Principles of music education applied to pronunciation instruction
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Music education and pronunciation teaching within second language education would seem to be two entirely separate fields. Yet, there are undeniable links between learning to play an instrument, such as the violin, and learning to speak in a second language. This Report attempts to bridge the divide between both disciplines by highlighting the similarities between musical features and pronunciation features, and by applying principles for practicing music to pronunciation practice. It is hoped that this comparison will motivate second language learners to practice pronunciation and increase the quality of their home practice, which has been found to play an important role in determining the degree of students’ pronunciation improvement (Sardegna, 2011). This Report begins with a review of pronunciation teaching trends and how they have shaped pronunciation teaching today. It then provides an overview of three important pronunciation learning models, followed by a discussion of a principled approach to teaching pronunciation. This principled approach may help bridge the gap between theory and classroom practice. Then, grounded on evidence suggesting strong links between teaching pronunciation and teaching violin, the Report concludes with a rationale for applying the proposed principles to a musical teaching context and suggests adopting a musical approach to practice in order to effect change in students’ English pronunciation.