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99 Songs To Listen To While Doing Homework In Spanish

Learning Spanish?

Have a smartphone?

Then you’re in luck.

You can learn Spanish with songs and music.

You have fantastic Spanish podcasts at your fingertips.

And of course, you have a sea of apps for learning Spanish.

So where to begin?

Don’t worry, we’ve found 11 of the best apps for learning Spanish well, and for having fun while you’re at it. 

In fact, you’ll feel just like you’re playing a game on your smartphone.

Let’s dive straight in.
 

 

12 Best Apps for Learning Spanish Like a Boss

1. FluentU

FluentU Website | iOS | Android

FluentU is one of the most unique apps among this list. FluentU takes real-world videos like music videos, commercials, news, and inspiring talks and turns them into language learning experiences. In contrast to other apps that take a scripted approach, FluentU uses a natural approach that helps you ease into the Spanish language and culture over time. You’ll learn Spanish as it’s spoken in real life.

FluentU has a variety of engaging videos covering topics like soccer, TV shows, movies and even magical realism, as you can see here:

Native language videos are within reach with interactive transcripts. You can tap on any word to look it up instantly. Every definition has examples that have been written to help you understand how the word is used. If you see an interesting word you don’t know, you can also add this to a vocab list to reference later on.

Learn all the vocabulary in any video with quizzes. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.

The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you’re learning, and it recommends you examples and videos based on the words you’ve already learned. Every learner has a truly personalized experience, even if they’re learning the same video. 

FluentU is highly recommended for people who are audio-visual learners and want to learn more about the Spanish culture.

2. Duolingo

Duolingo Website | iOS | Android

Price: Free

Description

Among all the apps here, Duolingo probably has the highest ratings of all – it won the Best App Award in 2013 in both the AppStore and the Google Play Store.

Duolingo Spanish is split up into units that have a certain theme (e.g. education, work, medicine), and it’s designed so that each unit goes up in difficulty. Units are generally divided into two types: tenses and others (e.g. nouns, adjectives, adverbs, question words, pronouns, etc.). It’s very unique in the fact that it’s not grammar intensive – as a matter of fact, apart from about 10 of the most commonly used tenses, you won’t see any grammar lessons throughout the app.

Within each unit, there are sub-units. Each sub-unit covers about 7 – 10 words. Each unit can have anywhere from 1 – 10 sub-units.

Inside each sub-unit, there are six types of exercises that teach you these words, building on what you already know: the voice recording, where you read a Spanish sentence out loud after hearing a native recording; English to Spanish translation of a phrase; Spanish to English translation of a phrase; matching a photo to a word; rearranging words to form a sentence; and multiple choice questions.

There are about 20 questions per sub-unit.

If this sounds like a lot, think again.

Duolingo was designed to be quick to use, so it uses a very focused approach to distill lessons down to the bare essentials. What that means is if you can commit about 20 minutes of time every day to go through 3 – 4 lessons, you’ll be able to finish all the lessons in about 3 – 4 months time (taking into account word loss over time).

It’s really well paced.

There are also some really cool additional features as well – like following friends, setting a daily “track” to measure progress, word loss meter, Duolingo’s virtual currency (lingots) store, etc.

Overall, Duolingo really manages to teach Spanish in a simple way by honing in on the 1500 most important words that are most commonly used in daily situations.

3. Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone Website | iOS | Android

Price: Free (for a demo account)

Description

Among the 11 apps here, Rosetta Stone is undoubtedly the most famous learning methodology and sits as the oldest language learning app.

Rosetta Stone is designed very differently than most language apps that are on the marketplace today. Instead of learning Spanish through English, it is designed for us to learn Spanish through Spanish.

In other words, it’s trying to teach us Spanish the way we’d learn it if we were children starting to learn the language.

Within the platform, you’ll see that all words, phrases and audios are in Spanish – you’ll literally be getting zero translations to English. It’s that immersive of an experience!

On top of its learning component, it also has a platform where you can schedule lessons with a live tutor every other lesson. So if you enjoy practicing Spanish by talking to native speakers, this might be a great bonus feature.

Speech recognition within the platform has also been praised because it has been designed to specifically recognise pronunciation of non-native speakers. I’m sure you can relate – but when we’re learning a new language in the beginning, there are a lot of words we know but end up pronouncing in a weird accent, which can result in a raised eyebrow or a frown from native speakers. The enhanced speech recognition really helps offset this.

Overall, I have to say that this is a pretty intensive method. But if you’re a language enthusiast (and a purist at that), then this might just be what you’re looking for. See more information on the official site here!

