This is from a song workshop I gave some time ago. Take care with the copyright!

Author: 
Andy

Songs can be exploited in many ways.

1. The cloze or gap fill

This is the most familiar and popular activity, and for that reason is probably overused. However, there are many important things to bear in mind when using them, and there are many different ways to use them.

  • Have a point, be it vocabulary or prepositions or whatever.
  • Don't cloze three or more in a row.
  • For lower levels: give the first letter, miss out word endings, give dashes for letters, or give a glossary.
  • Give vocabulary clues or synonyms for the missing words.
  • Get students to work in pairs to predict words before you play the song.
  • Insert extra words which students then cross out as they listen.
  • Change the words, as in 'Careful Shouts' or 'Countless Whiskies'.
  • Cloze unstressed, then stressed words in the same song, and have students discuss why one is easier than the other.
  • Cloze several words in a row and students have to guess not only form (adj., adv., n., vb, prep.) but words, rhythm and rhyme.

2. A-B activities

Students match beginnings and ends of lines, try 'Another Day in Paradise' (simple) or 'Private Investigations' and 'If Only ...' (more complicated).

3. Mixed-up activities

Generally, have the lines of the song on separate strips of paper.

  • Students put down strips as they hear them.
  • Mix up lines/verses.
  • Students try to organize in advance (use prompts).

4. Dictation

  • Wall dictation
  • Self-dictation (whole song blanked)
  • Part dictation

5. Translation

  • Class chooses a song from their own language.
  • Groups translate.
  • Check with other groups.
  • Combine the best. Then work on rhyme and rhythm.

6. Jigsaw-listening

  • Groups listen to different songs with the same (Luka/Behind the Wall) or different themes (Easy Street/Money for Nothing) and peer teach vocabulary, compare.

7. Composing

Listen to the song.

  • Students add verses of their own. Good songs for this are 'Imagine' and 'Man Gave Names to All the Animals' by Bob Dylan.
  • Students finish the line in each verse, then listen to check.
  • In groups, students then write their own verse.

8. Writing

Put random words from the song on the board. Students try and write the 'tale of the song'.

  • Students paraphrase the song.
  • Cut the song in half. Students predict the other half.

9. Pronunciation

  • He's got the whole world ... /h/ sound.
  • Do I speak double Dutch to a real double duchess ... /d/ sound.

10. Vocabulary

  • Miming verbs
  • Dictionary work
  • Matching

11. Listening

  • Give students a word list. Students number as they hear them.
  • Sound discrimination, e.g. tempted/tended.

12. Posters

Arrange lyrics and pictures, or just lyrics, or translate.

Bibliography

Music and Song (1992) Murphey, T. Oxford University Press

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Comments

I  think that is great method... because pupils don't like only book, copybook and etc... Pupils like interesting lessons... And I like it...

This is  a very good material. I have never tried songs in my lessons as I have problems with understanding the words of the songs  even in my own language. I am going to try it.  Hopefully I could choose easier songs  for my students. Some of this tips will work out well with my students. Do you use songs as a part of the lesson or the whole lesson? I mean do you use it as a motivation, vocabulary part or for practice of some grammar rules.  I also want to use this material as training material for my collegues that I am planing to do in summer. How can I get more information with examples about the ways you have presented here?

It's true that song lyrics can be different to understand, but it's east to find them on the internet. You can also search lyrics sites for lyrics containing a certain phrase, which can be helpful if you don't know the exact name of the song you're looking for or if you want to teach a particular language chunk. It's also a good idea to read through the lyrics of any song before you bring it into the classroom to make sure it's appropriate (this may have been mentioned in a previous post). Please also bear in mind any copyright issues that may arise with using lyrics and songs.
Two more ideas I've come up with recently for using songs:
Have one student read the lyrics to another or to the class as a dramatic reading. This helps get across the meaning of the song and can be a lot of fun.
Turn the song into a "MadLib" - take out certain words and replace with random words of the same speech part, then try singing the song. Example: instead of "Would you like to ride in my beautiful balloon?" "Would you like to (verb) in my (adjective) (noun)?" This can also be a solution for popular songs with inappropriate lyrics.
Keep singing!

My pupils just love songs, especially the lower grades. They enjoy the class everytime we practice this activity. 

Learning English through songs is the most relaxing and funniest activity especially for young learners.When I practise it in my classroom,my pupils never seem tired singing the song again and again.They feel more at ease and that is what we teachers want.Thanks a lot.

I really appreciate your great efforts for providing many different resources and techniques for the teachers all over the world.
Actually songs are very important in teaching because it makes an atmosphere of fun and enjoyment to students.Thanks a lot.

I would like to ask you what do you think about translation English songs into pupils´ own language? Is it suitable? Thanks for your comments.

Personally, I don't like the idea of translating English songs into the children's native language, although some teachers do. I do, of course, review and explain the lyrics of the song which may involve some translation, but we only sing in English. Songs are an excellent opportunity for children to practice speaking English, something most are reluctant to do, so I think that translating the song misses the point. I have even translated some popular Hebrew songs into English and had classes sing them.

Thanks for your opinion. I definitely agree with you that singing songs has beneficial effects on pupils´pronunciation. It is also a funny way of practicing English. However, what about young learners with poor knowledge of English? I think that for these pupils, it is important to know what they sing about. Certainly, translation of songs depends on the choice of the song, too. Some songs convey interesting ideas, so I think that, for example, John Lennon´s Imagine is worthy of translation for all pupils.

Thanks for your opinion. I definitely agree with you that singing songs has beneficial effects on pupils´pronunciation. It is also a funny way of practicing English. However, what about young learners with poor knowledge of English? I think that for these pupils, it is important to know what they sing about. Certainly, translation of songs depends on the choice of the song, too. Some songs convey interesting ideas, so I think that, for example, John Lennon´s Imagine is worthy of translation for all pupils.

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