40+ Authentic Songs to Learn Spanish, for Beginner Classes

by | Aug 3, 2016

Inside: Authentic & appropriate songs to learn Spanish, for beginner classes.


As a new teacher, I so badly wanted my students to feel the magic of Spanish. I loved my Latin music, and thought they’d love some songs to learn Spanish, too. The problem was that I didn’t know HOW to bridge authentic resources to my Spanish newbies.

After lots of research, I wrote a post on what I wish I’d known about teaching with authentic music as a new teacher. Martina Bex, Kristy Placido, and Mis Clases Locas have helped tremendously with how to use songs. I also wished I’d had a good list of authentic songs for Spanish class to work with. So I made one! The following songs are a jackpot of culture, fun, and authentic language.

(You can also check into my Authentic Songs for Spanish 1 Activity Pack if you would like printable lyrics and editable activities for 24 of the songs here.)


Authentic Songs to Learn Spanish, for Beginners


After throwing out my textbook, I started seriously looking for good content. For some songs, only the chorus will comprehensible, and that’s all I focus on.  Some have to do more with culture than language. I have arranged these by my tentative Spanish I units, and tried to do a mix of currently popular and enduring classics. If I missed anything essential, let me know in the comments! (And don’t miss Authentic Songs for Spanish 2 and Authentic Songs for Advanced Spanish Classes!!) I have tried to find appropriate songs for high school, or at least indicate if there’s anything you should be aware of. Sometimes I miss things, and standards for appropriate vary between schools. Let me know if you think anything should be noted or changed!


Unit I: Nuestra clase & nuevos amigos 


Who is here? Why learn Spanish? How do I get what I need in class, in the TL? Language: Start super siete verbs (tener, ser, hay), decir, greetings, classroom objects, some numbers and colors. Input/activities: Martina Bex Units, storytelling.

Tengo tu love (sie7e): tengo, soy, tiene, un, una, adjective agreement  

Los pollitos dicen (traditional children’s): dicen, tienen hambre, les da, duermen, se despiertan (Authentic Songs for Spanish 1 Activity Pack)  

Corre (Jesse y Joy): the structures are fairly complicated, so this technically belongs later in the year. But I teach Martina Bex’s “Corre” unit early on and put it here just in case!

Sofia (Alvaro Soler) –  classroom phrases (mira, sé, ¿por qué?) and fun phrases to use throughout the year (no te creo, ya no, dime).



Unit II: Mi mundo immediato y ¿quién soy?


Who am I? What do I like and like to to do?

Language: Continue súper siete (gustar, estar, querer, ir), add hobbies, sports, and adjectives.

Input/activities: “La persona especial” interviews from Bryce Hedstrom and more Somos units from Martina Bex, storytelling.  

Soy yo (Bomba Estéreo) – soy yo, así, no te preocupes  

Internacionales (Bomba Estéreo): soy, somos, nationalities, baila, vamos a bailar,  

Corazón sin cara (Prince Royce): vive, eres, adjectives, no me importa, vive, no tiene, nunca. (We start filling in our adjectives booklets with this song.)



Voy a vivir (Marc Antony): voy a + infinitives (Authentic Songs for Spanish 1 Activity Pack.)  

Me voy (Julieta Venegas): me voy, no quiero, voy a, decir  (some preterit- the chorus is most useful)  

Hoy es domingo (Diego Torres): hoy, es domingo, mañana, día, para, pastimes  

Me gustas tú (Manu Chao): time, me gustas tú, me gusta + noun/adjectives, ¿qué voy a hacer?  

Mambo (Realidades- not strictly authentic, I think): ¿qué te gusta hacer?, te gusta, me gusta, infinitives, también, tampoco  

Me gustas tú (Luis Fonsi): me gustas, me gusta, hago, me haces, tu, tú,




Unit III: Mi hogar (la familia) y mi escuela


Who is my family? What is a day/year at school like? 

Language: family members, school vocabulary, weather, days, months, time. Sweet sixteen verbs.

Input: More Martina Bex units, fables. Day of the Dead mini-unit (honoring the family).  

De colores (traditional- Joan Baez): primavera, me gustan a mí  

Mamá (Siggno): familia, mamá, siempre, te amo, scenes of life in Mexico- refers to poemita Sana, sana, colita de rana  

Hermanos (Casi Creativo): hermano, perdonar, enseñarme a compartir (WTF, abbreviated, appears at 1:17)  

A Papá (Casi Creativo– cerveza at minute :52 but otherwise a great song): papá, gracias por…, eres, te lo digo  

Te quiero ver  (Natalia Lafourcade): domingo, mañana, tarde, anochecer, te quiero ver, tú no puedes, lots of tú/yo verbs right next  each otherm horas, segundos  

Mi paraíso es (Divicio):  mamá, papá, amigo, niña, mujer, hija– not my favorite style but kids who like boy bands will love it. Would make a good MovieTalk for talking about the family and home as well.  

