How Can I Use It?

A  fortnight ago, I encountered a friend of mine. He asked me if I knew a really good teacher of Russian. I inquired what the matter was. And he explained that he learned Russian about two years ago, but his teacher happened to be a rogue. He told then he remembered only several orthography rules, perhaps several Russian words about which he wasn’t sure. Therefore, he looked for someone decent who would really teach him Russian.

I pointed out that his teacher was good since he remembered something after a long period of time. He received from me several phone numbers of Russian language teachers and we parted.

Yesterday, I received the message via the Internet from one of my Russian friends. He reported me about the release of the „Via Songs to Russian“ software. He was among the software developers. Really, I was very interested in this software. At present, this software uses the three song books, which are teaching materials. Each book comprises the five song themes, i.e. the teaching materials contain the 15 song themes.

Hereinafter I quote from our exchange of messages in form of questions and answers.

Why do you present the 15 song themes, why not 10 ones, or 20?

Actually, authors’ choice fluctuated between 9 and 20 song themes. But after long consultations and meditations, authors decided to choose the 15 song themes. Practical observations of foreign students learning Russian resulted in the fact that the 15 song themes (of „average difficultness“) can be studied by the „average“ student (who has no special training for it) during 2 or 3 months of regular learning.

The 15 songs comprise a rather heavy amount of lexicon, grammar, phonetics and many other useful things for studying Russian. If you have supposedly learned all song themes, then I want to say for sure, that such a result is very impressive.

Often, mastering 4-5 songs are enough for producing the effect of breaking through into Russian. But if you need further development in Russian, the greater amount of Russian lexicon is to be memorized, and, perhaps, all 15 songs should be learned.  

How have you chosen those specific 15 songs?

For this purpose several criteria were developed. Here are some of them:

  • Each song is to be well-known among Russians;
  • The song is to have the easily recognizable melody which is not to be very fast;
  • A song is to have not too large and not too small vocabulary and the text is to have a clear story. Also, the vocabulary is not to have rare and out-of-date words;
  • Every song is to be unique and all of them are to have no resemblance to each other. This is very important!

For example, each data record of any database has the unique numerical identifier. The unique identifier allows finding the information within a big database. Drawing an analogy with a database, it is possible to say that the uniqueness of a melody, story, song imageries and emotions can help you to retrieve from your memory the song text (lyrics) without delay.

What is the effective way of song memorization?

A person memorization is highly dependent on ability to involve his (or her) nervous system. The more areas of nervous system are involved, the better each person memorizes the information and it is a well-known fact! From this fact you can easily conclude that for effective memorization you need to like the song! You need to understand song imageries and to be ready to empathize with the story of a song and its imageries.

This problem is rather difficult, but it is very interesting! I can say for sure that you can overcome this problem with the help of the software means! From the moment when you begin to understand and perceive Russian songs, I can state without any exaggeration that you begin to think in Russian!

Can you present any proposal on how to learn songs of this software?

The teaching material consists of three well-balanced song sets (they are called Books). If you prefer some Book, listen to each song of this Book at least one time. If any specific song is preferable for you, begin to study this song. For the beginners of learning Russian, I can recommend the following three songs:

  • Meanwhile the Snow Keeps Falling (1st Book)
  • A Black Tomcat (2nd Book)
  • An Old Maple (3rd Book)

I want to point out that the "Penguins" song is like a test on understanding quick Russian pronunciation, and I can recommend this song to advanced learners.

Perhaps I can anticipate your next question. What does it mean: „the learning of a song“?

Well, this is a procedure and I can recommend the next steps for learning songs:

  1. Read the preface of a chosen song. The preface can help you to know about the history of a song, its topic and sometimes other general data. In this software there is a set of images (photos) to each song. These images have no specific message but they can help you to be in the mood for song perception. In most cases, selecting the images for each song theme, authors of the software used simple amateur photos without retouching, or any art processing. I reckon, that real images agree with the genuine songs which you can encounter in the everyday life.
  2. Open the „Acquaintance with the Song“ window and read its contents. Pay your attention to the structure of lyrics, i.e. you have to notice the number of stanzas, the number of stanza lines. Notice, that the knowledge about the structure of lyrics is one of important factors of song memorization. Read the text located in the right column, which is possible to consider as a „symbolical“ translation. Actually, this is the contents of the fifth (Composition) level of Linguistic Teaching Decomposition. Using this window you can receive sufficient, but pretty rough information about the song.
  3. Listen to the song at least three or four times. After this, the song melody is to be stamped on your memory. It is very important to have good melody recognition and melody memorization. You should have the memorized melody before learning the lyrics.
  4. Now, pay your attention to the phonetics of the song. With a view of it, listen to the song using the Listening mode. It is a difficult task to recognize the text of a song by ear, but announcers can help you to do all necessary spadework. After this work, your perception of the song becomes much better. You begin to recognize all words while the singer is singing the song.
  5. Your further activities can be quite arbitrary, depending on your purposes and the level of proficiency in Russian. If you are the beginner in learning Russian, I recommend taking the following steps:
    • Begin to do the first exercise (Repair Lines) in the Tutor, using actively audio hints. Restore the lyrics several times while listening to the audio hints. If you are not sure about any Russian words, study them in the software dictionary and listen to them in the „Song Presentation“ window of the Independent mode. You can do it simultaneously while doing the exercise in the Tutor, since the Tutor saves its status if you exit it.
    • Learn words and collocations in the context of the chosen song while using Linguistic Teaching Decomposition. This is a most difficult part of working with any song, but I recommend you to make every effort to study the LD method, which presented in the Sentence Analysis window. Thus, studying lexical contents of the chosen song, you can essentially enlarge your lexicon and receive the additional information on the grammar of Russian.
    • Memorize the song memorizing its stanzas, sometimes listening to the song using the player of the Independent mode. Watch the indication pointing to the current line on your screen and try to sing along with the singer.
    • Try to utter single Russian words and sentences using your microphone. You can find here the information about voice recording. Use your ear-phones in order to hear your voice (the ear-phones help to correct your pronunciation). After testing yourself in voice recording, begin to work in the Singing mode (this is one of the most interesting modes of this software).
    • Sometimes, return to the Tutor with a view of the restoration of a song text without mistakes, using no audio hints. As a test on song memorization, look through each stanza, while "hearing" the tune of the song, which you should "hear" in your mind.

After the above procedure, you can have good memorization of lyrics and of a song melody. Also, you can have the initial understanding of each song sentence and each song word. Detailed understanding and emotions will come to you later with getting some experience in Russian.

And the following question is the last one, which, I reckon, is most important:

What should I do to maintain my knowledge and skills?

Later on, you need periodically to listen to the studied songs and to sing those songs for the reinforcement of the learned information. Actually such listening and singing is equivalent to immersing into the Russian language environment, since your native language is not to be involved. Even after a long period of time you can recollect all songs and notice that your understanding of those songs has improved.

Remember, that everything you do — you should do with pleasure and interest. This is a necessary condition which can help you to reach the highest results!

And I can guarantee that the time, during which you will be using this software, can not be gone in vain.






 P. S. Now I want to phone my friend who is going to learn Russian and recommend him this software. Using this software, he can obtain a long-term result in studying Russian. And I can recommend everybody else this software. This is a sensible advice to those who are going to learn Russian and who are not going to lose their knowledge and skill!