Songs have been a common feature of young learner classrooms for decades, and numerous publications describe how songs should be employed in order to improve motivation and facilitate the acquisition of various aspects of language, including vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, and listening skills. However, empirical research examining the effects of songs as used in young learner classrooms remains scarce. This article reviews nine such studies in order to draw general conclusions and pedagogical implications. Findings indicate that songs may be effective at promoting vocabulary acquisition and improving classroom motivation in young learners; other aspects of language such as pronunciation, general oral proficiency, and receptive skills have received little focus in the empirical literature but the research that does exist also shows promising results. © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press; all rights reserved.