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How To Learn Mandarin with Popular Chinese Songs
Daniel Nalesnik
   •   September 16, 2021

When it comes to your Chinese studies, introducing variety into your activities is a great way to balance your skills and keep up your motivation. You can only read your textbook for so long before your mind starts to wander, and you also need listening, speaking, and vocabulary practice. To add some motivational spice to your studies, try learning Chinese by exploring popular Chinese songs.

Learning Chinese songs is a fun and very effective way to learn Chinese. You practice your listening, speaking, and vocabulary skills, all while having a good time and learning more about Chinese culture. And when you find songs that you really connect with, you’ll find yourself practicing Chinese without even feeling like you’re studying!

But you don’t have to just take our word for it...

Meet Laurier Lachance

Laurier is a Canadian musician who has been learning Chinese for about five years. He has 700k+ followers on TikTok and almost 300k followers on Douyin. With his sharp videos, impressive language abilities, and stellar voice, Laurier has wowed viewers all over the world with his covers of popular Chinese songs. 

You can find Laurier on TikTok at his handle @laurierlachance. He shares a lot of his work on Instagram as well with some of the content featuring exclusive materials like behind-the-scenes stories and such. Check out Laurier’s Instagram page using the same handle @laurierlachance.

So, what’s Laurier’s secret to learning Chinese vocabulary so effectively?

Keep reading below to find out how to start learning Chinese with music. 

How to Study with Popular Chinese Songs

You don’t have to be a professional musician like Laurier to benefit from learning popular Chinese songs. All Chinese learners can boost their studies using music in Chinese. Just follow these easy steps to learn a Chinese song of your choice and strengthen your Chinese language skills in the process.

1. Choose Your Favorite Popular Chinese Songs

Find a song that you love! This is one of the most fun parts since you get to explore a bunch of different music. You should pick a song that you actually like and want to study.

Don’t know where to start with Chinese music? At the end of this post, we provide a playlist of some of Laurier’s favorite Chinese songs. See if any of those can pull your heartstrings or get your toes tapping.

If you decide to curate your own playlist, be aware that Chinese music spans all the contemporary genres you can think of, from hip hop to alt rock, from heavy metal to reggae. Chinese pop music isn’t all that’s out there.

Just search for your favorite genres on Google or YouTube with “Chinese,” browse through some songs, and you should be well on your way to finding a song that catches your attention. No matter what your tastes are, you’re bound to find music that suits you, so don’t give up your search if the first Chinese song you listen to isn’t your favorite.

2. Parse the Lyrics

Once you have your song, find the Mandarin song lyrics online. These are usually very easy to find on Google, particularly when you search for popular songs.

Once you have the lyrics, skim through them to try to see how much of the song you can understand.

Next, read the lyrics again, but more slowly. Look for all of the words that you don’t know.

3. Set Up a List with Hack Chinese

Create a new vocabulary list for your song on Hack Chinese, and add your unknown words to the list. Hack Chinese makes all of this super easy to do.

Once you’ve created and named your list, you can add vocabulary items to it by searching Hack Chinese’s built-in dictionary. You can search for your words using English, pinyin, or Chinese characters, and Hack Chinese will find them for you.

Check out Laurier’s video guide on how to add the lyrics to your Hack Chinese learning plan here:

Once you’ve found the words you need, just add them to your list! Once you’ve done this with all your unknown words, your list is all set.

4. Study Your List

Now it comes time to study the vocabulary.

For optimal long-term vocabulary learning, you can study your new vocabulary words using Hack Chinese’s ‘Everyday’ study sessions. As long as your list is in your study queue, Hack Chinese will ensure you learn and retain your new words.

If you want to learn faster (maybe you’re heading out to rock the karaoke machine at KTV tonight!), you can also use Hack Chinese’s Cram Mode to help you learn the vocabulary faster. (Then, study with ‘Everyday’ mode in the future to help keep this vocabulary in your head long-term.)

5. Practice, Practice, Practice

As long as you choose songs you enjoy, you don’t have to put too much thought into this part. Just do your everyday thing and listen to your Chinese songs regularly for fun. When you have the chance, try to sing along, too!

To ensure you remember and understand the lyrics, make sure you keep up with your Hack Chinese reviews to get the vocabulary into your long-term memory.

6. Impress Yourself and Your Friends

When you feel comfortable enough with your song and its vocabulary, you can try to sing it. If you can work up the courage, you can even serenade your friends. Have fun with this! Who among them could have guessed that you were so good at singing in Chinese?

Once you have one song down, find another song to learn. If you keep this up over time, you’ll have substantially built up your vocabulary (as well as your secret repertoire of popular Chinese songs to belt at KTV).

Laurier’s Favorite Chinese Songs

If you need some leads on the best Chinese songs to learn, here’s a playlist that Laurier has generously put together for you to get started.

Check out his playlist of Chinese songs below:

  1. G.E.M. (鄧紫棋) — “光年之外 (Light Years Away)
  2. Wanting (曲婉婷) — “我的歌声里 (You Exist In My Song)
  3. Hebe Tian (田馥甄) — “小幸运 (A Little Happiness)
  4. Michael Wong (光良) — “童话 (Fairy Tale)
  5. JJ Lin (林俊傑) — “江南 (River South)
  6. G.E.M. (鄧紫棋) — “句號 (Full Stop)
  7. Faye Wong (王菲) — “紅豆 (Red Bean)
  8. Marcus (李俊緯) & Laurier (洛瑞艾) — “失眠飛行 (Insomnia Flight) (EDM cover)
  9. Jay Chou (周杰倫) — “告白氣球 (Love Confession)
  10. Hebe Tian (田馥甄) — “魔鬼中的天使 (Angel Devil)
  11. Leehom Wang (王力宏) — “改變自己 (Change Me)
  12. Joker Xue (薛之謙) — “演員
  13. Marcus (李俊緯) — “這是我的表白 (My Confession)
  14. Mayday (五月天) — “倔強 (Stubborn)
  15. G.E.M. (鄧紫棋) — “泡沫 (Bubble)
  16. Eason Chan (陳奕迅) — “̌紅玫瑰 (Red Rose)
  17. Leehom Wang (王力宏) — “你的愛 (Your Love)
  18. Harlem Yu (庾澄慶) — “情非得已
  19. Marcus (李俊緯) — “數位愛情 (Digital Love): 第二集 (Part 2) 見習男友 (Pursuing Love)

Conclusion

Whether you have a perfect pitch or struggle to carry a tune, learning popular Chinese songs is a blast that makes it easier to learn the language. Just think of how easy it is to get a song stuck in your head. Hack Chinese makes learning Mandarin songs and their vocabulary incredibly easy to do, so give it a shot. Once you find your inner Chinese rockstar or diva, just remember not to hog the mic when you’re out for karaoke!

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