4. MindSnacks

iOS

Price: $4.99

Description

Among these apps, MindSnacks is probably an app that’s most suitable for Spanish learners studying Spanish in school.

MindSnacks is often a widely praised iOS Spanish app that treats learning Spanish as a game rather than being taught entire phrases and grammar points.

When you first enter the app, you’re taken to the homepage with nine games, and each game is based on content that’s centered on a certain theme, like food, home or school.

For example, there’s a game called Swell. In Swell, an English or Spanish word flashes on screen. Two choices are then given for the Spanish and English equivalents. Before the time runs out, you have to select the correct answer. If you select the wrong answer, you’ll lose your streak. And it gets faster and faster every word, so you have to know your words really well to select the right answer quickly!

Eight other games are also available for all vocabulary sets.

One thing I’ll comment about MindSnacks is that the graphics are tailored for young children. If you don’t mind this, then it can still be a fun way to learn Spanish, and an effective one too.

5. Memrise

Memrise Website | iOS | Android

Price: Free

Description

Memrise is a very unique language learning app. Unlike other apps, its sole purpose is to help you memorize Spanish words, hence the name “Memrise”. And in my opinion, it’s also one of the most creative iOS Spanish apps for learning Spanish words around.

There are different modules in the app, and many more lessons in each module. For example, for Spanish, there’s “Learn Basic Mexican Spanish,” “Advanced Spanish,” “Spanish Vocab by frequency” (4650 words), and “250 most commonly used Spanish words”.

One lesson in each module typically helps you learn 15 words.

For each lesson, it generally consists of a Spanish word, its English meaning and an audio recording.

However, it’s the methodology that really got me interested. Instead of just rote repetition, it helps you learn through funny ways of thinking about a word. For example, bañarse, a reflexive Spanish verb that means “to bathe oneself,” is remembered by “However shy you are of nakedness as you bathe yourself, you’ll never be able to ban your arse from the bath!”

In similar examples, you get ridiculously funny sentences that contain both the Spanish word and its meaning. And because it’s usually hilarious (sometimes it comes with a picture too), it’s that much more memorable than had you stared at the word on a piece of paper.

This is a really creative way to learn words in a foreign language, with some pretty slick humor too. Memrise is highly recommended for all who find it tedious to memorize new words.

6. Cat Spanish

Cat Spanish Website | iOS 

Price: Free

Description

As an iOS app to learn Spanish, Cat Spanish is also one of the most unique apps out there.

A spin-off project by the same creators of Memrise, Cat Spanish is a Spanish app with a humorous slant: all the pictures, features and design are themed around cats!

Inside the app, you’ll move along a track to complete challenges, which are oriented around commonly used Spanish phrases. Generally, there are lessons that show a (cat-themed) picture, along with a Spanish phrase and its English translation. After familiarising yourself with phrases, you’re give multiple choice quizzes to see how much you remember.

What’s really unique about the Cat Spanish app is that the cat photos aren’t just random cat pictures taken from the web, they’re actually relevant to the Spanish phrase you’re learning.

For example, if you’re learning how to say “please” in Spanish, “por favor,” you’ll see a cat standing up with his hands held together, eyes looking up, like a human saying please.

In addition, there are brief grammar lessons in between to let you understand the grammar component of the Spanish phrase you just learned. For example, after learning “tengo miedo” (I’m afraid), it’ll explain that instead of saying I am afraid, in Spanish we say, “I have fear”.

Another great feature about the Cat Spanish app is that you can add friends to the game. So as you progress along the track and complete challenges, you’ll see how you’re doing compared to your friends.

Overall, if you’re a cat lover, seeing cats on almost every screen can make learning Spanish just that much more fun!

7. Fluencia

Fluencia Website

iOS / Android: No app, but the site is mobile-friendly

Cost: $ 14.95 / month

Description

Fluencia is an online based platform that teaches Spanish through a highly visual method. So instead of a lot of text, there are a lot of visual aids to guide the learning process.

There are five levels for Fluencia, with 10 units per level. After going through all the lessons, it reckons that you’ll be on par with someone who studied Spanish in college for a year. Not bad for 50 units of lessons, eh?

Within each unit, there are various types of lessons covering a conversation, vocabulary, grammar, culture and communication.

It’s really a mix on how the lessons are presented. At times, there are conversations you can hear and follow along, there are also places where you have to type the translation of an English phrase, and there are places where you match the picture with the correct Spanish phrase.

The platform itself is very intuitive and easy to use. There are also lots of pictures and visual aids cleverly weaved into each lesson. One thing I thought was interesting is that Fluencia actually customizes its lessons. For instance, after every unit you complete, there’s a review session. That review session is based only on words you’re weaker at, so it’s helpful for remembering tricky words in Spanish.

