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How to Learn A Language With Music: The RRSL Method

Did you know that there is a way to study 40-80 words a minute effortlessly?

It's true! This is the power of studying music and I have used this method to learn over 8,000 words while enjoying the process!

In this article, we will discuss how to find good music (and the lyrics) in your target language, and how to study those lyrics in a fun yet effective way.

After reviewing my “RRSL Method” that I still use to this day (due to its reliability) I’ll let you in on the two best apps that you can use in a flash if you are busy and don’t have time to sit down at your computer to study.

How to find music in your target Language

blue graphic that says "How to learn a language with music"

Step #1 - Search For Music In Using Your Native Language

The first thing we can do is search in our native languages, this usually helps me find super repetitive pop and other music that is well-known.

A search I might make would look like "best Indonesian music of 2023"

The best part about this is almost any song that you find listed on a blog post will be well-known enough that you can find its lyrics on the top of the page of Google.

Step #2 - Search In Your Target Language

The second thing I do is search for music in the target language by using Google Translate. For example, translate the sentence “Best alternative rock music” or “The best-hit songs from the 1950s” to the language you're learning.

Then copy and paste that phrase into Google or YouTube, and you'll get results like what you see in the screenshot below.

how to search for music in your target language

Use YouTube Music to find more music that you like

The last thing you do, once you have between 4-10 songs that you like in the target language - is use YouTube Music's recommended feature to find music that's similar to what you've added to your playlist.

how to use youtube music to find recommendations

Usually, it also recommends other people's playlists that include songs from yours.

So you’ll probably find someone else who has the same taste as you, and then you'll find a playlist with 30+ songs that fancy your taste.

How To Find The Lyrics & Their Translations

You will only be able to do this effectively with songs that have enough views and those of which multiple sources have uploaded the lyrics.

If you already have a song with 1+ million views, go to Google and search “(SONG TITLE) + LYRICS” and Google often will have the song lyrics at the top of the page.

At the bottom of the page, you will find a button that says “Translate”.

After clicking this button you will see two rows for every line of the song, one with your language, and one with the target language.

how to find lyrics on google to learn a language

But What If Google Doesn't Have the Song That I Want?

If you can't find the lyrics to the song that you want to learn just look up “SONG TITLE + LYRICS AND ENGLISH TRANSLATION”.

In this case, it won't be as pretty or comfortable as you see above. But you should be able to find a website that has them.

Just be careful with these random sites, I have seen many bad translations that I used to learn a song. It wasn't until I had a better grasp of the language that I realized the translation had many errors.

This is why it's best to use songs that Google has on the front page,

google showing the source of the lyrics

when google has the lyrics on the top of the page, it means they have already reviewed the source which uploaded them, and approved their transcription.

How to study the lyrics effectively: The RRSL Method

Over the last 3 years I have developed this technique, and used it almost daily to progress my vocabulary in foreign languages. I call this The RRSL Method, which stands for Read, Read, Study, Listen. It goes something like this...

R) Read The Lyrics In Your Native Language

First, read the lyrics in your native language between 10-15 times or until you have a decent grasp of what the song is about without reading the lyrics.

This will help you when you are reading the lyrics in the target language because you'll get the gist without peaking at the English.

R) Read The Lyrics In Your Target Language

Now read the lyrics in the target language, between 10-15 times. This will help you remember the commonly used words and phrases to the point where you could sing along to the song if you wanted to.

S) Study The Vocab And Grammar By Comparing Both Languages

Now that you have a decent idea of the meaning of the song, and you can (more or less) understand it reading only in the target language, the next step is to look deep into each line in both languages.

I use this step to try and pinpoint which word means what, and brush up on the words, phrases, or grammar points I might have missed in the last steps.

For example: if in my native language I read “They will take...” I can take a closer look at the verb “to take” and see what's making that verb be in the future tense.

picture of me comparing google translation of lyrics between two languages

L) Listen To The Song Without Reading The Lyrics

After I have done my 20-30 reviews (total) of the song lyrics, I usually move on to another. When I move on from studying a song I only listen to it while driving, exercising, in the shower, etc. The purpose is to use this song as listening comprehension practice only.

