Music and Chinese Language

June 29, 2011, 10:43 AM posted in General Discussion

I was just wondering how many people out there play an instrument of some sort and whether you think being musical helps in learning Chinese in anyway.  For me I think it helps in terms of hearing my pronunciation better, but for listening I'm not too sure because my listening is sensitive so I think it's quite bad for listening to different accents.

Profile picture
June 29, 2011, 10:56 AM

And if you could state the instrument you play I'm just curious to see who can play what.

Profile picture
June 29, 2011, 02:05 PM

I play clarinet, but I don't think it helps with Chinese, because the time I spend practicing the clarinet is time I am NOT spending on Chinesepod.  555. 

Profile picture
June 30, 2011, 03:34 AM

I am very un-musical.  At the age of 8 or 9 there was an incident that caused me to foreswear ever singing again.  Unfortunately, I kept that vow, and I think it influences my ability to learn Chinese. 

However, I do like to listen to Chinese music.  I think the rythem of Chinese is particularly suited to the kind of up tempo music that I like to listen to.  So, I have been culling the bins at the local Asian markets and picking out a couple songs that I like on almost every CD.  Much to the anoyance of my friends and kin, I haven't been listening to much else in the past couple years.

It is really hard to say, if this helps my Chinese ability.  It is either enjoyable study time, or just taking some time to relax.  I am not sure which.

Profile picture
June 30, 2011, 06:13 AM

I am absolutely convinced that people with a natural ability for music would be able to pick up the speaking and listening side of Chinese comparitively quicker. 

Being able to identify changes in pitch correctly I think it an obvious bonus for hearing the different tones. Being able to sing also has it's obvious advantages. 

What is interesting though (at least in Taiwan) is that I find a higher proportion of people compared to the UK are able to sing. Obviously I am stereotyping a little but it is just what I have seen. I don't know if it is because everyone grows up loving KTV and therefore are less self concious and have had more practice OR as I am starting to suspect, the fact they have a highly tuned ear already capible of weeding out different tones which will help them identify when they are out of tune and give them the ability to adjust correctly.

Me, I just cant tell when I am out of tune half the time :) The frustrating thing is that I love music too.  

Profile picture

Yeah I have just found that good singers who are either Chinese or Korean in my country happen to speak English pretty well too. So I was just wondering if anyone else had this experience.

It's kind of funny that you have that stereotype because in New Zealand the stereotype is that Maori and Pacific Islanders are natural born singers. But I do think that in the Western world singing is brought up in a different manner. I guess it's just like if you are a good singer you sing, if you are not, you don't.