Since I was a little girl, music was and has always been an important part of my life and my family’s. On my mom’s side of the family, all of my uncles either play an instrument and/or sing and I witnessed their passion and love for live music almost every time we all got together. I still have a few memories of them pulling out the guitar at family gatherings and everyone else singing along while eating “carne asada” in Monterrey for my grandma’s birthday or random weekend parties.
Although these early memories were the foundation of my music journey, I have to admit that my dad was the first and biggest influence when it came to my music taste. My dad grew up in the 70’s; he loved disco and all those cheesy pop ballads from that era that he and I can still sing to this day. My dad doesn’t sing or play an instrument but he loved music in English; the shocking part was that he didn’t speak the language. My dad would listen to The Bee Gees, The Carpenters, Barry White, Gladys Knight, Earth, Wind and Fire and others without understanding a word they were saying in their songs. Honestly, that didn’t make sense to me, so after falling in love with the music and those “sounds”, I made it my mission to know the meaning of all those words in English and let my dad know what he was singing about.
I remember playing those songs over and over and leaning my ear close to the speakers to write down the sounds I was hearing; afterwards, I would get my dictionary and look up word for word to start making sentences and finally figure out what those artists were singing. The goal was to translate to Spanish so we could understand the meaning of the songs. I cannot describe the feeling of finding out the meaning of a word or putting together a sentence that made sense; it made me so happy to know I had decoded the enigma! I would run to my dad after deciphering the words and I would proudly tell him what the different words meant; that’s how we used to bond. My dad is an engineer; he’s obviously great with math and numbers and I am the complete opposite, so it was great to know that listening to the same music was an activity we both loved and always brought us together.
Music helped me start my journey to learn English; it opened up a world of possibilities and it helped me become one of the top students in my English class! In my experience, music made me enjoy learning English so much without realizing what I was doing; it changed my life and it opened the door to a whole new country and culture. My dad and I still bond over music and now he’s able to understand a lot more English than he used to; he is still a music lover and keeps sending me YouTube videos from his favorite artists. Music also helped my dad to become better at speaking English and we’re both incredibly lucky and grateful to have had The Carpenters and The Bee Gees as our first foreign language teachers.