And because Fluencia is online (instead of developed as an app), this Spanish app provides a great user experience for both iOS and Android devices.

8. Open Language (formerly Spanish Pod)

Open Language Website | iOS | Android

Description

To me, Open Language has a really professional feel to the platform that sets it apart from many of the other apps. Among language learning apps that have a more “serious” feel, it’s probably one of the best Spanish apps for Android and iOS alike.

Open Language Spanish is broken up into many courses. Here, you also see where the professional feel comes from – Open Language Spanish courses actually correspond to the 6 levels of the CEFR. So instead of promising to teach Spanish, it promises an equivalent proficiency from A1 – C2 of the CEFR, which is very useful for benchmarking your progress against an internationally accepted scale.

Each lesson is centered around a dialogue between two hosts. The two hosts repeat the Spanish dialogue several times, and interject English comments here and there to explain new Spanish terms.

After you listen to the audio recording, you can see the dialog transcript below, a summary of the vocabulary you cover, an expansion section for additional words and phrases, a grammar section covering one to two grammar points, and exercises to strengthen what you learned.

Overall, if you’re a serious Spanish student, or someone looking for a course that’s based around an accredited standard, Open Language Spanish may be something to check out.

9. MosaLingua

MosaLingua Website | iOS | Android

Price: $4.99 (App Store), $5.99 (Google Play)

Description

MosaLingua is a platform that is designed to teach Spanish using several efficient methodologies, such as SRS (which helps calculate review dates based on how difficult you find words as you learn them), focusing on 20% of the most important vocabulary, as well as ingraining words into long term memory.

I found the fact that it focuses on 3,000 most common words and phrases to be attractive – after all, the golden ratio really holds in many situations; you really only need about 20% of the language to get through 80% of daily situations.

As with most language learning apps, there are distinct sub-categories of words and phrases, so it’s very well organized. Also, you’ll find that for all Spanish words and phrases, there are native speaker recordings, so you won’t go astray in pronunciation.

With both the iOS Spanish app and the Android Spanish app receiving largely positive user ratings, this is an app you don’t want to miss.

10. Busuu

Busuu Website | iOS | Android

Price: 14,99 Euros / month (~USD 21)

Description

Unlike many other Spanish apps, Busuu has a vibrant community of active users. This also means that out of speaking, listening, reading and writing, Busuu is an app that has a big speaking component, so be prepared for a lot of oral practice.

In a nutshell, Busuu is an online Spanish learning platform, and like Open Languages Spanish, it divides up levels according to the CEFR.

Inside each lesson, it takes you through the lesson material in a well paced sequence.

  • You start off with learning some key vocabulary
  • This prepares you for the lesson dialog
  • After the lesson dialog, you practice writing on the topic for other members to see (and hopefully edit)
  • Then you arrive at the speaking practice session with native speakers in the community
  • Next you record the phrases indicated on the screen
  • Finally there is a lesson review

In other words, you’ll be covered in all four areas of language learning (reading, writing, speaking, listening) – but I feel like this is a platform best used to learn spoken Spanish.

One really cool feature is that you can do a mock conversation. At the end of a lesson, you’ll be taken to a dialog with two people. One person’s part is already recorded, and then you have to record your part. At the end of it, the app combines all the parts together and plays the conversation as a whole, which I think is pretty neat.

Among all apps listed here, Busuu is probably the best iOS and Android Spanish app that draws heavily on the strength of its community. Highly worth checking out if you like connecting to people.

11. Lingualia

Lingualia Website | iOS | Android

Price: $14.95

Description

Similar to Busuu, Lingualia is a complete platform that takes you through Spanish lessons in a well designed sequence based on your level.

Lingualia offers units that range from the A1 – B2 levels of the CEFR, and there are about 50 units per level, so there’s quite some material to comb through.

Each unit is based around a theme, very much like how we learn Spanish as a foreign language in school.

Each lesson has a few components to it: the dialog, vocabulary concepts, grammar points, similar words and checkpoint exercises. The dialog is where it all begins, really. You’ll hear these audios spoken out loud, which are all recorded by native speakers, so the conversations flow naturally.

After seeing the dialog (presented in Spanish), you’ll go through vocabulary. This is where new words and some colloquial phrases are introduced as key words to learn for the lesson.

Of course, as with a traditionally presented course, the lesson doesn’t end without a bit of grammar. The grammar topics are highly relevant to the level you’re at, which can be concepts like indirect pronouns and the preterite tense for beginner levels, and the imperfect preterite tense for advanced levels.

