Music for learning Italian as second language and for inclusion

Oral tradition songs to facilitate the learning of Italian as second language and to foster the meeting, sharing and transformation of different identities.

    School sections
    • Upper secondary school
    • Lower secondary school
    Educational subjects
    • Music and…

Music for learning Italian as second language and for inclusion

The best practice to use music in order to facilitate the foreign students’ learning of Italian as second language originated from the need to identify increasingly pressing new educational-didactic strategies, even in order to foster the inclusion of the high number of foreign students enrolled in the schools of our Country. Such students, in fact, have to learn Italian in order to carry out their educational path and social inclusion successfully.

I implemented this best practice - both as Music teacher and as graduate student in Ethno-anthropology at the University La Sapienza in Rome - in lower secondary school classes and in the Permanent Territorial Centers 11 and 21 of Rome, attended by unaccompanied minors and migrant women participating in schooling courses in Italian.

Work tools

In order to teach Italian to foreign students through the musicality of words, I selected 47 oral tradition songs connected to important moments and activities in the life of every human being, at all latitudes: songs used to play, narrate, work, celebrate, dance and pray. I proposed such songs in classes to facilitate an intercultural exchange between migrant and Italian students as well as with Italian teachers, stimulating the memory of the musical experiences of those involved, their mutual sharing and transformation. The oral tradition repertoire turned out to be valuable to develop in students even music improvisation skills. In fact, as known, it is possible to use the pieces of this repertoire as models to be imitated and re-manipulated creatively.

In order to realize this best practice, it is necessary to have a good sound system, a good Internet connection, Orff instruments, a piano (if possible), and the recordings of oral tradition pieces that can be found at the links indicated under the section “download useful materials”.

Educational purposes

The skills, goals and training objectives selected by the teacher for this experience are shown below.

    • Sound perception
    • Interpretation
    • Analysis
    • Comprehension
    • Execution
    • Improvisation
    • Composition
    Reading and Writing
    • Use of unconventional analogic music notation
    Lower secondary school
    • Understands and evaluates events, materials, and musical works recognising their meanings, also in relation to his/her own musical experience and the different historical/sociological context.
    • Actively participating in music experiences through the execution and the interpretation of vocal and instrumental music pieces belonging to different genres and cultures.
    • Capacity to conceive and create music and multimedia messages, also though improvisation or collective elaboration processes, using also IT tools, in critical confrontation with models belonging to the musical heritage
    Reading and Writing
    • Using different notation systems functional to reading, analysis and reproduction of pieces of music
Educational targets

The students learned how to:

- listen to an oral tradition song and reproduce it by imitating it with their voices, individually or in choir
- sing the song listened to - individually and/or in choir - memorizing it and paying attention to the articulation of the single phonemes of the words, respecting the accents and pauses of the lyrics
- accompany with rhythmic instruments the intonation of the song, performed individually and/or in choir
- propose to the class an oral traditional song from their own country of origin
- teach an oral tradition song from their own country of origin to classmates and teachers
- improvise their own song following the rhythmic/melodic models and composition techniques of oral tradition singers, that students make their own by imitation, even participating in collective formulation processes


Commenti inseriti
Slide "Music for learning Italian as second language and for inclusion"
Presentazione della buona pratica Download
Link utili
Rorogwela (ninna nanna delle Isole Salomome) Click here
Volume of Left Heschl's Gyrus and Linguistic Pitch Learning Click here
Video con la documentazione della pratica descritta Click here
PAOLO MANZELLI, Cervello e linguaggio. Sintetiche osservazioni e riflessioni, Educazione e scuola: Click here
Abstract del Symposium su Music- Language Interactions in the Brain, 2010 Click here
Materiali finalizzati all'azione didattica
Canti di tradizione orale con i quali lavorare Download
Cartellone della Storia di Iqbal Download
[File audio] Conta bengalese intonata in classe da uno studente proveniente dal Bangladesh Download
[File audio] Filastrocca per conta albanese intonata in classe da un’alunna proveniente dall’Albania Download
Cartellone della Storia di Nonno Giovanni Download
[File audio] Nia, nia, nia (Ninna nanna lucana) Download
Trascrizione de Lu trenu di lu Suli Download
Trascrizione filastrocca albanese Download
Bibliografia Download