Yesterday I referenced Prince Royce (real name: Geoffrey Royce Rojas) in my blog post about Chino y Nacho. Unlike the activity that I used with Chino y Nacho, I had no activity to use with Prince Royce’s song “Junto a Mí (Stand by me)”. So why did I choose to use it as my warm up/students entering class song? Primarily for sheer enjoyment, but also because: I knew that the students would like it, the song is already familiar to them, there is a good video for it with a very positive message, and I knew the students would think that Prince Royce is really cute and he is only 21 years old (and yes, those are valid reasons!). Lastly, the song got their attention as they were entering class, and they were immediately switched over to “Spanish mode”.
The song is in English and Spanish….. how is that valuable? Was there an ulterior motive in the selection of this song? Well, of course there was! The lyrics, though brief, contain several good teachable points without having to teach:
- “Y la luna es la luz que brilla ante mí: luna, luz, brilla all will be “new” vocabulary in an upcoming unit, but here they will be exposed to the words prior to that unit, and hopefully, the words will not be new when we get there!
- “Y aunque las montañas o el cielo caiga”: montañas and cielo will also be “new” vocabulary in an upcoming unit, and caiga….well caiga is subjunctive, and I like to teach subjunctive without calling it subjunctive (for a long time), and having it occur naturally
- “Miedo no, no tendré, oh I won’t no me asustaré AND no lloraré, no lloraré, oh, I won’t shed a tear: miedo is a word that they should have learned the year before, (Spanish II), but that we are reviewing with “tener idioms”; tendré/asustaré/lloraré, we learn future tense in Spanish III, so this is a good glimpse into it before we get there. (They will have memorized these lyrics long before we get there.)
Additionally, although Prince Royce is from New York City, his parents both came from the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic is part of a large music/social awareness unit later in the year (topic of a future post). This becomes another link in the puzzle. Also, I will be using the song “Corazón sin Cara” by Prince Royce when we get to the clothing/review of adjectives unit. With prior favorable exposure to Prince Royce, students tend to view this song, which is not familiar to them, with more open eyes (or ears!). This was just the case, too, when we got to “Corazón sin Cara”, which became a favorite of several students.
Once the students have seen the video a few times, over the span of several weeks, I eventually switch to a video that has just the lyrics, and they will pay just as much attention to that video as they did the actual official video. Why? Because now they are internalizing the lyrics.
My student last year liked this song so much that they requested to use it in our Spanish Honor Society induction (La Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica). Two new inductees sang the song, and the members sang with the chorus.
There are quite a few artists who mix English and Spanish in their songs. Nota, from Puerto Rico, is another group that my students really liked last year. In December 2009, Nota won the top prize on The Sing-Off, a hit show on NBC that features a competition between a cappella groups and in late 2010 they released their first album. One of the songs on that album is called “Te Amo (My Girl)”, another song that is instantly familiar to many. Additionally, it repeated many vocabulary words that we had been studying. It was also an introduction to a cappella music for many of them; it took some convincing that all of the sounds they heard were actually being made by the six men in the video!
However, though they like “Te Amo (My Girl)”, their favorite really is the Nota version of a Camila song “Todo Cambió“. The song is useful for Spanish students because it is slow, easily understood and contains a lot of preterite verbs. I used both the Nota version as well as the Camila original several times during the course of the year.
This past month, I discovered, through NPR’s Alt Latino Blog, another artist using English/Spanish in her songs. Gina Chavez is new to me, but I will be using her song, Miles de Millas (2000 Miles) with my students this year to see what they think.