I’ve been spending a lot of time watching endless clips of 나는 가수다 (Naneun Kasu-da. trans: “I am a Singer”) and Immortal Song 2 on YouTube. They are music shows that feature singers who perform their own renditions of Korean oldies and I think they’re absolutely phenomenal. I’m a music lover to my very core and these old songs and these incredible singers affect me so deeply.
But let’s be honest. Watching YouTube clips for hours at a time isn’t quite conducive to attaining Korean fluency – unless I incorporate a studious attitude!
The greatest boon of Korean broadcasting to language learners like myself is its penchant for subtitles. Subtitles on variety shows that add in funny comments or caption what someone is saying with funny emoji or font. Subtitles on music shows that provide lyrics. Subtitles subtitles subs subs subzzzz. It’s a glorious business because it pairs listening comprehension with reading – and you have to read fast, at native speaker speed, to catch what some of those subs are saying.
I absolutely love 나는 가수다 and Immortal Song 2 because of the music and the singers, but as a language learner, I love that I can learn new words from reading the lyrics while listening to the song. I usually just watch singing clips, but I also deeply enjoy seeing how much I can understand of the talking between – or sometimes even during – performances.
And let’s be real here. I’m obsessed with 윤도현’s voice and simply cannot watch enough of his live performances. I also adore 임재범. When K.Will and B1A4’s Sandeul appeared on Immortal Song 2, I just about sobbed my face off while also growing my Korean vocabulary.
나는 가수다 and Immortal Song 2 aren’t the only music shows that work for this lazy but still useful method of language learning. They’re favorites of mine, but of course many of the K-pop-oriented shows like Superstar K, M Countdown, and Music Core work just as well. Yoo Hee Yeol’s Sketchbook is another great option.
Honestly, I find the often heavily emotional and visually simple stages of I am a Singer and Immortal Song to work better for me because I can focus on the lyrics rather than the neon hair or spiky leather outfits of the performers (not that I have ANYTHING against those sorts of stages. I enjoy them very much 😉 ).
Here are some of my favorite clips:
Do you ever study by using music? Please tell me about it in the comment section below^^