Using Music to Teach ESL

Music is a great way to teach ESL. Song lyrics introduce new vocabulary and remind the students that language is expression. Learning English can be fun!

I begin by selecting a song. The lyrics may be for a grammar class (adjectives) or may be for discussion (An Englishman in New York by Sting) is a good entry point to talk about immigration and customs.

I like to use different versions of the same song. This allows the students to listen to different phrasing and interpretations of the same lyrics. Calabash Music offers a nice variety of music.

The steps I use to teach using music are:

  1. Write specific words from the song on the board and have the students define those words.
  2. Play the song.
  3. Ask the students to describe what they heard.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 at least once more to help the student train their ears.
  5. Give the students a handout of the lyrics. Let them read the lyrics to themselves.
  6. Play the song at least two times while the students follow the lyrics.

Depending on your lesson, you have different options.

  • Have the students read the lyrics out loud to practice their pronunciation and reading skills.
  • Have the students discuss the meaning of the song.
  • Once the meaning is determined, discuss that topic (great for a conversation class).
  • Have the students write about the song or the topic.

Using music to teach ESL is fun. Using music to help learning is a topic that interests me. Whether it be ESL-related or other, please share your thoughts with me.


About acohen843

I am a writer and ESL teacher who enjoys the challenge of starting businesses. Currently, I am a JuicePlus distributor ( who is using this business opportunity as the foundation of a social entrepreneurship project.
This entry was posted in education, English, English as a Second Language, ESL, learning, Mozart Effect, music, teaching and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Using Music to Teach ESL

  1. Wow! Nice Post I like it Thanks for sharing and Happy New Year 2011 Please Visit My Music song site.

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