We’ve written an article on how to learn languages with music and even covered the best websites for doing so, but today we’re focusing specifically on the best ways to learn English with music. There’s so much music out there that it can be hard to find the best artists and genres for actually learning the language. In this article, we’ll highlight a few ready-made lessons that use music to teach English grammar and vocabulary, and give you some tools to go off and find your next favorite English musicians.

Last Updated: 11/21/2023


And if you’d rather get your listening skills working right away, you can check this article out on our MosaLingua Language Lab podcast:

Listen to “#6 – How To Learn English With Music” on Spreaker.

MosaLingua’s “Learn With Lyrics” Lesson Series

Our English instructor Lisa-Joy is a big fan of music and loves integrating lyrics into her lessons. She’s even created a handful of YouTube videos featuring songs that can be particularly valuable to English learners.

Songs for beginners

If you’re just starting out with English, you might want to check out her video on Louis Armstrong’s classic recording of the song “What a Wonderful World” which is full of great beginner-level vocabulary.

Or check out her lesson on the song “Next Year” by Jamie Cullum, which will help you master the English slang word “gonna.”

Songs for intermediate learners

If you’re a bit more advanced, we also have videos that go beyond everyday vocabulary and dive deeper into American slang and poetic imagery – have a look at the video for the song “Lose Yourself” by Eminem.

You can also review more complex grammatical structures. Learn about “if” clauses while listening to Beyoncé’s “If I Were A Boy” or master comparatives with the help of Christina Aguilera’s song “Stronger.”

We also have all kinds of other fun and helpful videos on our YouTube channel. We upload new content multiple times a month, so be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss out on anything!

Improve your spoken English

how-to-learn-english-with-music-mosalinguaDo you want to improve your spoken English?
Good news: we have a course for that: the Speak English with Confidence MasterClass.

It’s a comprehensive 10-module course designed to help you improve every aspect of your spoken English – fluency, confidence, pronunciation, and more – step by step, and enjoy doing it.

Learn more or get started today

Great Artists and Genres to Learn English with Music

And if you’re ready to strike out on your own, here are some recommendations for English music we’ve found to be effective. We also explain how to use each genre and artist to improve the skills you need to target. Listening to music is one of the easiest and most fun ways to improve your listening skills – we hope you find a few artists you enjoy so you can start incorporating music into your learning!

Genre: Rock

Guitarist onstage with a drummer in the background.

If you want to learn English with songs, rock music and its many iterations are going to be fundamental.

For starters, most rock musicians sing in pretty standard dialects. Sometimes it can be difficult to tell when a singer is British or American – even for native speakers! Having a neutral, basic form of the language is helpful, and lyrics are an integral part of this genre. But in the end, classic rock is a good bet.

Artists like Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, and Bob Dylan have clearly understandable lyrics with great context and very unique vocabulary.

Personally, I think Jimi Hendrix is wonderful for beginners. He intersperses lyrics among some of the best guitar music of all time, and he keeps it short and sweet. Plus, you can count on learning tons of new words and phrases in each song.

Bob Dylan is better suited for advanced speakers, due to the complexity of his lyrics. However, his pronunciation is a bit more understandable, so it really comes down to your preference. But that’s part of why rock music is so perfect for learning English with music.

Best Albums: Jimi Hendrix, Are You Experienced?Bob Dylan, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan

Genre: Pop/Electronic

DJ console with dance floor in background.

A great way to find pop music for learning English is to check out the Billboard Top 100 each month, or to listen to new release and compilation playlists on Spotify. Pop music is constantly changing, and new artists enter the scene every day. So checking what’s on the new release charts is a good way to find songs that English speakers from all over the world relate to and find entertaining.

For those who are into electronic and pop music, Churches (aka CHVRCHES) is great for learning English. Their singer’s voice is very crisp and she has clear pronunciation. And most importantly, she tends to always sing with the same voice, which is highly beneficial. You’ll be able to quickly learn how she, a Scot, pronounces each word. This group is great for beginners looking to take their English skills up a notch, while advanced speakers can use their music for a bit of encouragement, since the lyrics aren’t all that hard to understand.

Best Album: Churches, Bones of What You Believe

Genre: Country

Country musician playing a steel guitar.

If you’re studying abroad in the American South or have an interest in that accent, modern country music is perfect for you. The everyday lyrics, slow speech, and storytelling nature of its songs are undeniably useful if you want to learn English with music. A perfect example of this is “Drunk on a Plane” by Dierks Bentley. Sure, it’s pretty funny, but it’s also slow enough to understand and you get a full story. What more could you need to learn a language?

Another great artist is Aaron Lewis, thanks to his understandable speech and brilliant songwriting. His music tends to be about everyday life (as with most country music). And his singing is quite slow, with just a hint of the Southern accent. He’s also a marvelous songwriter who offers a ton of context in his songs. Take “Massachusetts” and “Country Boy” for instance – slow, easy to understand, and engrossing.

Best Albums: Aaron Lewis, Town Line | Dierks Bentley, Riser

Genre: Hip-hop/Rap

Two male vocalists dancing and singing.

Hip-hop has a strong tradition of poetic lyrics, and this really shines in older hip-hop. Much like rock, there’s a lot of variety in this genre, making it another versatile way to learn English with music. However, the one downfall of hip-hop is that it’s often best for advanced learners.

If you’re looking to expand not just your vocabulary, but also your understanding of the inner workings of English, hip-hop is a good choice. Artists like Tupac and Eminem are masterminds of the English language, and you can certainly benefit from some of their highly acclaimed songwriting. It can be a bit abrasive at times, but the naturalness and context of these artists’ lyrics are valuable for language learning. Tupac is best for his linguistic capabilities, while Eminem is a great way to practice understanding faster speech.

Best Albums: Tupac, Greatest Hits | Eminem, Recovery


Bonus Video: How to Learn English With Music

Choosing songs to learn English with is only the first step! Check out Abbe’s video about how to turn a passion for music into a language-learning tool. Watch it on YouTube or right here. The video is in English, but there are subtitles in several languages if you need them. You can also slow the video down in the settings (gear icon at the bottom of the video).

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Help us out! In the comments section, let us know which artists or genres you’ve found useful!