40+ Authentic Songs to Learn Spanish, for Beginner Classes
authentic spanish songs for class

Publication: 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. 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!

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!

Image credits:

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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Hey! I’m Elisabeth, a teacher and mom raising two bilingual kids in the Peruvian jungle. Read our story here. I love digging up the best Spanish resources for all you busy parents and teachers!

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50 Comments

  1. thank you so much! I am last minute subsituting in three Spanish I classes and this has been so helpful to me as a quick resource. You are brillant!

    Reply
  2. I love how you’ve organized all these songs together. Thank you! I already use several of them, but there are a couple that I will be using. You are so kind and encouraging.

    Reply
  3. Volví a Nacer is by Carlos Vives not Diego Torres.

    Reply
  4. Thanks for helping us non-native speakers teach our kids! My eldest went to a dual language immersion school where she learned music and language from an awesome teacher. Check out her songs here: http://sara-quintanar.squarespace.com/

    Reply
  5. Mariposita

    Reply
  6. I love this post! So well thought out! I love using music in my classroom, but I do it to supplement the textbook. I would love to try teaching without a textbook….some day! Some of my faves include De Colores, anything by Juanes-Es Por Ti (to talk about por vs para), Carlos Vives is amazing–I want to get married a thousand times whenever I hear “Volví a nacer”, Shakira is fun! So many favorites. I love your list!

    Reply
  7. Wow! What a great resource for teachers! This is the kind of stuff that makes me miss teaching – I LOVED incorporating music and it was always something that stuck with my students. I am currently taking a break from teaching to raise my kiddos but I will definitely be sharing this great resource with old colleagues that I know could use this. ¡Gracias!

    Reply
  8. Noe used to sing/play this wonderful song with the kids “juguemos en el bosque” and the “lobo” would run after the kids 🙂 I sang it with my preschoolers too 🙂

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  9. Love “Soy Yo”, especially the video. I crack up every time I see it!

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  10. Awesome list. Julieta venegas is one of my favorite artists. This is simply a fun way to learn Spanish

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  11. I like Los pollitos dicen because I learned it working at an orphanage in Boliva.

    Reply
  12. This is a great list. Thank you for sharing!

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  13. I like Camisa negra by Juanes for clothing and colors!

    Reply
  14. Oh my goodness…you have outdone yourself with this post! I’m pretty sure I’ll be “tossing my textbook” this year with my homeschooled Spanish students, so this list will come in handy!

    Reply
  15. I love la camisa negra and so do my students! I love this list!

    Reply
  16. Me parece genial, yo también utilizo muchos recursos multimedia. Me dio
    mucho gusto encontrar propuestas musicales nuevas. Saludos.

    Reply
  17. I love the song, “La Bicicleta” by Shakira and Carlos Vives. If you use, Shakira: El triangulo de amor, by Martina Bex, you can connect this song with that unit. Pique (Shakira’s boyfriend), Barranquilla (Shakira’s home town), Tayrona (a national park in Colombia), and Barcelona (Gerard’s home town) are all mentioned in this song. She also talks about “bola e’ trapo” which is a soccer game she grew up playing in the streets in Barranquilla.

    Reply
  18. Great collection of songs. We really like 123 Andres in our household.

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  19. So great! Some of my favorite songs to use with my students are:
    La Vida Es Un Carnaval, por Celia Cruz, which I can use to teach “es” and “hay que”
    and
    Mi Primer Millon, por Bacilos, to teach quiero.

    Reply
  20. This is a very extensive, well prepared list of great songs to use in lessons. Gracias por todo el trabajo que tomó prpepararlo.

    Reply
  21. When my kiddos want to watch TV, I bring them to your site and let them pick a music “show” to watch 😉

    Reply
  22. Depending on their age, I love Jorge Anaya’s Whistlefritz Cha, Cha, Cha, Spanish Learning songs. It’s fun music, easy to understand, and very catchy!

    Reply
  23. I remember Manu Chao’s Me Gustas Tu from my Spanish class. Since this is the edited version, I will strongly consider using this for my Spanish class as its more appropriate than the original.

    I also like Julieta Venegas “Me Voy.” When I spent a semester abroad in Spain, that was one of the most popular songs on the radio. When I got back to the States, I looked up her other albums as well. Her songs are great because (to me) they are easier to comprehend due to the slower melodies.