Before the review of the lesson, there’s also an interesting section where two similar words are presented, and examples are given to show you how to distinguish between them.

Outside the lesson, there are also several other features: the challenge section, where you can “fight” either with the computer or another user in a quiz-like test and an activities section, where you can practice your Spanish writing.

Overall, this is an app that really resembles learning Spanish in a traditional setting (without the homework assignments and the demanding teacher!), and a comprehensive app at that.

12. SpeakEasy

iOS | Android

Price: $3.99 in both iOS and Google Play store

Description

If you’re looking for something more practical to take with you on the go, Speak Easy might be something for you.

A true mobile app available only for mobile platforms, Speak Easy is essentially a travel friendly phrasebook to take with you. Most phrasebooks you’ve bought probably had something like “ke as dee-cho” as a pronunciation aid for “Qué has dicho?”. But Speak Easy actually offers native recordings for most phrases and words, so you’ll be able to copy these native recordings easily.

Another cool feature it has is the slow playback feature – if you hear a phrase and it’s too fast, you can play it back at a slower speed to listen to it more carefully.

A recent update also included a new feature to the app – flashcards. So if you want to really learn Spanish, and not just for emergency travel use, it’s a great way to review learned phrases and words.

Final Thoughts on Spanish Apps

As you can see, while all of these Spanish apps have many similarities, each one of them is designed with a slightly different purpose in mind. Some might be better at teaching words, some might be better at teaching grammar, while others might be great for practicing your speaking.

So, depending on how you want to learn Spanish, you might choose a different app that best suits your purpose.

The best of luck with learning Spanish!

If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Spanish with real-world videos.

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Not long after I first started at HubSpot, I was welcomed with a fresh pair of orange, noise-canceling headphones. At the time, I had no clue that these headphones would carry me through many long work days and some of the deepest, darkest levels of writer's block.

Over two years later, they are truly the gift that keeps on giving.

You see, for me, listening to music while working is the secret to my productivity. All it takes is the right Beyoncé track, and I go from idle to uber productive. (Seriously, it works like a charm.)

The trouble is, finding the perfect playlist isn't always easy. With endless streaming music possibilities at my fingertips, it can be hard to nail down just the right tunes to get the wheels turning. So, I did what we do best around here -- a little research.

As it turns out, there are a ton of studies that explore the influence of specific types of music as they relate to your productivity levels. To help you find just the right mix, we've sourced and curated seven Spotify playlists designed with specific studies in mind. Whether you're into Mozart or Chance The Rapper, we're confident that there's something on this list that will do the trick.

Note: Some of the playlists contain tracks with explicit language that might not be suitable for the office.

7 Science-Backed Office Music Playlists for Productivity

1) Classical Music

One of the most frequently cited studies related to music and productivity is the "Mozart Effect," which concluded that listening to Mozart for even a brief period each day can boost "abstract reasoning ability." The study -- led by researchers Gordon Shaw, Frances Rauscher, and Katherine Ky -- employed 36 Cal-Irvine students who were divided into three groups. Group one listen to a Mozart selection, while group two listened to a relaxation tape, and group three endured 10 minutes of silence. After the listening activity, all 36 students were issued the same test, in which the Mozart group averaged an eight-to-nine point increase in their IQs, compared to the remaining groups.

Since then, the "Mozart Effect" has been hotly contested, but many researchers have gone on to explore the mental benefits of learning and listening to classical music. One recent study, for example, found that elementary-school-aged children who participated in music composition education outperformed students in a control group on reading comprehension.

Think classical music might work for you? Check out this classical-influenced playlist to find out for yourself:

2) Video Game Soundtracks

"Choosing the right video game soundtrack to work to is all about understanding what type of music motivates vs. distracts you when you need to concentrate," says HubSpot's Director of Marketing Acquisition (and former video game marketing consultant) Emmy Jonassen.

"For example, if you're the type who gets amped and focused listening to high-energy music, rhythm game soundtracks, like those from Thumper or Klang, could work well. Conversely, if you need calm to concentrate, the serene soundtracks from exploration games, like ABZÛ and Journey, may do the trick. With thousands of games releasing every year, including many independent titles, there is a soundtrack to suit everyone's ear," she went on to explain.

Think about it: Playing a video game requires a lot of focus. To make it to the next level, players commonly have to avoid traps, dodge obstacles, and discover secret tools that will help them progress to the next level. As a result, the music selection for video games is often very strategic, in that modern soundtracks tend to reflect epic, inspiring cinematic scores rather than just basic sound effects.

