One of the fastest ways to improve your Spanish vocabulary and better understand Spanish culture is to listen to music! Depending on what accent you want to acquire (ex: Mexican vs. Colombian), you can listen to music from that specific country. I personally love listening to music from Central America and South America because there is already so much diversity in the way people sing!
If you want to say “listen to music,” use the verb “oír” instead of “escuchar.” Both verbs mean to listen, but the biggest difference between the two is that “escuchar” is used for purposely listening to someone and “oir” is used for involuntary listening.
Ex: I listen to the teacher. “Escucho a la maestra.”
The above sentence is uses escuchar because the student has to pay attention to the teacher.
Ex2: I listen to music. “Oigo musica.”
If you want to hear music, you have the option of listening to it involuntarily.
Strategies for listening to Spanish music:
1) Listen to Spanish radio. Since I am from southern California, I listen to KLOVE 107.5 which has many Spanish ballads, pop, rock, and Top 40 songs.
2) I use my Shazam app to record Spanish songs from the radio, so I can remember to look up the song on YouTube later.
3) Look up the song on YouTube, and find a lyrics video. This way, you can see the Spanish words of the song while you’re singing it. This helps improve your Spanish pronunciation and listening skills.
4) Find a Spanish lyrics translation site that lets you see the lyrics of the song in English and Spanish. These sites are useful in helping you acquire new Spanish vocabulary!
5) Repeat steps 1-4! 🙂
Remember, Spanish music tends to be about love and relationships. Literally all the time. Also most of the songs are slower in pace than American songs. There are newer artists like Romeo Santos and Prince Royce, but my personal favorites are the older Spanish ballads. If you are looking for some Spanish artists recommendations, I suggest the following bands (each name is a link to their Wikipedia article).
Sin Bandera (Argentina) – Pop duo consisting of Leonel Garcia and Noel Schaijris. Both singers can play the guitar and piano, so their songs have great instrumentals.
Chayanne (Puerto Rico) – Latin pop solo artist. Also has acted and composed music.
Luis Miguel (Puerto Rico/Mexico) – Puerto Rican born Mexican singer and has performed in a wide range of musical styles, including pop, ballads, boleros, and mariachi
Juanes (Colombia) – Colombian musician known for his pop and rock songs. Amazing guitarist and also very attractive 🙂
Maná (Mexico) – Perhaps the biggest and most successful Latin rock band in the world
Alejandro Sanz (Spain) – Spanish singer that can also play the guitar and piano. Incredible and powerful vocalist!
Alexandre Pires (Brazil) – Brazilian by birth, but sings in both Portuguese and Spanish. His Spanish song “Usted se me llevo la vida (You took my life)” is one of my all-time favorite Spanish songs
Laura Pausini (Italy) – Singer, songwriter, and producer that sings in Italian, Spanish, and English! I first learned about her when I heard her Italian song “La solitudine (Loneliness). Then I found out she sang in Spanish too! Extremely talented singer!