We normally listen to French children's music in the car, but a few months ago my five-year-old daughter started pleading for English music. I temporary complied, trading Petit Ours Brun for Raffi, but pondered why the French music no longer appealed to her. I theorized that it wasn't the language that mattered, but the music itself. The English music she likes had more complicated lyrics and melodies than the French comptines we'd heard over and over.
My theory was right: Since then, I've found more age-appropriate French children's music, and she hasn't asked for English music since. I'm thrilled to return to French music immersion!
Here's what we're listening to:
Spotify is a digital music streaming service that recently became free. (You can pay for an ad-free membership if you'd like, but we just mute the ads.) I use their free phone app and a cassette adapter to play their French music through my car stereo.
As a Swedish company, Spotify has attracted millions of users and features music stations in many languages. You can search for your favorite group--Aldebert, for example--on Spotify Radio, and they'll recommend similar music groups like Zut. We've loved Zut! Their music is lively and their lyrics are humorous and entertaining. We've also enjoyed songs by Les Tit'Nassels, a group which we would never have discovered except through Spotify.
2. Whistlefritz CDs: French and Spanish Music for Language Immersion
A second reason why my daughter hasn't asked for English music lately is our recent acquisition of two French children's CDs by Whistlefritz. (Whistlefritz is a new provider of both Spanish and French language learning materials.) What I appreciate about these French CDs is their appealing world music and the song selections.
Cha Cha Cha was recorded by a pair of musicians with extensive jazz, Caribbean, and salsa backgrounds, so they transform (and translate) American songs like B-I-N-G-O and French classics like Sur le pont d'Avignon into catchy rhythms that I enjoy as much as my kids do.
Whistlefritz's first French CD, Allons Danser!, was recorded by the same musician and another excellent female jazz vocalist, and while slightly less peppy, it features creative and original tunes that my daughter has begun to spontaneously sing long after the music has stopped.
Honestly, I would have loved to have both of these CDs when I was teaching high school French, because the songs cover many basic vocabulary topics (weather, professions, counting, etc.) while remaining extremely catchy and upbeat. Normally I don't enjoy music recorded for language-learning purposes because it often lacks quality and contains only the most basic vocabulary phrases, but Whistlefritz has convinced my skeptical side that their music is enjoyable and worth buying.
Disclaimer: I received two Whistlefritz CDs for reviewing purposes. I have no affiliation with either company, and all opinions are my own. This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.