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Are you a music lover and Italian learner looking to combine your passions? You have come to the right place. If you suspect foreign music may be a good way to learn a new language, you’re right. Listening to songs is the best way to learn Italian on your own.
Many learners like to combine practicing the language with getting to know the culture through music. Yet it’s not easy to find materials telling you how exactly to practice your language skills using famous classic Italian songs. We are here to fix that! Read on for the best creative exercises to learn Italian through love songs. Our article will reveal:
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If you are an Italian learner, keep reading: this article will serve as a useful guide to practice your language skills and reveal easy to learn Italian songs. If you are an Italian tutor, keep reading too: you’ll find great ideas to create fun lessons for your students!
You may have noticed that most famous Italian songs are about love. This should come as no surprise as Italian is one of the world’s most romantic languages. That’s why it renders itself perfectly to love songs. As a melodic and rhythmic language, Italian sounds enchanting, so love songs in Italian sound particularly heartfelt and honest.
If you are a fan of Italian music, you’re bound to know these iconic love songs! Check the links below to find their original lyrics along with English translations, to listen to them, and to watch their videos. These links will help you do the exercises that we’ve created for you and enlisted below!
To learn Italian through songs, start with ‘O sole mio’. The title translates to ‘My sun’ and it is one of the most famous Neapolitan songs of the last century, written by Giovanni Capurro.
Originally known as ‘Nel blu dipinto di blu’ (‘In the blue–painted blue’), this classic Italian love song hit it big in 1958 at the third Eurovision Song Contest where it was performed by Domenico Modugno. It is now better known as ‘Volare’ (‘To fly’).
‘Parole, Parole’ translates to ‘Words, words’ and it is a duet originally performed by Mina and Alberto Lupo. It is catchy and a great choice of song to help you learn basic Italian.
‘Felicità’ is Italian for ‘happiness’. This classic Italian song was released in 1982 by duo Al Bano and Romina Power and quickly became an international success.
The title of this song translates to ‘It must be so because I love you’ and it was released in 1981 by the Italian disco group “Ricchi e Poveri” (i.e. “Rich and Poor”). When it comes to learning Italian songs, this will not only get you singing but dancing too!
It’s not necessarily true that you have to take an Italian language class to learn Italian. Follow these steps with your favorite classic Italian love songs and you’ll find that improving your Italian with musical exercises can be super fun!
When using songs to learn Italian as a beginner, you will find that they contain many unfamiliar words. Read the song you have chosen, write out the new words and learn them. For example, the word ‘vento’ (‘Tu sei come il vento’) in ‘Parole, parole’ means ‘wind’ (‘You are like the wind’).
If you need tips on how to learn new words fast, check out this article.
Once you have learned new words, go ahead and learn the song by heart. Join in singing whenever you hear it! Practice makes perfect – both in terms of your vocals and remembering new words.
When you’re familiar with your chosen Italian songs to learn Italian, try translating one of them to your mother language in writing. After that, put the original text aside, take your translation and translate it orally back into Italian using the new words learned.
To learn Italian with songs, identify the verbs in them and practice them. One you will definitely come across in most love songs is ‘amare’ (‘to love’)!
Find words that have the same root as this verb. In this case, this includes:
Practice all grammar forms using this verb. The grammar forms that exist in Italian are:
Once you have practiced your verbs, make sentences using them. For example, you could write out all the phrases around the Italian verb ‘amare’ (‘to love’) and learn them by heart. Some example phrases for this would include:
Use these words to make up 10 sentences relating to the song. For instance, for ‘O sole mio’ you could say:
Take your learning to speak Italian with songs a step further by identifying any proverbs in them. Write out 5 proverbs relating to the love theme. This could, for example, include:
Learn the proverbs by heart. Figure out which saying describes the singer’s mood best for each song.
Imagine you were the song hero who wants to be together with their beloved one. Make up 10 sentences describing your dreams and starting with ‘I wish we were…’ using the subjunctive mood.
For example, you could say: “I wish you would hold me close” as they sing in ‘Sarà perché ti amo’ (i.e. stingimi forte – hold me tight). In Italian, this would be “Vorrei che mi stringessi forte”.
Now, try imagining you were the song hero who was left by their beloved one. Make up 10 sentences describing your negative feelings towards this person starting with ‘I wish you were…’ using the subjunctive mood. You could say for example “Vorrei che tu non mi avessi lasciato” (“I wish you hadn’t left me”).
