When it comes to German learning, hearing a person speak German to you is the closest simulation of a real-life scenario that you can get.
When you’re learning German outside of a classroom, it’s hard to get that element of immersion.
Going into a class has multiple benefits, but at the end of the day, you go into a room, with a teacher and classmates, because of the auditory and visual benefits.
Why Listening to German Audio Is Often the Best Learning Process
Some folks are visual learners, while others fancy themselves as audio or even immersive learners. What are the benefits behind listening to German audio?
- If you don’t pay attention, it forces you to go back and listen again.
- Many argue that passive listening (not really paying attention, but absorbing the audio) is often just as good as regular learning.
- You can listen to audio pretty much where ever you go—in a plane, cab, at work, riding a bike, in the library, walking or while cooking dinner.
- You get to hear people pronounce common German phrases, as opposed to just reading the words.
- Many audio guides are supplemented with learning materials like quizzes or worksheets.
Dodging Regional Blocks with a Virtual Private Network
Have you ever searched for a German resource on Google, only to find that it redirects you to the English version of what you’re looking for? Just the other day I tried to pull up a popular German podcast (produced and spoken in German,) but Google sent me to a version with English audio dubbed over it. The nerve!
How do you get around this problem? With a virtual private network (VPN) of course! This is a legal way to block your IP address and pretend like you’re browsing from a different country. By using a VPN, you can access content as if you were in Germany, Austria or Switzerland.
An easy way to set up a VPN and magically change your location to Germany or elsewhere is by installing HideMyAss! VPN on any of your devices—it works on your computer, smartphone and internet-enabled TVs and game systems.
19 Engaging Resources to Listen to German Audio All Day, Every Day
The options are endless when learning German with audio resources.
For example, if you have a Spotify, Amazon or Audible account, you can always start by searching these resources to see if anything pops up. I’ve been known to save German Spotify playlists or to purchase German audiobooks (some of the best ones require a VPN).
Regardless, keep reading to learn more about these resources, from German music playlists to radio stations and educational CDs.
German Music Playlists for All Ages
I enjoy compiling my own playlists, since services like Spotify and Pandora can be a little scattered. However, the greatest part of these services is that you can search for other playlists that people have created and shared online.
Start with the German Pop Spotify Playlist, which is from the popular Goethe Institute, a place for German online and offline learning. This playlist includes favorites from artists like Clueso, LOT, Madsen and Ferris Mc. It’s an exciting selection of songs, all of which experienced popularity at some point. I recommend this music if you’re trying to stay upbeat, like when you’re at the gym or while working.
The German Folk Music playlist on Spotify is obviously a little different from the pop extravaganza you listened to above. This playlist is for the purists. Those who want to hear what people were listening to hundreds of years ago in Germany. This list includes around 20 songs, starting with “Echo Der Berge” and ending with “Servus Pfuat Gott und Auf Wiederseh’n.”
It’s also not a bad idea to check out other streaming services. I recommend Traditional German Music from Pandora. All you have to do is click on the Create Station button, and Pandora compiles a beautiful list of classic German folk songs and chants. Every time you create a station you receive new songs, so it’s kind of fun to try it out. TuneIn Radio also has a solid station for similar results.
German Podcasts for Those Boring Work Hours
The best German learning podcast article is a nice place to start when seeking out step-by-step grammar and pronunciation guides, but since we already have that list on FluentU, I want to outline some awesome German podcasts that have no intentions of teaching you German. That doesn’t mean they won’t help though! Topics range from business to cars, or from news to science. You’ll get so lost in the fascinating content that you’ll end up absorbing the German language naturally.
Antenne Dusseldorf is a radio station, but it also features an extensive list of useful podcasts. Antenne Dusseldorf offers a mobile podcast app for downloading the segments to your phone. Much of the radio station plays music, but they also go through opinionated conversations about world news, and you can check out some of the other podcasts like “Fortuna,” a show covering everything in terms of soccer (or football).
Schweiser Radio provides a gigantic list of podcasts for you to choose from, and the best part is that you can listen to most of them directly from you computer. I like grabbing the feed and inserting it into my podcasting phone app, so everything is in one place. There are tons of options, but as a taste, you can listen to a game show called 1 vs. 100, or even check-in with the hosts of Arena, a podcast discussing the economic climate.
