This is a video of an interview with an ESL teacher of young children supplemented with classroom video. She mentions that the students start from virtually nothing, much like many of the students in a world language classroom. I really like the idea of using kid songs for teaching vocabulary especially towards beginner students, as the songs are meant to do the same thing.
What does incorporating music into the classroom look like? This teacher presents an example lesson on using TPR with a hip-hop song to teach some German phrases. She assigns movements to phrases used and the learners recognize the phrases and use the movements when each are said.
If the students have access to computers and headphones for just a few minutes, LyricsTraining is a great site for them to test their listening comprehension. They can select the target language and genre, which further allows students to find interesting songs. Such as if one student really enjoys Heavy Metal, they can select that genre while their neighbor picks Electronica.
What I really love about this resource is that it gives both possible ideas but also examples of how to structure the class with it. There are song suggestions in the back for the more common languages taught.
Numerous activities can be done with music. The first suggestion in this list, Fill in the Blank, are also known as Cloze Activities. For some languages, there are sites which have possible activities already done for teachers!
Music can awaken parts of our brain. This article emphasizes that remembering happens easier when paired with music and includes a thoughtful story about a congresswoman who lost her ability to speak, but with songs and music, remembered pronounciation of words when hearing the music again. Personally, I remember lyrics from songs that I learned in my first Spanish classes in 8th and 9th grade just by hearing the introductory chords.
Songs activate both hemispheres of the brain, therefore incorperating both sides of the brain. The logical centers and the creative centers of the brain will help the students remember and learn the langage. The authentic songs can also be used to incorporate cultural aspects as well!