How to integrate music with a Native/Heritage Speaker class or Non-Native Speaker

Since I am a music teacher first, many people have asked me how I integrate music into an L2, Heritage, and Native Spanish classroom. Every day I use my Spotify playlist “Songs in Spanish” (which I am trying to also make one on iTunes since I’m trying to slowly integrate Apple products into my room).

I use the playlist as a way to never have unintentional silence in class. As a musician, silence has always had meaning. A purpose. I want the same thing in my room.

I also use my playlist as a classroom management skill because if students are talking in their pods my go-to is: “Si no puedes escuchar la musica, estas charlando/hablando demasiado de alto” (If you cannot listen to the music, you are talking too loud). I use the playlist as an ice-breaker at the beginning of the year. My native speakers give suggestions to the Spotify playlist and that way they can show songs that they want their peers to listen to, especially our non-heritage/native speakers.

The music I pick vary in tempo, instrumentation, countries, and genre (style). I pick music from my college music friends with their EP’s, #throwbackthursday 90’s music to the Top 20 of 2017. I have not done “muévete miércoles” or “Baile viernes” like some other blogs suggest as activities, mainly because it doesn’t work with my students in my district. They do better with a CLOZE listening or listening to various styles of music.

Here are my suggestions if you’re creating your own playlist:

1. If you like the song, just add it.
2. If a student gives you a suggestion and it’s school appropriate, add it. You will be surprised at the relationship you can have with a student just because you add a song that they like.
3. Add songs from different genres, eras and topics. Even if the students cannot truly comprehend the message, they are at least getting used to the speed and accents of the artists and their respective countries.
4. If it’s songs you will do as a CLOZE listening, put it in your playlist and let the students listen to it through the school year.
5. Too elementary? You will be surprised. I have students who have listened to a Buenos Dias song from “Atención Atencion” and they will sing it as silly as it sounds. If you teach a song with motion, they will still do the motions as they’re working individually, sometimes without them knowing it!

If you have some suggestions, ideas, or feedback, let me know!

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