This activity was inspired by a wonderful company called Music and Muffins that creates animated music videos using simple drawings.

I’ve found that in class most students enjoy lessons based around songs or music. More recently I’ve been trying to discover and develop activities that students can do online to actively engage with the vast variety of resources that are available. These are six things that I have discovered so far. Each one links to an example activity that I have developed for students.

Write a Blues Song in English

  • This is one of my most recent discoveries. I found a website that was designed to enable visitors to create their own blues song just by pointing the mouse and clicking the different parts of the song they wanted. At the end they can listen to their song and even email it to their friends. I really liked this idea of getting students interested in blues music, as it is generally not too fast and follows a set formula that makes it easier for them to follow. I followed the activity up with some links to blues music videos and a lyrics search engine, so that students could find a video they liked, listen to it and write down the words, then find the lyrics online and check their own work.Example activity

Memorize a Song

  • This activity is based around song lyrics and uses two websites. The first is a site that helps students to find music videos and match them to the lyrics. The second site is a web based tool that helps students to memorize text. They simply copy in the lyrics of the song (or any other text) then they can use the site to gradually remove random words from the text. They can then try to remember the missing words and listen again to the video if they need help. They gradually remove all of the words from the text until they can remember the complete song.Example activity

Learn from and Create Animated Music Videos

  • This activity was inspired by a wonderful company called Music and Muffins that creates animated music videos using simple drawings. After watching a few of the videos I decided to find out how they were made and discovered that it was really a very simple process of making drawings to illustrate the song lyrics and then either photographing them or scanning the images and inking them together with some free software. I developed this idea into a project activity for students as I thought it was  a great way to explore the meaning of the words and develop some digital literacy skills.Example activity

Write a Song in English

  • Text to speech (the computer converts your writing to spoken language) on computers can sometimes sound very dull and robotic, so I was delighted when I found a site that converted text into songs which you could send as emails. The site uses a collection of words sampled from famous singers and songs and connects them to form an audio version of your text. I though this would be a great tool for students to use so they could hear their text sung. I used the idea of short poems based around the letters of the students’ name. Mine for example would be:Not very good at sportI like to go to the beachKnows a lot about different websitesThe students can then add their poems to the website and hear them being sung, and send them to each other or to friends.Example activity

Spot Talent for your Record Label

  • There are many different types of games on the internet, but one kind that is particularly poplar and useful for language learning is role playing games. I discovered a really nice web based role playing game based around the music business. Each player in the game forms their own record company. they can then listen to and watch music videos and decide which potential stars to invest in and sign to their label. they can then track the progress of these performers and decide on new ones to sign or which ones to drop. This is a really language rich experience for students, as they learn lots of vocabulary, listen to music and develop their listening skills and find out a little bit about how the music business works. What I also like about it, is that the music and songs are real artists who are trying to be discovered. I also really like that the game is played over a period of time, so students can keep coming back and learning more each day or week to find out how their record label is doing. Example activity

Send an English Singing Telegram

  • This final activity is based around a website that enables visitors to send animated sining telegrams. IT’s really simple and colourful. You have a choice of two singers for your telegram and then you just add the text. You can then email it to someone to send them the message. I liked the idea of getting students to send each other singing language learning tips, but you could also use it to send homework reminders, or just for short interview questions and answers.Example activity

Well I hope you and your students enjoy these music based activities and I’m always interested in hearing more about other interesting sites for exploiting music and song with students.BestNik Peachey | Learning Technology Consultant, Writer, TrainerFor Teacher Development: News and Tips: Student Activities: Social media: Twitter:

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