French music for language learning and practice

One of the ways I’ve been trying to increase my kids’ French exposure lately is through music.  I’m aiming for about an hour a week while we’re in the car.  Starting with an hour means we have car time left over to listen to other things, but we’re also sneaking in some French without adding any more time to our schedule.

sarajordan-11My favourite music for beginners is still Sara Jordan’s Bilingual songs.  I reviewed that series a while ago here.  Since we’ve listened to these CD’s a bunch of times, I’ve been trying to add some new stuff to our repertoire.

Age= any; Language level = beginner for volumes 1 & 2, intermediate for volumes 3&4

Carmen Campagne is my favourite singer of French music for school-aged kids.  Her music is different from Sara Jordan in that it’s not meant specifically for language learning.  She just sings funny songs.  The lyrics are enunciated well so that even we anglophones can understand what she’s saying.  She has many albums, but my personal favourite so far is Sur la ferme de grand-père.  We’re still exploring some of the others.

Age = any; Language level = intermediate/advanced

A few years ago, my children got the CD A Duck in New York City for Christmas.  I always found the songs fun to listen to and so did they, so I thought I’d find out if there is a French version.  Bingo – there is!  We borrowed Un canard à New York from our local library, and I fully expected them to love listening to it.  They didn’t.  I’m not sure why – maybe because they’d already heard the songs many times in English?  Most of the songs are not a literal translation, so there is some variety in lyrics.  However, the music is the same, so maybe that’s it?  Or it could be that they are getting a little old for the CD.  In any case, I highly recommend this CD, especially for younger children who have not already heard the English version.  🙂  You can find the CD here on Amazon.  It comes with a book that has the lyrics.

Age = preschool-early elementary; Language level = intermediate to advanced

Chantons les fables de la fontaine has more advanced lyrics.  I chose it because it puts famous fables to music.  We were reading La cigale et la fourmi (the ant and the grasshopper) for one of our writing exercises, and I thought it might be fun to hear it put to music.  When I first popped the CD into the the player in the car, I didn’t think the kids were actually listening to it, but when the song with la cigale came on, my daughter piped up with “Hey, it’s the song for la cigale et la fourmi!”  Apparently they were listening after all.  I thought the CD was well done.  The music was varied and because the songs are fables, a lot of them are recognizable right away.  My son still complained about listening to it, but he complains about pretty much anything that’s not Star Wars.  After hearing the CD over and over, he downright begged me to listen to something else, so we did.  This one also comes with a book with the lyrics and you can find it on Amazon.

Age level=kindergarten-middle school; Language level = advanced

Do you have any favourite French music? 

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8 thoughts on “French music for language learning and practice

  1. We’ve had the Bilingual Songs Vol 1 out from the library in the past and the kids loved it! We currently have Le clown Samuel by Suzanne Pinel (otherwise known to those of us who knew her in the 80’s as Marie Soleil LOL!) and the kids think it’s a hoot! Bonus for showing them some YouTube videos of her singing and doing the actions 🙂
    Unfortunately that’s the extent of our French program at the moment — we’re looking into getting a lessons with a few Friends from a local teacher.

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  3. We sometimes listen to The French Playground by Putamayo music. The songs are fun, although some of the themes (i.e. body image) are a little abstract for my kids (9, 7 and 4) to understand. The CD offers a lot of variety though, and we enjoy listening to native French speakers.

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