Add Unknown Phrases To Flash Card Sets

The final step to mastering a song is to take the words and phrases that you still don’t have memorized and put them into flash cards.

Though, I consider this optional, if it tickles your fancy you should definitely do it.

adding unknown phrases to flash cards

If you want to try this, remember that it's important to put the words in the flashcard within the sentence that you found them in. Learning a word in context will always be easier and more effective than learning it alone.

Now just study the words until you feel comfortable recognizing and saying them. Move on to another song and use this one for comprehension practice.

How much of your study time should consist of this method?

I like to use this music method for about half of my study time until I reach an A2 level.

a chart about showing how to delegate time while studying a language

For example, my Spanish music playlist I used to learn much of my vocabulary is private, and I alone have access to it. During the last 3 years, I have viewed the songs in that playlist 8,214 times.

So if I listened for an average of 2.3 minutes to each song I would have spent 314 hours.

To put that in perspective, it’s said that it should take around 150-180 study hours to reach a B1 level. Due to the effectiveness of this method, I got to hear hundreds of hours of Spanish, and I enjoyed the time spent.

Want a FREE app that utilizes this learning method?

There are a few apps that already do this, but I haven't seen a FREE one yet that I would call "perfect". Unfortunately, the "old school method" I just taught you is still the best and most reliable. But here are the 2 best free apps that utilize this learning method.

Lirica – Learn A Language With Music (8/10)

Lirica is a beautiful app to learn languages with music that includes English lessons for French, Spanish, and German.

You can learn for free, but like with Duolingo you have to see ads from time to time. The good thing is, to take the ads off and save some time, the prices are very reasonable

how lirica app looks

(An example of how the Lirica app looks while in use)


– 1 Month $8.99

– 6 Months $19.99 ($3.33/M)

– 1 Year $29.99 ($2.50/M)


  • A very beautiful and easy-to-use interface

  • Includes premade playlists with just about any genre you could want

  • Helps the user read along with the lyrics in the target languages

  • Super cool “Learn” section with fun challenges


  • Not a huge variety of songs to choose from

  • No “Practice Section” with sentences in Flash Cards

Sounter – The up-and-coming (5/10)

I would love to recommend the Sounter app 100% but it has its faults. I continue recommending it for its Spanish-to-English course, but I saw Spanish words being used in the French course, and Turkish songs that lacked the lyrics entirely.

It's unfortunate because it's the most incredible-looking app, it is like they have stolen Duolingo and based it around this great learning method

+ They have every song you could possibly think of in their database!

Unfortunately, until they fix every course, I can only half recommend it. They will teach you words and show you new music, but it clearly is an app in its infancy.

how the Sounter app looks

(An example of how the Sounter app looks while in use)


– 1 Month $3.49

– 6 Months $14.99 ($2.49/M)

– 1 Year $23.99 ($1.99/M)


  • Good English to Spanish Course

  • Every song under the moon is available

  • Cool challenge practice lessons

  • Beautiful interface

  • Shows all the words learned in a clean, easy-to-read list


  • Some lessons have problems with the lyrics being correctly translated

  • Lots of bugs in the system

Conclusion: How to learn a language with music

Learning languages with music is the best overall approach to language acquisition. If you are looking to learn 40-100 words a week, without a doubt this is the perfect method to do so.

Also, the fact that you'll be learning these words in real "human-written" sentences is extremely advantageous (Cough-Cough **Duolingo**).

I hope this article helped you understand how to learn a language with music.

If you are looking to become a Spanish-speaking machine in the shortest amount of time possible, check the "5 Insider Secrets to Learning a Language Quickly and Efficiently"

And if you want a tutor, use this link for Italki and you’ll get a free $10 dollar credit towards your first lesson. Have a wonderful day and learn a lot!

- Ben


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