Using songs in the classroom

Do you use songs in your lessons? How? Watch how Seema uses them and then share your ideas below!

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Submitted by hokume on Wed, 03/07/2012 - 06:42


I like songs. I use songs at the lessons. I teach my students. They also like.

Submitted by babakartal on Wed, 03/07/2012 - 09:34


thanks. the songs are enjoyable for kids and They like English by songs and the other activities...

Submitted by prusieck on Thu, 03/08/2012 - 07:25


Great job; thanks for sharing.  I'm not familiar with this song; can you post a link to it or to the lyrics?  Thank you!!!

Submitted by SeemaR (not verified) on Wed, 03/21/2012 - 06:08

In reply to by prusieck


I kinda made that one up

It's a bit of a mix actually...Got a few lyrics from the Education Bureau's  'Motion Song' at a Professional Development workshop in HK and put it to tune and mixed in the nursery rhyme 'Clap your hands'. It goes something like this

Stand up tall

And look at me

And listen, and listen (I repeat this a few times to get them cupping their ears and bobbing their heads which gives them a few giggles)

Go go forward (we shout out 'one two three' and take three steps)

Go go backward (same)

Turn around

Touch the ground

Stand up tall

And... (Nursery rhyme 'Clap your hands') <I like this version from Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes )

Sit right down quietly




You can pick songs that are popular right now and search for the lyrics on internet. Print it out and sing together. Just to see the words makes the students more aware of what they are singing. Even if you don´t move or dance, you can use the ability to sing together. Maybe you´ll find the recording on Spotify. Take the opportunity to talk about phrases in the song, vocabulary, translate it, what will the artist tells us, in which environment is this song written...I´m sure you will find a lot of tasks around the songs. Good luck!

Eleonor, Sweden

I would love to have ideas for the same level of learners. In my school, English is supposed to be the second language but being in an interior town, my students are still weak in this language when it comes to conversation or speaking activity. Pls post any suggestions. Thanks.

I am a music buff and have a collection of different songs with activities designed for a lot of language areas (grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, different skills), a lot of which can be used with adult learners as well.

Here's my email and you can contact me if you like. I can send you activities if you tell me the topic and language area you need. Rgds,

                                                                         Marina Hadziomerovic, Croatia


John Lennon's 'Imagine'

Sting's 'Englishman in New York'

Johnny Cash and June Carter's 'If I were a carpenter' for grammar teaching (Second Conditionals)



I would try any pop songs that match the students' age group. I'd suggest to use lyrics language complexity as one of the criteria to select songs as well as trying to choose "singable" songs.

Hello everybody

I wan to share idea about songs for adults

I do next - print the lyrics and the text has empty spaces I mean gaps and foreign students have to listen to the song very attentively recognise the missed words and write them down - believe me it is good job for students and the do really like it =))))

Submitted by piablo on Thu, 03/08/2012 - 17:09


Such a fantastic way to motivate!  The results portray the passion and vice-versa! Brilliant promotion, thanks for sharing this...

This is an enjoyable video and Watching is entertaining.I want to use these ideas in my classes.If You publish songs and rhymes for nearly every subject for kids like eating-drinking,health,shopping,introducing family etc.,We,as language teachers,will have great chances in our classes.Thanks for such videos and I will keep following....

Submitted by sliman on Thu, 03/08/2012 - 18:25


I like your viewpoints about teaching songs and about the use of action verbs.However,I'd like to add that a choice of songs should be taken into account. For instance "Head,shoulders,knees and toes" song is a wonderful support to introduce new vocabulary about the body. Besides it's motivating !


Would you like to use nursrey rhymes for younger kids

e.g. To achieve learning to count back wards with visual..use five little ducks went out one day, over the hills and far away

or ten green bottles sitting on the wall

or ten little sausages sizzling in the goes fat and pop! 9 little ...My 5 year olds love this becasue they can sizzle like sausages and throw thier arms and legs up when they pop...


Teaching two buckle my shoe

Story telling....Miss Polly had a dolly who was sick sick sick


check you tube for these things and if you can download


hope this helps

Great Idea to motivate young generation in Learning English I like the idea very much and also want to use it in my future more than I expect. Also I have two kids at home they will be interested in English by this way... Thanks for sharing it with the ENGLISH TEACHERS


I like so much the songs in my class. My students can identify many words, sentences and feelings, of course.

They are very happy using songs and they can learn easily new vocabulary. Videos are used too, for example youtube. 

everyone loves songs. everyone needs something different to change the way of teaching in the classroom. So, I like the way when it is useful and helpful.

