Tips to Learn Indonesian Through Songs and Music

learn indonesian through songs

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Make learning Indonesian enjoyable and effortless. What is it about listening to songs that make them such an effective tool to learning a language, and in this case: Indonesian language?

If you like to listen on a regular basis, this article is for you, otherwise, you can skip this, as there are many other learning methods and tools out there that can be better suited for you.

There is no point to learning Indonesian through songs if you don’t like listening to music in the first place. If you are interested to learn Indonesian through songs, then continue to read.

Why Learn Indonesian Through Songs and Music?


So what is it about learning through songs that make them such effective Indonesian learning tools?

Learn everyday Indonesian language and colloquial speech.

Songs and music almost always contain a lot of useful phrases and expressions. And since the intended audience speaks Indonesian natively, songs and music include up-to-date language and slang.

Become familiar with the sound of Indonesian.

Listening to songs will also allow you to focus on your pronunciation and understanding of the Indonesian language’s rhythm, tone and beat.

Get Indonesian stuck inside your head. 

Many of the words and sound patterns within a song are repetitive and this makes it easier for them to stick in your mind. You probably already know this. Music has an uncanny ability to get stuck in our heads. Tunes and lyrics will often take over our thoughts and play over and over in our minds. This is precisely why learning Indonesian through songs will help you to memorize your newly learned phrases and expressions easily.

Music is an easy habit.

You can have no reason saying you don’t have an extra minute in the day to devote to your learning Indonesian. Pretty much because when you’re learning Indonesian through songs, you don’t need to set aside too much time because you can take the music with you wherever you go. You can even listen to songs as you are doing your daily chores, such as when you’re ironing your clothes or doing your dishes. You can also have Indonesian songs playing in the car, the kitchen and the shower.

Repetition definitely helps you to learn a new phrase or expression. By picking music you like, you can listen to the same songs over and over again, without becoming bored.

Finding a connection to Indonesian popular culture.

Familiarity with popular songs and artists will give you something to talk about with your Indonesian-speaking friends. It also gives you insight into how Indonesian-speaking people think and feel, and how they express themselves into words.


Now, let’s discuss the HOW. 

How to Learn Indonesian Effectively Through Songs and Musics?


If you have read our articles in the past or watch our videos, you know how at Think Bahasa we are obsessed with finding the most efficient methods that work for Indonesian language learners. Now it’s time to listen up!

(1) Select the right songs

As the first step, it is important to select the right songs you will learn from. This is important because there is a lot of potential pitfalls. For example, avoid songs that:

  • Are not in the same genre as songs you usually like to listen to. This is to avoid boredom and losing motivation in the long run.
  • Are too fast, and hence making them hard to learn from, especially when it comes to pronunciation. As a beginner, perhaps heavy metal is not the best place to start.
  • Do not have lyrics readily available online. Let’s keep our learning simple and easy, shall we?

As an additional tip, you may want to consider listening to songs that tell a story, which could then make it easier for you to understand and visualize. If you are a real beginner, you may even want to learn children’s songs or popular cartoon songs. There’s no shame in that. Some of those songs are actually very catchy and fun to listen to!

(2) Go to the right place to find songs.

Know where to look for those songs. Search video sharing sites such as YouTube and Vimeo. They have vast libraries of music videos and some will also be subtitled with the song lyrics in Indonesian. Even better if you can also find songs on those sites that also have English translations (or translations in your native language). This will make the learning new phrase or expression becomes easier for you.

You can also go to Spotify, which is also a fantastic place to find Indonesian songs. They have a huge selection which you can take on the go. It is also useful to see what’s trending and popular. If you have any Indonesian friends, you can also ask them for recommendations. Chances are, you may also like the music / songs that your Indonesian friends listen to (because mainstream music is always catchy anyways!).

(3) Get the vocab support to digest the lyrics

In theory, you only need to listen to Indonesian songs and you can just learn Indonesian that way. But in practice, you will have to spend some time digesting the lyrics and their meanings so that you understand it first. Instead of trying to figure out the lyrics on your own, you can resort to music videos that have subtitles, and if not, use resources like and

Try to listen to the music twice, or even thrice as you are reading the lyrics, and pay attention how the singer (native speaker) is saying those words / lyrics.

(4) Sing along

Take the step #3 further. Sing along to practice your pronunciation. This forces your mouth to adopt the right shapes and move with the rhythm of the song. You may not possess the musical ability, and you sing out of tune, but who cares, as you’re probably singing it when you’re on your own, in your own room, with your ownself listening to you singing.

You can also challenge yourself further. Find karaoke songs on Youtube. Simply type the name of the song and artists, plus the word “karaoke” into the YouTube search bar, and bam, you’ll find the karaoke version of the song(s) you’re searching for as the top result.

Perhaps one day when you’re more comfortable in your Indonesian and have gained more confidence, you can sing karaoke with your friends singing Indonesian songs!

(5) Try to sing from memory

After a while, you should find that you’re starting to memorize the song. Next step is to try singing the song without looking at the lyrics. By that point, you should be able to find that you can do a much better job including such words in your everyday speech. You can even try to make meaning of those words that are new to you, judging and evaluating how they string together with the words you’re probably already familiar with.

(6) Study the lyrics and vocab.

In addition to immersing yourself into Indonesian songs and trying to learn Indonesian intuitively with method #4 & #5, it is important for you to be able to digest the content (read: lyric) correctly. It’s time to cross check on those new words and expressions,  knowing full well what they mean in Bahasa Indonesia. Take a note of those new vocabulary, phrases and expressions you’ve learned from the songs. Break down the song, word by word, and try to master each word so that it is part of your vocabulary.

(7) Review periodically.

You don’t have to complete learning one song before you move to the next. After you get comfortable with one song, you can move to the next song. This method is called “spaced repetition.” You can always go back listening to your first song anytime. Don’t put too much stress into it. Remember that the point is to find learning Indonesian method you could actually enjoy!

(8) Find new music.

Searching for a new song to listen to next can be as fun as listening to it. This approach in a way will keep you motivated. Preferably, listen to the song that is in the same genre as your first one. This naturally reinforces your previous learning for maximum benefit as you may encounter the same vocabulary being used and also similar expression or phrases in your next song.

Have fun and enjoy! Try to listen to Indonesian songs every single day. When you incorporate language learning into fun activities, learning will not feel like a chore anymore!

Do you have any pointer or extra tips to share with other Indonesian language learners? Comment below or share with us at .


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