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. As a newbie, I’d also wished for a good list of authentic songs 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
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!
- Spanish Songs with Object Pronouns
- Authentic Songs for Spanish 2
- Authentic Songs for Advanced Spanish Classes
- Songs in Spanish Library Page
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 (heads up that there is a line that mentions a “table dance,” in a negative light)
Los pollitos dicen (traditional children’s song): dicen, tienen hambre, les da, duermen, se despiertan (Los pollitos dicen Free Activity Sheet)
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.
Vivir Mi Vida (Marc Antony): voy a + infinitives (Vivir Mi Vida Free Activity Sheet .)
Me Gustas Tú (Manu Chao): time, me gustas tú, me gusta + noun/adjectives, ¿qué voy a hacer? (The original version isn’t appropriate, so this version is edited.)
Me gustas (Profetas): if you can explain that the “seducirme” line is talking about a smile, this one is great.
Puebla (Alvaro): así, nice for plurals: bailan, les gusta, se pierdan, dicen, plus infinitives and object pronouns)
Mambo (Realidades- not strictly authentic, I think): ¿qué te gusta hacer?, te gusta, me gusta, infinitives, también, tampoco
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
Hoy Es Domingo (Diego Torres): hoy, es domingo, mañana, día, para, pastimes
Te Quiero Ver (Natalia Lafourcade): domingo, mañana, tarde, anochecer, te quiero ver, tú no puedes, lots of tú/yo verbs right next each other, horas, segundos.
Mamá (Siggno): familia, mamá, siempre, te amo, scenes of life in Mexico- refers to poemita Sana, sana, colita de rana
Paraíso (Dvicio): 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, and patriarchal values.
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.
8 Vasos al Día (Casi Creativo): antes de comer, al día, vasos
Chocolate (Jesse and Joy): sabe a chocolate, bombón, nuestro
Las Mañanitas (Alejandro Fernández): birthdays, despierta, levántate, venimos
Las Mañanitas (Alejandro Fernández): birthdays, despierta, levántate, venimos
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, repetitions of tengo.
El Perdón (Enrique Iglesias y Nicky Jam): las calles, present progressive. Beware the “como un loco tomando” line. I once heard a teach describe using the story as someone looking for a lost dog or pet!
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 and skip the intro.
La bicicleta (Shakira y Carlos Vives): te quiero, voy a hacer, no quiero ser, por ti, puedo ser, le gusta, llévame, óyeme. The song talks about coming home and names different places in Colombia.
UNIT VI: 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): Object pronouns, love in all stages of life
Cuando te veo (ChocQuibTown)
Cielito lindo (Mariachi band): classic folk song and love song
Yo Contigo, Tú Contigo (Morat & Alvaro Soler): siento, contigo, conmigo – less romantic theme, which is nice.
Aprender a Quererte (Morat): Another song with semi-romantic lyrics, but could apply to other relationships. Lots of object pronouns.
UNIT VII: 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.
Madre tierra (Chayanne): abre tus ojo, mira arriba, environmental theme
I’d love to hear your favorite songs to learn Spanish! Let me know if I missed any gems!
By Jimmy Baikovicius from Montevideo, Uruguay [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Lunchbox LP (Flickr: Gaby Moreno en Acceso Total) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
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