Thank you very much.

I  enjoy teaching with songs because  pupils  like  that very  much . And  when  pupils like  what  they do  in class , learning is enhanced  and  imagination  is boosted. But  sometimes  i don't  find  the appropriate  educational  songs  can you help  me


Submitted by lali05 on Fri, 03/09/2012 - 01:02


Great idea. I have used it for teaching when I used to teach in Fiji but here New Zealand, it's not much of a buzz about songs. It does teach a lot of things and also the fluency and confidence to say words. Also makes children creative and keen listeners when asked to insert their own actions. They try to give exact meaning to actions in relation.

Love it. Songs in the classroom. Believe it not. I sometimees ask my students to make a rap about digestive system or read an article with music.

Submitted by rafiahammed on Fri, 03/09/2012 - 02:37


this method is really good i use some other songs in the class rooms for geting rhythm and stress would you mind giving me some liks for latest songs

Submitted by Nakib Babu on Fri, 03/09/2012 - 07:17


 Your effort is praiseworty. You are a teacher with genuine interest in teaching. I wish I had the communication key with you.

Submitted by halfoptimist on Fri, 03/09/2012 - 07:27


Really, songs can work effectively when we teach small children. it's like they remember different advertisements and their memory flashes in the moment they hear something familiar and then reflections follow one by one. It is also very nice when children were brought up in love to listening poems from early years. But further on it becomes more difficult to use this teaching device in the classroom, especially when working with students, for example. However, singing songs in English are rather attractive during extracurriculum activities.

Submitted by lucyjzenonos on Fri, 03/09/2012 - 08:26


I'm quite a new teacher but I've used one or two songs or chants with my adult group and my one to one adult learners. In my group o Ukrainian professionals, we were doing the theme of 'Fit and healthy' (Elementary level), as outside work, they all go to yoga, dance classes or to the gym. After labelling body parts and doing various activities, we did a chant with 'Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes' around the conference room table, which was great fun - my adult group loved it. Then we had a look at the Bruno Mar's song, 'Just the Way you Are' on YouTube ( We watched the video first on mute and the adults had to guess what body part words he would use in the song, then on a worksheet I made a word gap exercise with words like face, lips, hair etc missing for the students to write in as they listened to the song. With the one-to-one students, we look at different songs, trying to link them in with the lesson theme, usually including some vocabulary we've learnt in a particular lesson. I use CDs or even old cassette tapes!. You can do word gaps or give the students a list of words with an extra word that's not in the song. The student ticks off the words as they appear in the song and is left with the extra word. Recently I did the song 'Where you Are' by Whitney Houston, as it was topical and one of my students particularly liked her songs. It has quite simple vocabulary. Hope this helps. Lucy (Cyprus)

I like the idea of singing for teenage or adult students. I have been thinking of using the technique form "The King's Speech", where I have the student listen to music on headphones, have them sing the song while I record their voice and then have them listen to it. I think it will probably crack most adults up at first, but then they can hear themselves and their pronunciation as compared to the artist's and mine. This might help them be more mindful of their own mistakes, which tend to be different for each student, and later it may be easier for them to correct themselves.

What do you think?


Submitted by lucyjzenonos on Fri, 03/09/2012 - 08:33


I enjoyed watching the video about your classes, Seema. It's amazing how quickly young learners pick up the words and how much they enjoy all the actions. Thank-you.

Glad you enjoyed it! :)

Young learners have so much enthusiasm and energy. Songs are just perfect for them! Especially to lighten the linguistic demands of tasks in foreign language lessons!

Submitted by Halina Ostańkowicz on Fri, 03/09/2012 - 11:08


I have been using songs for a long time and I do think this method is very effective.

Not only students get engaged but also learn a lot.


Submitted by barani on Fri, 03/09/2012 - 11:27


please help me,

The speed of my internet is not suitable to let me watch the videos

please put  texts which describe the videos

Submitted by lisskan on Fri, 03/09/2012 - 11:48


Hi everybody, who is using songs at lessons!!!  For my students, in our small town in Russia (Sharypovo, Krasnoyarsk krai), it's the one way to hear the native speakers. We hear and sing songs with pleasure, even I haven't an ear for music :-)))

Submitted by lilitmartirosyan1 on Fri, 03/09/2012 - 12:09


Thanks a lot dear Rob for  excellent topic, I mean, using songs in the classroom is the main motivation for students, kids. I use them very often, and it works greatly! This is called effective teaching and learning. Kids like such kinds of activities, they start remembering things better, they learn everything with great pleasure, and are always interested in learning useful materials, which promote their way of thinking, enhance their scope of knowledge, enlarge the vocabulary, and just cause them to have fun!

