Updated: Jul 6, 2022
French music is a great way to learn French and teach the French language. Finding new songs that I can use is very exciting and I love sharing the ones I find. It is even better when I discover an artist that has several songs that are comprehensible, clean, and relatable to young teens. These are really a gold mine for the foreign language classroom, or anyone who is trying to teach young people French, whether that be teacher or parent.
I feel starting with Vianney is a good choice. His music is enjoyable no matter what mood I’m in and I never skip a Vianney song on Spotify! There are a lot of other French singers I will be adding soon, but he is one of my favorites (they’re all my favorites).
My top six Vianney songs for the classroom are as follows:
At the time of this post there is not a ‘clip officiel’ (music video on YouTube) for this song, but the music is really enjoyable. The lyrics are clean, and the students can learn at least one important, high-frequency vocabulary word: lendemain.
While there is not a music video yet, the lyrics make this a great song to introduce to students. The message is simple and relatable, and you’ll want to sing along. The most memorable line from the song showcases a syntax common in French that learners don’t often use right away, so it provides a valuable model. The chorus also features some irregular verbs in the passé composé. Of course, when a music video is released, I’ll re-evaluate the song’s place on the list, but it makes my top six due to enjoyable and useful lyrics in a song that never gets old.
This is a fun song to use in the French language classroom. Music in any foreign language classroom can serve a lot of different purposes. This one is catchy, has a cute music video, and references a well-loved character. It may not contain a lot of high-frequency vocabulary, and beginners would need a lot of scaffolding to make it comprehensible, but it is a student favorite.
Dabali is a beautiful song that Vianney wrote while visiting Ethiopia for an episode of Terre Inconnue. The lyrics are not only highly comprehensible to intermediate learners, but really touching also. The music video is made up of footage from his visit. While the view of the country itself is breathtaking, the focus is on the people he met there and how he came to know and love them. The song can be used as a useful springboard for much meaningful discussion and conversation. It’s excellent for intermediate and advanced learners.
Written for his stepdaughter, this song is personal for Vianney. Incorporate this song with a unit about families, which comes fairly early in most French language sequences. Because of this, most of the lyrics are not comprehensible to the students when they hear it. I typically highlight just a few words and short phrases that I hope they’ll remember, but mostly they’ll just enjoy it and it serves as a good introduction to Vianney.
This song is my number one to share with students because it’s a great combination of all the great things I mentioned in other songs: catchy, relatable message, comprehensible lyrics, high-frequency vocabulary, and a great music video that students enjoy. I share this song when students are learning how to use the imperative tense (i.e., giving commands and suggestions). It’s an easy way to spice up a grammar lesson while putting things into context.
Did I mention I love Vianney? So much in fact, that I have two runners-up for your consideration.
These are two that I personally love, as an adult, but I haven’t worked them into any lessons because they’re not as upbeat and fun as the other songs on my list. They do have some useful high-frequency vocabulary and thought-provoking lyrics. More importantly, the lyrics and videos are clean. I keep them on a playlist that sometimes plays at the beginning or end of class. Please check out Merci pour ça and Pas là.
I hope you and your students love Vianney’s music as much as I do! Most of all, I hope you find some music to share with the French language learner in your life. It really brings a lot of joy into the process.
Summer Osborn is the owner of Global Goose Languages, which offers live online foreign language classes. For more information on class offerings please visit the website. I look forward to joining you on your French language journey.