Students Tune In to Learn French

25 Oct 2017
ByMaria Asteinza

Fieldston Middle French teacher Vincent Lebrun, a trained musician, has long used song to help his students learn everything from vocabulary to verb tenses. He recently launched a website featuring 50 of his original compositions in French, allowing students young—and older—to bolster their language skills.

Lebrun, who has taught French at ECFS for more than a decade and leads the middle school's annual trip to Quebec, considers music his first love. A singer/songwriter who has studied at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels and holds a degree in music performance from Berklee College of Music, in Boston, he plays a variety of instruments, including the trombone, euphonium, trumpet, piano, ukulele, and drums. "Not surprisingly, I have been incorporating music and singing into my teaching from day one to help students learn French," he noted. "The kids really liked the songs, and I felt encouraged to keep writing more and record them professionally."

Earlier this month, Lebrun launched a website, Sing to Learn French, which is a repository of 50 songs that he has written and arranged to help students of French learn everything from the months and seasons of the year to colors, parts of the human body, grammar—even French accents and diacritical marks. The compositions come in a range of musical styles, too, such as ballads, waltzes, and rock melodies.

"You know how you can easily recall a commercial jingle, word for word, from years ago? Well, the same concept applies here," Lebrun explained. "Through song, my aim is to help students retain the language skills they learned in their youth well into the future."