Yes, that title was not a typo. Today we will be covering the infamous shower singing lifestyle, but as always we’re going to throw a twist on things.
We’ve all been there before, screaming our lungs out in a locked bathroom where nobody can hear our shrieks. But as tragically funny as that may be there is a way to apply shower singing to language learning.
The key feature of learning a language in the shower is sound, rhythms and melodies. One of the studies key finding was as follows:
Our main finding was that singing was more effective as a learning condition than either speaking or rhythmic speaking when participants were required to recall and reproduce a list of short paired-associate foreign language phrases.
Don’t believe me? You can find the study here.
The study uses a term called verbatim memory. To further summarize this term, think of a time when you managed to master a song in your target language yet completely didn’t have a comprehensive understanding of the vocabulary in that song.
Verbatim is the brain’s ability to mimic something as close as possible, and in language learning, that ability proves quite useful in the development of proper pronunciation.
So What Does The Shower Have To Do With Language Learning
Well, good question. What DOES the shower have to do with this?
Firstly the shower is one of the few places in a household where you can get absolute privacy. It’s just you, the water and your voice if you think of it as a kind of ancient ritual you’ll be able to get a clearer picture of where I’m going with this whole thing.
Secondly, with that privacy, you also gain the benefit of the sound of water drowning out your voice. For example, if I were to go in the shower and start a full-blown karaoke session in Japanese – I might botch up a few words, but nobody would know but me.
Whereas if I were to sing my favourite Japanese song in public without 100% knowing the song people would probably stare at me awkwardly… and that’s not what we’re going for in language learning.
Now, I’m not saying that embarrassment is a bad thing in language learning (in fact it’s the most natural thing in the process), but I am saying that if it’s avoidable, it should be avoided.
Fun Facts About Singing In The Shower
Here are some things you didn’t know about singing in the shower:
- It reduces stress: Stress can cause a number of problems for our body and mental health. The combination of singing and warm water releases endorphins. These endorphins help us to feel happier and more relaxed therefore allowing us to practice our language skills during and well after our shower session more efficiently.
- Increases the flow of oxygen to your lungs: Singing already increases the size of our lungs as we’re breathing through our stomachs and expanding our diaphragm. Combine it with steam to open up your nasal passages, and you’ll have more oxygen than you’ll know what to do with. Why not put that oxygen to good use and blurt out your favourite song in your target language? You’ll have an easier time pronouncing those foreign letters and words.
- Sound like a Native (If only for a minute) – This feature relates to number two. If you’ve done enough verbatim practice in your target language singing in the shower can bring you up to a near-native accent. Now, this isn’t backed up by any official science, but here’s my guess (at least when I do it). The combination of an increased air supply, relaxed facial muscles, and a room that has a nice acoustic sound effect – you will sound x10 better than you think you do. So the next time you think, “I’ll never come close to sounding like a native.”, crank up your thermostat to 43 C and hop in the shower!
Song Selection Checklist ☑️
Are you convinced yet as to why you should be singing in the shower to improve your language learning skills?
This week we don’t have a worksheet, but you can use this checklist to see if you’re picking the right songs to sing while you’re in the shower.
✅Always make sure the song you pick isn’t too difficult, meaning that if you can’t read a majority of it then chances are you’ll struggle to sing it. Reading is important here because we need the lyrics to be able to sing a song. We can’t take our laptops, or phones in the shower when we need to look up a line of a song. So, make sure you can effectively memorize about 90% of the song before you start your shower singing.
✅It has to be a song you can listen to repeatedly. We all have those songs that we never forget no matter how much time has passed. These songs are often called earworms since they manage to burrow their way into our brain and never leave. BUT earworms are good in this case because you want to remember your target language for as long as possible.
✅ Pick a song with a vibrant music video with captions in both your native and target language. Usually, if you go on youtube and scroll down, some eager soul has already posted the entirety of the lyrics in the comment section. Look for these music videos; these are the songs worth remembering because they are matched with good visuals. These are the songs that make it to the shower! Having something to sing in the shower is great, but having a mental picture to match the melody with is even better.
Quick Tip: You can change the captions on music videos on youtube by settings button next to the CC button.
What’s Your Favorite Shower Song?
So whether you’re looking for a way to express your inner pop star or practice rolling your r’s, the shower is the ideal solution. It may seem like a small deal, but in the long run, it can make a major impact on your confidence, pronunciation and happiness. If you feel that this method was helpful, be sure to give us some feedback and while you’re at it share your favourite shower song. Are you still reading this? Go Shower! 😂