Using songs to teach English

I believe one of the best tools to teach a foreign language is using songs. These real songs can be very effective. I know many friends and students who improved their English listening to songs.For example, My husband never had a formal English lesson. He studied French at school but he loves music very much and he can speak English better than he can speak French. He is not good at grammar yet he can communicate. Whenever I use songs in my lessons I know that barriers become smaller . I usually use the songs the students don't know but they must be known. Once with a really problem class, we had a Beatles Day. I prepared some materials, asked them to research and in class I divided them into groups and played Beatles songs while they were preparing their Beatles displays. They enjoyed the activity very much and said the music they were listening to couldn2t be compared with it.
Five reasons why I use songs in class

  1. They are authentic materials
  2. You can also teach culture and history
  3. Songs contain repetitions and repetitions enhance learning
  4. Good way to teach vocabulary and pronunciation
  5. They are fun and they can easily energize the unmotivated

Some useful sites to help you.
 Using Songs in the English Classroom
Songs that can be used in the classroom
Music for Teaching Social Studies
Write a Blues song
Using Music in the ESL Classroom
using songs in the esl classroom
Teaching with songs
Musical English Lessons International
EFL Classroom.ning
Using Songs in the Classroom
Tune into English
Learn English with songs from Esolcourses
http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/blogs/nik-peachey/6-activities-you-can-do-online-songs-music via Nik Peachey
http://ddeubel.edublogs.org/2010/12/31/tesol-teacher-training-presentations/ and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_nPUuPryCs via David Deubelbeiss
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Folk-DC-Digital-Childrens-Folksongs-for-Language-and-Cultural-Learning/181031155249040 via Joel Josephson
from Arjana Blazic listening quizzes  made on the ESL Video website http://traveloteacher.blogspot.com/p/quizzes-for-eflesl-students.html
Learn English With Christmas Songs page: http://traveloteacher.blogspot.com/p/learn-english-with-christmas-songs.html
Teaching English through songs in the digital age (part 1 of 4): Background readings and resources
Teaching English through songs in the digital age (part 2 of 4): Ideas for using songs
Teaching English through songs in the digital age (part 3 of 4): Specific songs and their uses
Teaching English through songs in the digital age (part 4 of 4): Music-related web 2.0 tools

Average: 3.8 (6 votes)


CoffeeAddict's picture

Do you think it is important that the teacher sings with the students? What if the teacher has a terrible voice????
:-) CoffeeAddict

ozgeemre's picture

Hi Evab2001,
This was such a useful blog, thank you!:)

hayriye's picture

I certainly agree with you. I often take advantage of songs with children, especially when I teach things they have difficulty in memorizing, namely months of the year, ordinal numbers, or etc.  There are great songs on the website learnenglishkids supported by British Council. Here's the link to the song 'Time for another year', which I used for teaching months.

Ayşe Reyya's picture
Ayşe Reyya

Beatles Day is a wonderful idea, I'll try to do it this year. And songs make school days brighter and fun for them. Thank you for this post and really useful links. 

mrzonkow's picture

Dear collagues
What if there are some unknown words in the song?
Do you give their meanings in L1?
Do you ask to find them in their dictionaries ?
or what?