RS3D33.) In those postings, I related music with the musical elements of accent – in particular the shared elements of stress, pitch, volume, phrasing and intonation, as well as the similar methodologies we can use to learn each.
Music is a wonderful learning tool. In addition to being entertaining, it can improve our listening and accent, increase our vocabulary and teach us about a culture. Music study also helps to keep our brains flexible. Music was very influential in helping me to learn Spanish and I know many immigrants who learned a lot of their English from listening to and singing English songs.
So with this in mind, I approached a wonderfully prolific Canadian singer-songwriter whom I met many years back, Marie-Lynn Hammond (http://marielynnhammond.com/about/), to see if she might allow me to use some of her songs on this blog to illustrate how effective music can be when learning and refining a language. She gracefully agreed and gave me access to her discography.
So in the next months, you can expect posts, with links to her songs, which I will use to discuss culture, point out aspects of accent, explain idioms and expressions, etc.. And to whet your appetite,* here is a short ditty* entitled Keyboard Kitty. But don’t watch it yet! Read the following slowly and listen to the sound. See if you can figure out the words from just the sound: U C Y I M* A QT. Read it several times if you can’t get it at once. Also, remember the song is about a cat and cats are very cute!
Now click on the link, (bit.ly/PBIPku) highlight Kitty Keyboard Chorus and listen. Watch for the more serious music soon!
ditty – a short, simple song.
whet – to hone or to make more keen or stimulate.
whet your appetite – to interest you and make you want more. (Many people write this incorrectly using the word “wet”.)
M – this represents a word but, as it isn’t stressed, remember the vowel is probably reduced so play with it a bit.