Try retelling the song on behalf of the singer who is in love. Use your own words. How does happiness feel according to the singer in ‘Felicità’, for instance? Start by saying “Il cantante pensa che la felicità sia come…” (“The singer thinks happiness is like…”).
Pretend the song was written for you and retell it on behalf of the singer’s beloved one. If ‘O sole mio’ had been written for you, how would you feel? For example, you could say “I feel very loved listening to this song” (“Mi sento molto amato/a ascoltando questa canzone”).
Put yourself in the shoes of someone who is as in love as the singer. Retell the song as if you were happily in love. What is it like being so in love you feel like you’re flying, like the singer in ‘Volare’ for example?
Repeat the previous exercise but from the opposite angle. Retell the song as if you were unhappily in love. Why does the singer in ‘Sarà perché ti amo’ start the song with ‘Che confusione’? (‘What a confusion/mess’) – could it be because being in love is difficult?
Finally, talk about what it is like to witness love from another perspective. Imagine that you are the neighbor of the girl to whom the singer sings his serenades every evening. How does it feel being woken up by someone singing “Ma io continuo a sognare negli occhi tuoi belli” (“But I keep dreaming about your beautiful eyes”)?
To work on your conditionals, make up 5 sentences to answer the question: what would happen if the heroes married? An example for practicing your condizionale this way could be:
“If the singers from ‘Sarà perché ti amo’ married, they would live happily ever after”.
(“Se i cantanti (…) si sposassero, vivrebbero per sempre felici e contenti”).
Make up 5 sentences to answer the question: what would happen if the heroes parted? An example for practicing your condizionale this way could be:
“If the singer in ‘Parole, parole’ is right about the couple’s love being forbidden, they might break up in the future”.
(“Se il cantante (…) ha ragione sul fatto che l’amore della coppia è proibito, potrebbero rompere in future”).
To work on your imperativo, imagine that you are the singer’s producer. Give them 5 tips on how to perform on stage to impress the audience. You could tell him “Make friendly facial expressions”, for example (“Fai espressioni facciali amichevoli”).
Record yourself singing so you can go back and listen to your skills improve! If you can sing well, you can learn Italian songs by heart, find the backup tracks, record a video of yourself singing, and post it to your social media. Ask natives to leave their opinion about your Italian in the comments section!
Watch the song’s video clip. Explain why these very actors / actions / setting have been chosen to illustrate the song. Does the closeup shot of the two singers in ‘Parole, parole’ help convey their emotions? Discuss.
After watching the song’s video clip, think about how it would look if it was shot during a different time. What if it was shot in the 1990s or in the 2010s? Discuss.
Imagine you are a critic and discuss the video. Which 3 things would you change in it? In ‘Felicità’, would you have the singer drive a boat in the river too, for example? Discuss.
Why not take things a step further by reenacting the video? Cast yourself in the role of the main actor / actress and have some fun!
If you are good at singing and video making, shoot your own video clip and post it to your social media. Ask natives to leave their opinion about your Italian in the comments section!
Listen to the song together with a native and discuss the song’s cultural background with them. Do they think the song is a cliché, for example? Go on Eurekly to easily find native speakers looking for foreign conversation buddies!
Language learning doesn’t have to be boring. If you like music, use it to your advantage when learning Italian and kill two birds with one stone. Italian is a particularly good language to use for learning through music since some of the most epic love songs are sung in it.
Use our fun exercises to practice your skills while listening to your favorite music! And if you want to master Italian even faster, try out some Italian language classes on Eurekly: its expert tutors will ensure you reach your language learning goals before you can say ‘Amore’!
To finish off, we will answer people’s most common questions about how to learn Italian with music:
Choose your favorite Italian songs and play them on repeat while doing different activities in order to speed up your language acquisition.
It is not hard to learn Italian through songs, even if you are a beginner. The language used in Italian love songs is mostly simple and easy to understand.
Learning Italian with popular music is one of the most fun ways to learn a language because it takes the pressure out of learning.
Italian songs will expose you to verbs and new grammatical structures and, therefore, will speed up your learning. If you take some lessons as well as listen to songs, you could be speaking fluent Italian in a year or two.
Italian is not hard to learn for English speakers. In fact, the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) claims it is one of the easiest languages for English speakers to learn.
Italian is very easy to learn for Spanish speakers. Since both are Romance languages, they are very close in terms of their vocabulary and grammar.
While the grammar of French and Italian is similar, Italian is a little more regular and so it is easier to learn.