For me, one of the most important things in life is music. Music sooths the soul. It is a friend to listen to when you are full of the joys of life or even when life is getting you down a little. You don´t have to say anything, you just have to listen.

I am a lover of music in all its shapes and forms which means that I could happily sit down and listen to a traditional Irish song (Ireland being the country of where I hail) or I could listen to the heavy guitar riffs of a band like Metallica. All music has its qualities and its skills.

One of the things that I often ponder is what it must be like to not understand the lyrics of what are described by many as the best songs of all time. I always think that it is a great pity for people who don´t speak the English language, that they don´t understand the lyrics of great songs such as ‘Stairway to Heaven’ by Led Zeppelin or ‘All along the watchtower’ by Bob Dylan.

It is only when I come to listen to a song in Spanish that I fully understand how it is not to follow the lyrics. I speak Spanish, however, my level is not what it could and should be and so if I listen to a song I sometimes find it difficult to make out what the artist is saying, simply because of the speed and the expressions and phrases used as lyrics.

My advice to anybody who wants to improve their English is to do it now, in whatever way you can, whether it be by watching television , reading a book, doing inter-cambio with a friend, listening to music or attending school. As I said before, music sooths the soul. It is a great feeling to sit down, press play on your mp3 or CD player or whatever device you are using these days, and just allowing yourself to get lost on the journey that is music.

I find that you can relate any part of your life to a particular song. There are songs out there that, when you are extatic, you feel «yes, this is exactly what´s going through my mind at the moment» or when you feel like nothing is going your way there are songs that can relate to that too, or more importantly those that make you realise that things are not as bad as they might seem.

That´s what I love about music; it is an art form. A musician can pick up an instrument and from nothing can fill a quiet room full of beautiful sound without having to say one word. A song is a journey that you can take time and time again, always finding hidden gems each time you listen to it, whether that be a line or a lick on the guitar.

For anyone who feels that they too love music but are being held back because of their lack of English then I suggest learning now. There is a whole lot more to discover when you open that door. I am sure it is the same for me in other languages.

G. Harman