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Musical Spanish Preface
by Dr. Bruce Willis and Dr. Keith Mason

The idea of bridging music with language learning is a clever one. It is a classic approach that has the immediate effect of recalling childhood, the optimal age for language learning. Moreover, it is an approach that integrates different cognitive areas of the brain in a thoroughly harmonious learning process. In essence, language and music are both important means of human communication and expression. Based on this classic integrative approach, Stacey Tipton's text and CD combination, Musical Spanish, is a highly original contribution for beginning Spanish learners of all ages. Vocabulary, idiom, pronunciation, grammar and cultural knowledge all spring effortlessly from Tipton's presentation of the lyrics to the popular songs.

Sometimes the lyrics have been altered slightly to allow for the incorporation of more vocabulary and grammar points, but these alterations always fit the melodies and add new verses to popular songs that already exist in different versions. The recordings, specially commissioned by the author, showcase the variety of Hispanic culture through their stylistic range. Music in Spanish has always been part of United States culture, and the Latin music boom in the United States during the 1990s has helped raise awareness of the Latin roots of much of today's popular music. Of course, the interest in Latin culture also reflects the demographic strength of Spanish-speakers in the United States. No one can doubt that, officially or not, Spanish is America's second language. Musical Spanish is a hands-on approach to learning. Through learning the songs, and truly performing them by internalizing the lyrics, Spanish will take root and grow. Let the music and Spanish begin!


Bruce Dean Willis, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Spanish at the University of South Alabama

Keith Mason, Ph.D. is Teacher of Spanish and Italian and Research Institute director in the New Providence School District, New Providence, New Jersey

Mason and Willis are also the authors of "Canciones en la clase: The Why and How of Integrating Songs in Spanish by English-speaking and Bilingual Artists," Hispania 77: 102-109, March 1994.