¿Con quién se queda el perro? (Jesse y Joy): tú te vas, yo me voy, se queda, antes, no hay más remedio  

Vienes y te vas (William Luna): vienes, te vas, no soy feliz–poetic license there–, me olvides. It’s an older video, but I’m partial to Peru and love his music.  

La bicicleta (Shakira y Carlos Vives):  te quiero, voy a hacer, no quiero ser, por ti, puedo ser, le gusta, llévame, óyeme




Unit IV: La comida y las celebraciones


How do we share food and meals?  

What do food and celebrations tell us about Hispanic culture and life?

Language: food, ordering at a restaurant, holidays, reinforce super seven, sweet sixteen, and other high-frequency verbs. Input/activities: Canela, La quinceañera, Martina Bex.

Come vegetables (Casi creativo): somos, vitaminas, plato, deben ser, miel, vegetables, zanahoria, espinaca, tomate, brócoli, fruta, sabores.  

Come frutas (Casi Creativos – “carajo” at 0:18): la nevera, mañana, por la tarde, por la noche  

8 vasos al día (Casi Creativo), antes de comer, al día, vasos,  

Las mañanitas (Alejandro Fernández): birthdays, despierta, levántate, venimos  

Tiempo de vals (Chayanne): la quinceañera


Mi niña bonita (Chino y Nacho): often sung at quinceañeras for father/daughter dance, aquí hay, tanto, para, sin, me siento,  

Chocolate (Jesse and Joy): sabe a chocolate, bombón, nuestro,




Unit V: Mi ciudad y la geografía


What is my hometown like? What are similarities and differences between my city and cities in Spanish-speaking countries?

Language: places, geography, Spanish-speaking countries, present progressive Input/activities: Martina Bex geography units, storytelling, maybe Agentes Secretos

Fronteras (Gaby Moreno): Full of comprehensible language, present tense, and yo verbs, immigration, Guatemala. This is PERFECT for the novel Esperanza, though I use that unit in Spanish 2.  

La gozadera (Marc Antony and Gente de Zona): Hispanic countries, somos tu y yo, might be a good exposure to the preterit.  

Latinoamérica (Calle 13): Many repetitions of “tú no puedes comprar… al sol, al viento, el calor, etc”, with images of Latin America in the background, repitions of tengo.  

El perdón (cover by Siggno- skip the intro): las calles, present progressive. Such a great version to play alongside the original! Beware the “como un loco tomando” line.  

El perdón (Enrique Iglesias y Nicky Jam): las calles, present progressive. Beware the “como un loco tomando” line.



Unit IV: El amor y  los piratas


Is love or money more important? What makes a good/honorable partner?

Language: high-frequency verbs, direct and indirect objects, clothing Input/activities: Piratas del Caribe y el mapa secreto

Robarte un beso (Carlos Vives & Sebastian Yatra)  

La camisa negra (Juanes): ya no me quieres, la camisa, me duele. Contains the word “maldita.” I don’t really love this song, but lots of teachers like to include it.  

Darte un beso (Prince Royce): direct/indirect objects, darte, para, no sé que hacer  

Te mando flores (Fonseca): object pronouns, abrazar, besos, brazos  

Cuando te veo (ChocQuibTown): cuando te veo, son,me hace feliz, me llena, __ como__, puedo  

Cielito lindo (Mariachi band): classic folk song and love song  

Caraluna (Bacilos): yo sé, tal vez, nunca, mientras, cada, progressives, object pronouns  

Volvi a nacer (Carlos Vives): puedo, quiero casarme contigo, que voy a hacer, quedarme, dejar  

El amor (Tito “El Bambino): progressive, tienes que



Unit VI: Viajar y el medio ambiente


Language: travel, the environment, reflexives Input/activities: Robo en la noche by Kristy Placido, study of Costa Rica

La tierra del olvido (Carlos Vives): te quiero, mas que, tienes, río, mar, lluvia, la luna  

Pura vida (Don Omar): mainly because it  says pura vida over and over again  

Madre tierra (Chayanne): abre tus ojo, mira arriba, environmental theme  

Tabaco y chanel (Bacilos): reflexives (no se va, no se olvida), hay que, object pronouns, las estrellas. This is probably my favorite song of all time… so I had to squeeze it in somewhere!  

If you would like to search by country: http://musicaenespanol.weebly.com/

A giant database of music, with grammar, vocabulary, and themes listed: http://elmundodebirch.wikispaces.com/Spanish+Music+Database

Bryce Hedstrom’s list: http://www.brycehedstrom.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/SONGS_ALL_SPANISH_STUDENTS_NEED_TO_KNOW.pdf

I’d love to hear your favorite songs to learn Spanish! Let me know if I missed any gems!

Authentic Songs for Spanish Class 1

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