And while studies have revealed mixed results, there is evidence to support that gamers can experience improved performance by playing a game with the volume on. For example, when psychology professor Siu-Lan Tan and her colleagues John Baxa and Matt Spackman specifically honed in on the game "Twilight Princess (Legend of Zelda)," they found that participants who played with both music and sound effects off performed worse than those who played with it on.

Want to try it on for size? Check out the playlist below:

3) Nature Sounds

According to psychophysical data and sound-field analysis published in The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, listening to "natural" sounds could enhance cognitive functioning, optimize your ability to concentrate, and increase your level of satisfaction.

Think: Waves crashing, birds chirping, streams trickling, and the like.

That could explain why more consumer-facing brands -- from Google Home to the newer Noisli -- are introducing such ambient sound features to help listeners relax or focus. It might also be behind Spotify's multiple nature-themed playlists, like this soothing one:

4) Pump Up Songs

After observing that many athletes arrive at the stadium wearing headphones, Kellogg School of Management professor Derek Rucker and three of his colleagues -- Loran Nordgren, Li Huang, and Adam Galinsky -- set out to answer the question: Does listening to the right kind of music make us feel more powerful or in control?

So, back in 2014, the group of researchers set up a study to gauge how music might influence motivation and subsequent behavior. First, they played several songs for participants in a lab, and asked them -- on a scale of one to seven -- how powerful, dominant, and determined they felt after listening to each song. There were three "high power" winners: Queen’s “We Will Rock You,” 2 Unlimited’s “Get Ready for This,” and 50 Cent’s “In Da Club.”

Then, to gauge how the music would influence their behavior, they asked participants to listen to the music and then determine whether or not they'd like to go first or second in a debate. As it turned out, those who listened to the high-power playlist volunteered to go first almost twice as often as those who listened to a less powerful playlist.

The lesson? “Just as professional athletes might put on empowering music before they take the field to get them in a powerful state of mind,” Rucker explained, “you might try [this] in certain situations where you want to be empowered.”

Next time you're looking to feel empowered before a big presentation, interview, or salary review, check out this roundup:

Want more? Check out my colleague Amanda Zantal-Wiener's picks here.

5) Instrumental Songs

In 2015, Middle Tennessee State University researchers Carol A. Smith and Larry W. Morris discovered that students who listened to "sedative" music during a test scored higher than those who listened to lyrical music. (That somewhat contrasts their initial findings 39 years earlier, which showed that while music didn't reveal an impact on test scores, those who listened to "stimulative music" showed a significant increase in worry and highly emotional reactions.)

That isn't to say that it's entirely impossible to cross things off your list while listening to songs with words -- I actually prefer lyrical music, but my colleague, Amanda Zantal-Wiener, has joked about hip hop verses accidentally slipping into her first drafts when she listens to songs with words. If you're like she is and find that lyrics are too distracting, you may want to experiment with some instrumental options.

For those times, check out these lyric-less tunes -- we promise they won't put you to sleep:

6) "Feel Good" Songs

Buried in deadlines? Trying to unearth yourself from an email mountain after some time out of the office? Regretting that you came back? Whatever's bugging you, sometimes, the best remedy for productivity loss is a solid dose of "feel good" tunes -- you know, the kind that make you spontaneously use a pen as a pantomimed microphone.

But scientifically speaking, music can stimulate the same part of the brain as delicious food and other physical pleasures. Researchers at McGill University, for example, discovered that when participants received the opiod-production-blocking drug naltrexone, they didn't respond as positively to their favorite tunes as they might normally. The verdict? Our brains are trained to naturally produce these chemicals when we hear our preferred playlist.

And while "feel good" songs vary from person to person, a search for Spotify playlists with those very keywords yields dozens of results. That said, here's one of our favorites:

Can't get enough? Here are a few more suggestions from my colleague Amanda.

7) White Noise

According to the BBC, about 70% of us work in open-concept work spaces -- myself included. And while it's great to be able to turn our colleagues next door and ask, "Hey, what's another word for ... ?", many find background chatter distracting.

If that's the case, you're certainly not alone -- according to a study led by Yamaguchi University, "When carrying out intellectual activities involving memory or arithmetic tasks, it is a common experience for noise to cause an increased psychological impression of 'annoyance,' leading to a decline in performance."

But without an office to call your own, what's a writer or number-cruncher to do? Neutral, non-verbal background sounds like white noise, which is not the same as nature sounds, can help to block out these distractions -- things like the din of a restaurant or shopping mall, an electric fan, or even laundry machines.

And in case you're wondering -- yes. Like all of the above, there is a playlist for that:

So go forth -- focus, get pumped, feel good, and rock out.

What are your favorite songs for getting work done? Let us know in the comments.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.