Through songs, students learn new vocabulary, internalize grammar structures that may be useful in the future, and explore vocabulary in context - and singing along to a tune is a great way for them to practice pronunciation.
I teach at the elementary level and of course some songs may be complicated for my students. However I ensure there is a natural progression, where I first introduce some basic rhythms, and later, with greater familiarity of beats and timing, we use the rhythms in the various songs we learn in class. We sing the songs while adding some features of the rhythms and some basic dance steps, which adds some movement to the singing and gets everyone moving in class to break the ice and get circulation moving! I also have a set of flash cards with some famous singers that I show while doing the activity. You can download the cards for this activity HERE.
This is how I use the cards:
Bachata: Use a soft voice and pretend to hold a microphone.
Salsa: Sing faster and use the basic Salsa step.
Merengue: Use the Merengue step and sing fast.
Ranchera: Use a deep voice and pretend to hold a sombrero while singing.
Vallenato: Pretend that you are playing an accordion, which is the main instrument in Vallenato.
I have put together a list of songs that go along with the pictures. This might help your students identify the rhythms with the singers. This is also a fun way to bring some culture (and pop culture) into your classes. Feel free to add more traditional rhythms to your list. ¡A cantar y bailar!