30 September 2008

How do I find the music?

So, if you're looking for good, popular, current music, where do you find it without spending a whole bunch of money on random CD's and hoping to find a jewel? If your area is anything like mine, the only Spanish-language radio in the area is Tejano/Norteño music, and my students barely tolerate music with even hints of that.

I find most of my music by streaming radio from Yahoo! radio's Pop Latino station. I created my own station for free, started rating artists and songs, and Yahoo played more songs based on how I rated certain ones. I don't know how long you sit at your desk / computer grading papers or entering grades, but for me it's a long time, especially since I don't have internet at my house, and I almost always have my radio station streaming. When I hear a song that's especially good and has linguistic features I want to emphasize, I go to Amazon and download it for 99 cents. (Side note: making it clear that you do this is a great way to try to instill into your students the integrity of downloading their music legally, something almost none of mine do.)

Then I search the lyrics on the internet, copy and paste them into a Word document, make the font at least 22pt, listen/watch to make sure there are no errors, fix the accents, etc. and print/copy it to a transparency so my students can see the lyrics while the song plays. (They'll tell you my mantra is "You can watch and listen or you can watch and sing, but you can't not watch!) I believe doing this trains their brains to hear where words start and end, a key to listening comprehension, and as an added benefit my students almost never ask me how to spell anything anymore, nor do they have many spelling mistakes.

So go get yourself a free Latin pop station and let the magic begin!

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