Visit this page for the audio files of the songs we learn in class!
In Magistra Hall’s class we spend a few minutes each day working on memorizing Latin songs. Why? Well, songs are poetry with a melody, and memorizing poetry is time honored method of language development. One of my favorite educators, Andrew Pudewa, of the Institute for Excellence in Writing, says it best:
There is perhaps no greater tool than memorization to seal language patterns into a human brain, and there is perhaps nothing more effective than poetry to provide exactly what we want: reliably correct and sophisticated language patterns. Although rote memorization and recitation went out of vogue when the great god of Creativity began to dominate ideology in the Schools of Education, it has stood for centuries, even millennia, as the most powerful way to teach, to learn, to develop skills, and to preserve knowledge. By memorizing and reciting, you practically fuse neurons into permanent language-storage patterns. Those patterns are then ready to be used, combined, adapted, and applied to express ideas in a myriad of ways. Additionally, because of the nature of poetry, poets are often compelled to stretch our vocabulary, utilizing words and expressions in uniquely sophisticated—but almost always correct—language patterns. A child with a rich repertoire of memorized poetry will inevitably demonstrate superior linguistic skills, both written and spoken, because of those patterns which are so deeply ingrained in the brain.Andrew Pudewa, “One Myth, Two Truths“
Especially when studying a new language, memorizing phrases and sentences can be a helpful way to build “pegs” upon which students will later hang rules, and a more sophisticated understanding of the language.
Plus, it’s just really fun to sing nursery rhymes in Latin!