Using Music in the Classroom

I’ve wanted to try using music in the classroom for some time now. Most listening lessons using the audio from the course books can be dull and far from engaging, so I wanted to try and turn a current song into a listening exercise to make it a bit more interesting for the students while helping them to develop a skill.

It’s not a new idea — it’s been done in many ELT classrooms — but I’d never tried it myself and didn’t really know how to go about it. Planning for the activity was about one week in the making and it started with finding the right song.

I decided to use “Cool Kids” by Echosmith for two reasons. One, it has a good tempo where my pre-intermediate students would be able to follow the lyrics without too much difficulty. Two, the lyrics included tenses that we had been learning in class — simple and continuous — so it was perfect, really.

I constructed three simple tasks for the activity. The first task was to choose the overall message of the chorus to check comprehension. The second task had a list of similar sounding words in continuous tenses, and the students had to circle the words that they heard while listening to the song. The third and final task had the simple tenses blanked out on a worksheet with the lyrics, and the students had to write down the missing words while listening to the song for the second time. Each task concluded with pair check and whole class feedback.

Overall, I think it went quite well. The students enjoyed the music and it was refreshing to do something a little different in class. I’ll try it again with my afternoon class some time this week — it will be interesting to see if they will have the same response to the activity. Looking forward to the results. 🙂



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