Episode 45: The power of music for language learning with Susanna Zaraysky

Episode 45

On this episode interview Susanna Zarayski! Susanna has studied eleven languages, and speaks eight of them. She is the author of the books, Language is Music also available in Spanish, Portuguese Russian and English. Her goal is to empower people to use music and media to learn foreign languages.

Episode #45 Quick Guide

 On this episode, Susanna discusses with us:

  • How she began learning languages at a young age including Russian and English;
  • That while learning her third language, French, others around her began to notice how easily she was able to learn the language without an American accent;
  • How she began reflecting on the reasons why she was able to learn languages with native-like pronunciations;
  • How the book Musicophilia helped her understand the effect of music on the brain;
  • The understanding that music affects and activates more part of the brain than language does;
  • Susanna’s realization that how she listened to languages is how she listens to songs;
  • Her book Language is Music which is available in Spanish, Portuguese, Russian and English;
  • The idea that children need to listen to the language spoken and/or sung for a while before they can speak the language;
  • Her advice to find music that children will find appealing in the target language;
  • How playing music in the car while driving can be a great resource for language learning;
  • As your children get older, consider having your kids add lyrics to a familiar tune in the target language;
  • For older children, it also important to find media that they enjoy, for example, situation comedy can be helpful;
  • How to leverage audio books that can be listened to in the background as your child is reading;
  • How having your child participate in activities with other speakers of the language;
  • Her advice for parents who want to learn another language to also use music and watch movies with subtitles;
  • That you cannot just learn a language by listening to music because you also have to learn the grammar;
  • Music can serve as the motivating factor to get you into a language but you do need to eventually support your language journey with grammar instruction;
  • For many people current language classroom instruction does not work instead it is important to make the language alive for you;
  • How she tries to keep up with all her languages and create exposure in creative ways;
  • Her advice to make language learning fun!


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