The Effects of Songs on L2 Proficiency and Spoken Fluency: A Pedagogical Perspective

Leena Maria Heikkola, Jenni Alisaari

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


Background: It has been shown that music andsongs benefit language learning. However, there are only a few studies lookingat how songs can be used in the classroom to promote the development offluency.


Purpose: The aim of the study was to investigate,how three teaching techniques, namely singing, listening to songs, and recitingsong lyrics, affect the development of fluency.


Methods: Second language learners of Finnish(n=61) produced two oral stories elicited by picture materials at the beginningand at the end of the course. These narratives were transcribed and analyzedfor fluency as the total number of words, and speech rate (words per minute).Variance analysis with proficiency level as a covariate was used to compare theeffects of the teaching techniques (singing, listening to songs, reciting songlyrics) on the development of fluency.


Results: First, fluency measured as thetotal number of words improved the most in the most proficient students, butthere were no differences between the three teaching groups. Secondly, fluencywas measured as speech rate (words/min). Also here, the most proficientparticipants improved the most. There was only a tendency towards a differencebetween the singing and the reciting groups, the singing group improving themost.


Conclusion: Improving fluency seems to belinked to proficiency levels: the higher the proficiency level, the morefluency improved. Of the investigated teaching techniques, singing seems to bebeneficial for improving automatized speech, measured by speech rate and thetotal number of words.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFluency in L2 Learning and Use
EditorsPekka Lintunen, Maarit Mutta, Pauliina Peltonen
PublisherMultilingual matters
ISBN (Electronic)9781788926324, 9781788926317
ISBN (Print)9781788926300, 9781788926294
Publication statusPublished - 2019
MoE publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book


  • Fluency
  • Second language learning
  • language proficiency
  • singing


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