Have you ever thought about learning Japanese through music, but does it really work? What is the correct way to use music to learn Japanese? This time we wrote a guide that will help you to study Japanese music in the right way.
Can music help you STUDY Japanese?
Listening to music in Japanese is a common practice among Japanese students or those who appreciate Japanese culture. Japanese music rejoices the heart and brings satisfaction due to its varied poetic and instrumental lyrics.
Japanese music is rich in rhythms and ideas, in a way so different from Brazilian music. They can start from one rhythm and end with a totally different one. The lyrics are rich and do not usually repeat in every verse.
Most babies learn English through children's songs that teach words, colors, animals and everyday situations. These songs help thousands of children learn English, it can help you learn Japanese.
Who never sang that song from AIUEO when studying hiragana? That simple song that most Japanese students came across helped a lot to write and pronounce hiragana correctly.
Of course, listening to children’s songs in Japanese is not practical or fun. Any song can have a positive effect on your life and still improve your knowledge. Music is something that is part of our life, so it is a must for Japanese students.
In addition to the language, the songs can teach about Japanese culture. Many songs offer an insight into the Japanese language and Japanese customs and their way of thinking. Listening to music can be like talking to friends who speak Japanese.
There is scientific evidence to show that music can help Japanese students acquire skills. The songs also have a colloquial and everyday language, full of expressions in common use that will help your Japanese to be more natural.
The MAIN mistake when studying Japanese with songs
I always liked translating songs from Japanese to English. With this method I learned several words and expressions, over time I was able to see the meaning of Japanese songs, but this is not the best way.
My friend Tarou Yamada made a video talking about exactly this mistake made by Japanese students. Simply translating songs from Japanese to English will not help your learning at all.
You can even learn some words, correct pronunciation and phrases when translating the songs, but if you don’t study Japanese, nothing will do. Thousands listen to songs in English every day, but they don’t know how to pronounce even a word.
To translate a song from Japanese to English correctly, you need to think in Japanese. This is a very difficult task for beginners. There are many words with similar pronunciations, false cognates and many things to hinder you.
Not all translations from Japanese to English will make sense, they are just adaptations. Not to mention that a Japanese word can have different meanings depending on the situation.
Spoken and written Japanese is totally different from Japanese music. By studying Japanese with music, you can learn Japanese the wrong way, in a way that will only delay your learning.
When translating songs from Japanese to English, you will realize how difficult it is to create sentences that make sense in English. It is impossible for you to know if your translation makes sense into Japanese or if it conveys the same idea as the composer of the song.
Note that when watching Japanese and English anime and dramas, translations are often totally different. Jokes, reasoning, sarcasm, references, puns and other things totally change from one language to another.
Yamada Tarou’s video will make this very clear:
The correct way to learn Japanese with music
Even if you don't like most Brazilian music like I do, the best way to learn Japanese with songs is to do it the other way around, translating songs from English into Japanese.
By translating songs from English to Japanese, you make your brain start thinking in Japanese. You will need to think of the best Japanese translation or version of the song. You have to search for words and grammatical expressions.
It is by translating songs from English into Japanese that you will get the best results when studying Japanese. All because you already know what the singer or composer of Brazilian music is trying to say.
When translating a song into Japanese, you will need to research words and synonyms and try to find the best option for your Japanese lyrics. You’ll still have to think of words that make sense and match the rhythm of the music.
You will also strengthen your communication skills and can make this option a fun way to study Japanese. Writing, vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation are just some benefits of translating songs from English to Japanese.
Translating songs from Japanese to English
If you still prefer to study with Japanese music, don’t despair. As much as it is a waste of time and a slow way to learn, we can facilitate your learning with tips that will speed up this immersion in the Japanese language.
Avoid songs with difficult or old language. Choose songs with a common language, with a good pronunciation and a rhythm that is easy to follow. No songs mixed with changes in voice tones or that are too fast.
Look for lyrics and translation on specialized websites to avoid mistakes. Try to listen to the music until you get tired and always try to sing along with the music until you memorize it. By doing this you will train your pronunciation and still become a good singer (LIE). We recommend reading our article that talks about how find lyrics in Japanese.
Some think that resorting to English translations will help you understand what the phrase of the song is intended to say. In fact, I was even more lost when I found translations of the Japanese lyrics into English.
When you have a question about a word, try looking for its meaning in the famous jisho which presents different situations and uses the same word. Try to reflect on the meaning of the words, read the lyrics several times along with the music.
You can add phrases from the song in a spaced memorization program like Anki to help not forget the expressions. Studying sentences is a more practical way to increase vocabulary and learn Japanese grammar.
You should also look for music related to things you have studied or want to learn. Be very careful when studying Japanese music so that your learning is not wasted time. This is not the best way!
I hope you enjoyed the tips in this article on learning Japanese with music. If you liked the article, share and leave your comments. Our website is full of articles with music translations and explanations of each word.