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To offer an alternative approach to learning songs, I suggest an animated movie song with images to illustrate the lyrics. There are physical images to match most of the phrases in the lyrics. Lyrics is revealed word by word, phrase by phrase through series of images, and at a pace controlled by the learner. The simplified words and crisp motion fixes one's attention on the vocabulary, increasing involvement, engagement, and understanding. It's like a live-action musical performance where the singer acts out everything s/he sings about. Staging a song for animation can be a surprisingly efficient learning activity.

The video episode captures the most famous tune in Russia, a Birthday song sung by Crocodile Gena. It is a song from a famous Russian cartoon "Крокодил Гена и Чебурашка". Everyone in Russia adores Gena's favorite song “Unfortunately our birthdays come around only once a year" and when someone has a birthday Russians quite often sing it. Чебурашка had delighted generations of children throughout the USSR and remained a favorite cartoon character for the post-Soviet generations. According to the story, Чебурашка, a funny little creature, unknown to science accidentally got into an unnamed town where he befriends Крокодил Гена, a lonely but somewhat sophisticated pipe-smoking crocodile, who wears a hat, a bow tie and a coat, walks on his hind legs, works in a zoo as a crocodile, and plays the accordion.

Let the pedestrians run Awkwardly through the puddles And let the water run like a river on the asphalt. It’s unclear to the passers-by On this inclement day Why I’m so happy.

Refrain I am playing the accordion For the passers-by in sight … Unfortunately our birthdays come around Only once a year.

Suddenly a sorcerer will arrive In a sky-blue helicopter And he’ll show a movie for free. He’ll wish me a happy birthday and, most likely, leave me as a present five hundred Eskimo pies.

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