Prior to starting private Portuguese lessons, I listened to Brazilian music obsessively for nearly two years. I sang along, mimicking the sounds I heard and yelling “na palma da mão!” and having no clue what I was saying.
When I did start to actually study the language, my teacher was surprised. “Your accent is perfect,” she said. I suppose I owe a thanks to Daniela Mercury and Gilberto Gil for that. And as I learned more and began to have simple conversations, listening to the same tunes became a new experience. It wasn’t just that I started to recognize words in the songs, but more the realization that just listening to the music without actively trying to understand the words made language learning much, much easier.