Many English teachers have an interest in poetry and/or music, and so therefore they were delighted to attend the British Council event on 22 April, 2010, an evening of dazzling artistry and high emotion delivered by Jeremy Harmer and Steve Bingham.

Before the performance, Jeremy briefly introduced his initiative and some of the practical ways of using poetry and music to enhance the study of English in the classroom.  Both the input of poetry and music in English can improve fluency and build up learners’ confidence, no matter what size the classroom is. Furthermore, there are lots of ways for English teachers to experiment with poetry and music, for example, adopting a poem can add extra flavour to a blank filling exercise; a change of melody may introduce a passage of creative writing.

Over 50 minutes, the audience were caught up in the incredibly overwhelming and powerful performance by Jeremy and Steve. Steve played timeless classics with his wondrous looped electric violin, whilst Jeremy recited accompanying poems and texts from a wide range of sources. The audience was extremely moved by the stirring words and music and was transported to a world of emotion and passion.

After the event, the audience had the opportunity to discuss the different ways of using poetry and music to inspire English learning in their own contexts and classrooms.


Watch excerpts of the performance


Sonnet 116 - William Shakespeare:

Sonnet 43—from the Portuguese - Elizabeth Barrett Browning:

Absence - Elizabeth Jennings:

A house of stone - Carmen Bugan:

He wishes for the cloths of Heaven - WBYeats:

A blade of grass - Brian Patten:

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