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WHS French Class Gets Musical

Waller High School (WHS) French class is getting musical to help students connect with the language. French Teacher Brittany Ortega introduced her class to Manie Musicale (Musical Mania), a musical competition where students vote for their favorite French songs. Knowing that students connect with music, Ortega decided to use the competition as a way to further immerse students in the language. While she has shown her students the competition before, this is the first year her classes were involved in the voting process.

“I was looking for something that students would be excited about and connect with,” Ortega said. “Kids in Waller can listen to French artists from all over the world.”

Manie Musicale was first started by two French teachers from Maine in 2017. They created the competition to follow the format of basketball’s March Madness, where a bracket of 16 songs are chosen and students vote for their songs to advance and win. Since its creation, Manie Musicale has exploded in popularity among schools and students. To date, over 2,000 schools across the globe have participated in the 2021 competition. Students have had such an overwhelmingly positive response to the music that artists noticed a dramatic increase in views of their videos, social media following, and sales. A majority of artists have reached out by creating personal videos thanking students for their interest in their music.

“Language is a powerful thing,” Ortega said. 

As the competition unfolded, Ortega had her classes listen to the music and talk about the lyrics. To help students develop their vocabulary, songs were captioned to include the English translations. Many students grew heavily invested in their favorite artists and songs and guessing which songs would advance. In the end, only two students predicted the winner, the song La Vie by Ichon.

“The advanced classes really connected with the lyrics while the intro classes learned how to tune into the way the language sounds,” Ortega said.