I love music. I swear, it’s partially how I increased my Spanish skills: singing along to Selena in the bathroom mirror and asking my friends to help me translate what she was saying. Back in the day, the lyrics used to come with the cassette tapes so I used to match up the sounds with the words/letters. All of this is to say, now I’m an advanced speaker of Spanish, and I owe a lot of it to music.
But where are the “Selenas” of the 2020s? They have been replaced by much wilder content, which hey, no judgment zone, but it is hard as a Spanish teacher to share a love of contemporary music when the lyrics are definitely not PG-13. 👀
So I came up with some workarounds. I use YouTube and Apple Music playlists a lot in my class. Occasionally I use Spotify–usually around the holidays (I like some of their holiday playlists!). And if you’re looking for ways to incorporate music in your classroom, check out my article on that very topic!
I. Play Clean Versions of Your Favorite Songs (*caution*)
I feel like I should say this: always double-check whatever you play in class to make sure that it is appropriate. Go to https://genius.com/ and double-check the slang that is being used, if need be.
Finding clean versions of songs sounds like a safe bet. They would hear it on the radio anyway (if they listened to Spanish language stations). But here’s the problem: let’s say, for example, that you love Bad Bunny (and by “you,” I mean “I”). Perhaps you can find a clean version of one of his songs. The only issue with this is if the kids look the song up…
I once played a clean version of Bad Bunny in class. The kids loved it! They were singing along to the repetitive song before it was even over. But then the next day, they came in knowing ALL the missing lyrics. OOOPS. Evidently, they liked it so much, they went home and looked it up…🤦♀️
So use this option with caution.
II. Play Instrumentals (*safer option*)
This is a nice middle ground. You get to share some cool contemporary culture under the guise of background music. Use these songs for cultural knowledge but pull out an older Selena song (for example) for oral practice! Some of these contemporary beats are *fire* 🔥. Check out my Bad Bunny playlist:
*CAUTION* Before you play anything for your class, please listen to it in its entirety and make sure that it fits in with your school culture & student population. Even if it is an instrumental track.
I’m thinking about publishing my favorite playlists for class. Would you like that? Let me know in the comments section!
Con mucho amor,