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Cultural immersion 101: French music for kids

Updated: Apr 20, 2021

We all know that learning a new language can be tough. Sometimes it can even feel discouraging. But at FranceABC we believe it should be fun, interactive, and, most of all, memorable. That’s why we believe wholeheartedly in introducing French music for kids to our students. But, as with French books and TV shows, it can be hard to know where to start. Here are some benefits of French music for kids and some musicians to help you introduce your children into the world of francophone musical culture.

Benefits of French Music for Kids

You may be asking yourself, “What’s the point of introducing my kids to French music?” After all, you’re looking for a language lesson, not a music class! But actually, language and music go hand in hand.

Music has always been a crucial aspect of human civilization and community. It’s one of the first things we learn to enjoy, and the last thing we forget in our old age. Being so deeply ingrained in our culture, it makes sense that music would play a critical role in learning communication and in memory.

Think about it. What’s easier to learn: a monologue, or the lyrics to your favourite song? The song, of course. And this stays true even for learning in another language. The rhythm makes learning the lyrics to a song easier than that of a long speech. As a result, learning lyrics also helps with comprehension and with expanding your vocabulary.

Furthermore, learning the lyrics will help with pronunciation. Teaching your mouth to readjust to French pronunciations and words can be tough, but it just takes a bit of practice. Kids can work on their pronunciation by mimicking the musician as they sing along.

Finally, music can improve your children’s mental health during lockdown. While the vaccine offers some hope that things are looking up, Zoom fatigue, prolonged isolation, and concern for our loved ones has taken a toll on us all. Music can help to buoy the spirits and remind us of our community.

Bedtime Song for French Dreams

Did you know that studying in the evening will help you retain information? This is because sleep is crucial in cementing new information in your memory. Perhaps that’s why kids remember their favourite bedtime stories so well. The same can be said of lullabies.

“Au clair de la lune” is perfect for our younger primary school students. This classic lullaby can help your children both expand their vocabulary and their familiarity with first and third person pronouns. Originating in the 18th century, the song has stood the test of time. It’s well-known in France, and is even one of the first songs kids learn on musical instruments – kind of like our “Hot crossed buns.” Needless to say, this is an easy one to learn and a handy song to have in your own repertoire for bedtime.

You can find a video with lyrics here.

French Spotify Playlists

Spotify is a beautiful thing. You have millions of songs at your fingertips, in any language. All you need to do is type in a genre, mood, artist, or song and a range of playlists fitting your search will appear. For instance, this French Children’s Music playlist provides traditional French songs from Canada’s beloved Raffi and the French Funny Childs. The latter are another excellent band to check out and make learning French fun.

This playlist alone has 28 songs to choose from, teaching through lyrical memory everything from new words to tenses and pronouns. If your child is already familiar with Raffi’s English songs, this will make the introduction to French music for kids a bit simpler. If your child seems hesitant at first, create a Spotify playlist with both English and French songs to slowly bring francophone rhythms into their musical diet.

Something for the Teens

Of course, it’s not just primary students who we teach at FranceABC. Some of these other songs may be a bit young for our older students, so here are a couple of other suggestions. Julien Doré is a mixture of folk, rock, and experimental. He has some chilled out tunes that provide a perfect backdrop for your high school student while they study away or help them calm down before bed.

Kassav’ is a fun, upbeat combination of French and Caribbean that your teens won’t be able to help but love. Their songs are impossible to stay still or low to, making this band a perfect one for helping your teens improve their French and their mental health. While the songs are in French, the band finds influence in Haitian, Dominican, and Guadeloupean musical cultures to further expand your teen’s entrance into a global community.

A modern classic, Noir Désir had their hits in the 80s, 90s, and 2000s, with two double platinum albums. If you’re looking for popular French rock, this is one of the first bands to check out. Listen to one of their hits here, before digging deeper into their discography on Spotify. They have a following, so you won’t have a tough time finding their music.

And as a quick recommendation for the adults and older teenagers of the house, the original “La vie en rose” by Edith Piaf is well worth a listen. Most anglophones will be familiar with the English version of this song, but Piaf’s will produce a new appreciation for this French classic.

We’ve barely skimmed the surface. French music for kids and adults is just as diverse, just as experimental, as anything found in English. The beautiful thing about exploring music is that once you start, doors keep opening. Look up any of these musicians on Spotify or YouTube and you’ll quickly find a range of similar musicians popping up in your recommendations.

Talk to your FranceABC tutor about how you can incorporate French music for kids into your child’s education.

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