The Radio Bremen Podcasts are similar to how NPR releases some affiliated talk shows, making it easy for people to choose from the subjects they want to listen to. For example, Radio Bremen lets you select from options like the Comedy Club podcast, a place to hear jokes and laugh about the world, or the Voll im Film (Full in Film) podcast for your movie fix.
The ARD Radio Tatort Podcast is a favorite, because several known voice actors lend their voices to entertain you, simulating thrilling stories that may or may not have actually happened. If you’re into thrillers, this is your podcast. The shows usually last about an hour and feature a new story every time.
The Braincast Podcast places a hard focus on the study of the brain. It’s a show for people interested in science, as they bring on guests and experts from all over the world. If you’re familiar with the popular Radio Lab podcast, I would recommend you check this one out.
German Audiobooks for Passing Time While Traveling
Audiobooks allow you to immerse yourself into a world of fantasy, science fiction or romance, all with the help of an MP3 player and headphones. Consider listening to your favorite books in German to learn something new.
The LoyalBooks database consists of public domain e-books and audiobooks, meaning you don’t have to pay a dime to listen. Click on the German tab on the left to reveal options like “Die Elixiere des Teufels” (The Devil’s Elixirs), “Michael Kohlhaas” and “Der Schimmelreiter” (The Rider on the White Horse). Listen directly through your computer or download the audiobooks to your device.
Pairing Amazon and the German Audible is a wise choice. Audible is owned by Amazon, so you can find most of the same audiobooks on both. Regardless, try using a VPN to access the best content on the German Audible. Listen to best seller like “Game of Thrones” and “Fifty Shades of Grey,” all in German. Audible provides a handy app for listening on your phone or tablet.
Hoerjuwel has a German category, which you can then break down into subcategories like science fiction, fantasy, children’s books and humor. These audiobooks are not digital, so you must wait for them to get delivered to your home.
German Radio Stations and How to Get Them
Nowadays, podcasts and radio stations are pretty much the same thing. Since a person in the United States or any other country for that matter, would have a tough time finding a German radio station on an FM/AM receiver, I provided a few digital radio stations for fun music, morning talk and other ramblings.
ListenLive offers a huge list of German radio stations, all streamable from your computer. This is the closest thing you can get to tuning your box radio to a station in Germany. Choose from regional locations like Munich, Hannover or Potsdam. You can find everything from pop, top 40, news, adult contemporary and Christmas music.
Last FM German Music is your ultimate source for music produced in Germany or created by German artists. Most of the music you’ll find on here is in German, but the occasional English song is thrown into the mix. Listen to music genres like German speed metal, German jazz, rock and classical.
Deutschlandfunk provides listening options for those who want to feel like they’re reading a regular newspaper. It’s like checking out USA Today or The Huffington Post. Deutschlandfunk covers politics, sports, culture, the economy and more.
Audio Lessons and Courses for a Classroom Environment
If you’re not quite to the level where you can listen to a German podcast without it sounding like gibberish, consider some of the following audio learning resources.
DeutschAkademie provides ten chapters with various lessons a piece. You learn German for free, and all of the resources are given to you in audio form. Start with lessons for German sentence structure, then move onto more advanced lessons covering things like the German participle.
The All Audio German CD serves as a valuable tool for learning in your car or anywhere you go. The six compact discs focus on bringing you to fluency, with short and easy to follow lessons. The CDs tackle areas like grammar, dialogues, culture and vocabulary.
Let’s end our audio journey on the highest of notes! SHORTCODE ERROR: ThirstyAffiliates did not detect a valid link id, please check your short code! is my favorite audio resource for learning German, since it has beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. The video and audio lessons teach you how to communicate while traveling, while conducting business or simply in order to speak with your German speaking relatives.
The videos and audios are made by professional teachers, and overall GermanPod101 is one of the most prolific and consistent German resources in the game. It teaches grammar, vocabulary, everyday conversations, real-life situations and culture. So, basically, you’ve got all your bases covered here.
Although they have a paid version of the service, thousands of professionally produced audios and videos are given absolutely free.
Joe Warnimont is a blogger and adventure-seeker. When not riding his bike around Chicago, you can find him sprucing up his German skills. He has watched “Run Lola Run” about ten too many times.
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