Submitted by ebriceno on Fri, 03/09/2012 - 15:30


Thanks for sharing this experience, it is very educational.

I teach  adult students and sometimes I use songs to help them pronounce and understand the meaning of words.         

I usually have the lyrics writen down and I ask them to read until they pronounce it well enough and understand the meaning as if it were a spoken piece of writing. Once they have mastered the pronunciation (without musical rhythim) then I play the song and ask the students to listen to it withouth reading the lyrics so they can learn from it while it is spoken. Finally they do an exercise in which they listen to the song and read the writing at the same time, in order  to reinforce their learning and the way it is correctly pronounced.

This might not be the best method but it has worked for some of my students. I would like to have a link where I can find some "pedagogical" songs with their lyrics and also I would like to know if there is a better approach to this type of teaching.



Submitted by reem hassan on Sat, 03/10/2012 - 16:01


Hi..thanks Seema for this wonderful video..I am totally convinced with teaching this way..but actually I have no resource to get songs how can I get songs especially I am teaching 8 - 10 years old students.

Thanks again


Hi Reem!

Most often I just use YouTube because there are SO MANY videos on there! Check out They have great animation and good music production. Most songs that I use I have composed, found my accident, or are the ones I grew up singing. I'm careful with nursery rhymes though since some of their language is archaic and can be confusing for EFL learners. Hope this helps! :)

Submitted by rehemrere on Sat, 03/10/2012 - 23:17


I like listening to songs to improve my EN

Submitted by bizhan on Sun, 03/11/2012 - 02:38


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kind regards

Submitted by Julia_charming on Sun, 03/11/2012 - 10:39


I really enjoyed watching this video. Thanks for sharing!

There is a book, called 'Music and Song' by Tim Murphey, which is very useful for listening and singing activities. Teachers can adapt some ideas from that book and use them during their lessons.

Lots of great ideas and suggestions here in response to Seema's inspiring video. Here are some links to songs and teaching ideas for young learner and adult classes:

There are lots of lovely songs for children on LearnEnglish Kids:

More kids' songs on Youtube:

Tips on using traditional songs with children:

Different ways to use songs with adults:


Thanks, Sally!

I'd just like to add the importance of tapping into students' own worlds and learning more about their exposure to popular culture in the foreign language. If it weren't for my students, I doubt I'd have ever listened (or sung along) to songs like 'Lovestory' by Taylor Swift, 'Baby' by Justin Beiber, and 'The show' by Lenka (which you saw on this video). This gives a lot more shared background between teachers and learners and can be quite an eye-opener!


Submitted by KaraAharon on Mon, 03/12/2012 - 20:50


When working with teens and adults, I try to choose familiar songs which they can relate to. Here are some fun exercises:

Go around the room and have each person read one word of the song in sequence. A great way to keep everyone's attention.

Have someone or several people do a dramatic reading of the song.

Stage a video clip of the song.

Write an additional verse to the song.

Many non-native speakers sing along with the radio but mispronounce many words. This is an opportunity to improve their listening and pronunciation skills.

And back to young learners, when one of them tries to remember a word, very often I remind them of a song with a word in it and that helps them remember it.


Submitted by Linda S on Mon, 03/12/2012 - 22:07


I often use songs with young ones myself. I've also "invented" mixtures of "loopty loo" and "hokey pokey" with a vaudville style ending. Something young 6 year olds find fun is a cheer: 2,4,6,8 let's do the body shake, hands up, hands down, clap your hands and turn around. Let's do the shake, yeah, let's do the shake.

With older students (8-10 years) I enjoy working with rock songs. I've found old "Police" and "Sting" songs of great help. For example, Message in the Bottle, An Englishman in New York (which usually follows some lessons about American colonisation and the differences in American and British English). I am now thinking about "Walk like an Egyptian" (Bangles) for a class of 9 year olds who are being introduced to the Egyptian period in History. I've also tried "Queen" with pieces of "We will Rock you" and "We are the Champions".

I find they have lots of fun and begin to realize what they are actually singing when and English language song is playing on the radio. It arouses their curiosity and they don't even realize that they're "studying", because they enjoy it so much.

Of course, this goes side to side with traditional textbooks.



Submitted by SeemaR (not verified) on Wed, 03/21/2012 - 05:50

In reply to by Linda S


Absolutely! :) I've also used Johnny and June Cash's 'If I were a carpenter' to introduce the second conditional to my P6's (11 year olds).

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