Listening to and learning Chinese songs is a great way to relax and improve your Mandarin at the same time. Learning about Chinese culture is also completely essential as you gain language skills, and one way to gain that cultural exposure is through Chinese music.
It’s also easy to integrate Chinese music into your daily life and listen to a song when you have a bit of spare time, and improve your Mandarin slowly over time.
When I first became interested in learning Chinese, I found Chinese songs through English blogs online and copying and pasting the names of the songs into a search engine to listen to them. Even though I had no idea what the lyrics were about at the beginning, just listening to and imitating the pronunciation of the lyrics really gave me a head start when I actually came to speak the language myself, because I was already fairly familiar with the sounds.
In the past, there were a lot of ‘revolutionary’ songs in China, and traditional Chinese opera and folk songs. Nowadays, you find much more of a mix of music, from pop music to rock and folk music and so on, and I’ve tried to find a variety of different styles and artists for you to listen to.
A lot of Chinese popular music used to come from artists from Taiwan (which is Mandarin speaking) and Hong Kong artists singing in Mandarin, but nowadays the music industry in mainland China is much more developed and a lot of artists have sprung up.
The karaoke culture in China is a really helpful for Chinese learners, because even if you are not in the country, it is easy to find karaoke videos online with the lyrics shown on the screen. As a lot of music videos do come from Taiwan, you’ll find that a lot of karaoke videos are in traditional Chinese characters,
A selection of Chinese songs to try
Most of the songs I’ve selected below have fairly slow and simple lyrics, so they are good choices of songs to learn as a beginner.
Along with each of the songs, I’ve put the lyrics in simplified Chinese characters, Pinyin (the guide to how to pronounce the lyrics) and a complete English translation.
I hope you enjoy them!