Sad to say, but true: when students are asked to name their least favorite academic subject, study after study has shown that "language study" ranks high in their lists. What should be an incomparably broadening cultural experience seems to have become, in the minds of many, a sterile exercise in rote memorization and "drill and kill." In a city that can claim to have the most diverse population in our nation, if not the world, the inability of our present teaching methods to ignite the interest of a new generation in this vital resource represents a serious failure of our educational system as a whole.
While innumerable attempts have been made to produce superior ways of introducing young minds to the benefits of language enrichment, most have suffered from either basic pedagogical flaws, or being what is often known in layman's terms as "dry as sawdust." It was a pleasure then to see the alternative that Musical Spanish CD series offers beginning students.
Just as Snow White and the Seven Dwarves advised us to "whistle while you work," the Musical Spanish program presents a strong series of lessons in Spanish language and grammar set to popular music as a mnemonic device and learning aid. In the words of the publisher, the materials are "designed to integrate right and left brain learning techniques, ( to) help you to remember the words and their meaning," and are "proven to help even students who have trouble learning through traditional methods."
The program is contained in lesson books grouped by subject, combined with music on audio CDs that supplement, support, and enrich the academic content. Each (catchy) song covers four to five grammatical points on a variety of linguistic topics, as well as additional material available in the interactive portions of the CDs. The series is just as appropriate for adults as it is for children, and, in fact, may remind some older learners of the Schoolhouse Rock shorts, familiar from Saturday morning television in the 70's.
Although the musical style might not be to every student's taste, it would be well worth the struggling language learner's time to log on the manufacturer's site, www.musicalspanish.com, where both sample lessons and mp3s can be downloaded, and on line orders taken."