    Reply
  24. Wow! There are so many songs and targeted words that I almost feel overloaded, but in a good way. Thank you for these ideas!

    Reply
  25. OMG! I have seen this post and it has never sunk in how GOOD it is! I do love Sofia by Alvaro Soler – and so do the kiddos!

    Reply
  26. Thank you! This is such a comprehensive list! I use a few of these in class (Manu Chau and the Realidades-based songs) but not a lot of authentic songs. I recently stumbled onto Robarte un beso, but now I don’t have to rely on luck to find organized, appropriate songs.

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  27. Los pollitos dicen is my (and my kids’) favorite!

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  28. Soy yo is my favorite!

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  29. We also love los pollitos dicen, anothe favorite is Había un sapo

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  30. Woo hoo! There are some great songs on here and several are new to me so I will have to check them out! Thanks for the links and the categories!! 🙂

    Reply
  31. My kids love music! They’re 4.5 and 2.5 and i’ve recently caught them turning on the stereo themselves to jam to “De Colores” or dance to “El Patio De Mi Casa”! Thank you for these suggestions! I’ve added them to my ongoing Youtube “Canciones for Ninos” list that I play almost weekly for my kids! We have done Spanish group music classes which are sometimes hard to find and expensive! We are so lucky nowadays we have more access to all these songs and aren’t just limited to what’s at our local library like when I was growing up!

    Reply
  32. I have used so many of the songs on this list! Because I teach a younger crowd, some of them are not quite appropriate, but this is my go-to list when I’m looking for a song to accompany a lesson!

    Reply
  33. I’m starting to think I got cheated in my school Spanish courses because of the lack of music. Lol! There was this one song that has partial stuck with me, my first in Spanish, that I had sung with a Mariachi band. I hate that I can’t remember it but I occasionally hum the beat. But I enjoyed both Madre Tierra and Tabco y chanel.

    Reply
  34. Me gusta Soy Yo, La gozadera, Vive la vida, Sofia

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  35. My students ask for Los Pollitos almost daily.

    Reply
  36. My daughter loves Mi Destino Soy Yo. Not a preschooler song at all but she always wants to hear it!

    Reply
  37. Amazing list! Muchisimas gracias!! Eramos tan jovenes is another for el imperfecto?

    Reply
  38. The Happy Birthday song is a favorite with my kids because they like to sing it for family birthdays!

    Reply
  39. Children’s songs that my kids know in English or Amor Como Fuego would be favorites in our house. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Reply
  40. I’ll surely be coming back to this post again and again! Thank you so much!

    Reply
  41. I had to teach <> first because I’m always singing it myself!

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  42. Great ideas

    Reply
  43. Wow…WOW! This is such a helpful post…thank you so much!! I recently bought some song lessons/bundles from Martina Bex, Kristy Placido, and a couple others because I want my students to start loving and listening to authentic music outside of the classroom, too. A couple of them have brought in songs for me to listen to that they found online, which makes me so excited. 🙂 I think my favorite song is La bicicleta. My students love Prince Royce, too. However, their #1 favorite, year after year, is Selena! I can’t wait to check out the videos you posted here. Thank you, again!!

    Reply
  44. My students ask for “Soy Yo” all the time. I really like “Con quién se quede el perro” by Jesse y Joy. Recently I used “Es Tarde” by Juanes and my students enjoyed it.

    Reply
  45. Love these! I use so many of them in my classes. I was skeptical about using “Los pollitos dicen” in a high school class, but they ended up loving it! “Vivir mi vida” has been a long-time favorite of mine!

    Reply
  46. Oh I loved chocquib town!

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  47. How amazing to include the links with the list. Fabulous work that saves so much time. Thanks!

    Reply
  48. This is a great resource for a Spanish teacher. My kids LOVE to sing and I was just running out of simple fun songs for them to sing. Thanks so much!

    Reply
  49. I love the song, Sofia. It has such a catchy tune and is easy to follow. Love the way you sorted out good spanish songs. I’ve been looking all over the internet for good songs. Thanks so much!

    Reply
  50. This is a treasure! I once started a playlist of my own, but yours is mucho mas marvillosa.
    i <3 Bomba Estereo.

    Reply

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