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Improve your English by way of music

Level: Advanced


Leyla: I hate the fact that I still struggle with speaking fluent English.

Dan: Let me tell you this: first, I understand your English very well so you're not doing so bad. Second, feeling bad about your English is of no help.

Leyla: But I want to speak English like an American.

Dan: Sweat heart, native Americans started speaking English since they were born. And, some of us still are not good at it.

Leyla: Now, I'm learning new songs in English, hoping that will help.

Dan: Good for you. I didn't know you have a good voice.

Leyla: I don't have a great voice, but just a voice. I can sing a few songs in my native language.

Dan: I play the piano. Singing doesn't necessarily require a big voice but training. I sing, too. Which songs you wanna learn?

Leyla: You know me. I'm a hopper, interested in all kinds of songs, but mainly popular soft rock.

Dan: I too get a kick out of soft rock. Have you learned any songs already?

Leyla: Yap. I've learned "I hope you dance" But, I don't know much about Lee Ann Womack.

Dan: She's an American country music singer and songwriter. She is best-known for her old fashioned-style country music songs. With I hope you dance, she's made a big splash. I like that song as well.

Leyla: It took me several weeks to learn to sing it. I enjoy its lyrics very much.

Dan: I'm quite amazed with your determination. I hope you dance is a difficult song. It requires a rich voice that can handle high and low pitches and melodic nuances.

Leyla: I'll sing it to you. Do you wanna hear it?

Dan: Sure, go ahead.

Leyla: Here we go.

Dan: Wow! You're not bad! You made this soft-rock song even more softer. How did you learn to sing like that?

Leyla: Well, I said it already, after several weeks of practice. Because I enjoy its lyrics, I took the pain to practice it couple of hours a day. But I still don't get the meaning of some expressions in the song.

Dan: For example what?

Leyla: What's this mean: "I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean"?

Dan: Hmm. It's rather a philosophical expression. It depends on how you interpret it. To me, it means: "I hope you still have that humble soul to defer to the greatness of the universe." "I hope you still keep your humble soul, your faith in the greatness of a power beyond you."

Leyla: A pretty neat contrast. The human standing against a huge ocean. Yeah, I really see how small I would look standing next to an ocean, which makes me awe God.

Dan: There is a spiritual, religious connotation to that. Feeling the greatness of universe, we are only a very tiny part of it.

Leyla: I understand. I'm a spiritual person, not religious though. Now I feel like I'm standing next to the ocean, feeling the awe in the presence of a great universe. I'm only one tiny creation of it.

Dan: Here is the deal. I'll play the song on the piano. And, you'll sing it. Come over this weekend.

Leyla: I love to do that! Can I ask you more English questions on the song then?

Dan: Yap.

Leyla: I'll call you sometime before Friday.

Dan. Great. Do that. Lovely to see you, Leyla.

Leyla: Likewise. So long, Dan.


"I Hope You Dance" was a major music hit. Lee Ann Womack emerged as a contemporary country artist in 1997 with the release of her first album, her material was similar to those of Dolly Parton and Tammy Wynette. Womack mixes her music with an old fashioned style as well as contemporary elements, separating her from her counterparts. Her 2000 release I Hope You Dance, however, was an entirely different sound, using pop music elements instead of traditional country, helping to establish Womack as a country-pop artist.

Pop music (a term that originally derives from an abbreviation of "popular") is usually understood to be commercially recorded music, often oriented towards a youth market, usually consisting of relatively short, simple love songs utilizing technological innovations to produce new variations on existing themes. Pop music has absorbed influences from other forms of popular music, but mostly associated with the rock and roll and later rock style.

soft rock: compound noun. Soft rock is a style of music which uses the techniques of rock and roll, combining the elements from folk rock and singer-songwriter pop to compose a softer, more toned-down sound for listening. Soft rock songs themes are more about love, everyday life and relationships. It makes the use of acoustic guitars, pianos, synthesizers and sometimes saxophones.

rock and roll: compound noun. Rock and roll, commonly called as rock & roll or rock 'n' roll, is a genre of popular music that originated and evolved in the United States during the late 1940s and early 1950s. It combines the blues, country music, jazz, and gospel music.

blues: noun for singular musical genre. Blues is the musical form and music genre created primarily within the African-American communities in the Deep South of the United States at the end of the 19th century from spirituals, hard labor songs, shouts and chants.

country music: Country music (or country and Western) is a combination of traditional and popular music traditionally found in the Southern United States and the Canadian Maritimes that evolved in the 1920s.

gospel music: is music form that expresses either personal, spiritual or a communal belief regarding Christian life.










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