ESL Lesson Plans and Resources on Music

March is Music in our Schools Month! There has never been a better excuse to get up and dance with your students. To encourage you to bring music into your classroom throughout the year, we’ve created a collection of useful links. These links are full of ideas for using music in the classroom. You will find lesson plans, teacher reflections, books, webinars, website reviews, and more. Thank you to all of our teacher pals for suggesting links to add to this page.

Music-Themed Lesson Plans

Famous Musicians Lesson PlansCheck out our Famous People section for lesson plans on Whitney Houston, Bob Marley, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Bob Dylan, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Elvis Presley, and John Lennon. You’ll also find a lesson plan for beginners on Marilyn Monroe in our Mini-Bios section. ESL-Library posts a new podcast every Wednesday. Use the search field on our blog to find podcasts on some of the musicians featured above.
ESL-Library Podcast
Music Genres Lesson PlansCheck out our Famous Things section for lesson plans on Jazz, Hip Hop, and Rock n’ Roll. You may also be interested in our beginner lesson plan on Gospel or our Famous Places lesson plans on the Sydney Opera House and New Orleans.
Lesson Plans on MusicWe have Discussion Starters lesson plans on Talent and Music Piracy, and Mini-Debates on File Sharing and Live 8 Concerts. The Discussion Starters section is popular with teachers who teach teens! Challenge your students to voice their opinions about hot topics from the news. The readings and exercises will entice students to use new vocabulary while speaking out in small groups.


Are you looking for images related to music? Try our Flashcards section: Music, Hobbies and Entertainment. You’ll find all sorts of musical instruments! Visit our blog to learn more about how to use ESL-Library flashcards. ESL-Library subscribers can create their own quizzes, materials and cartoons.

Authentic Materials and WarmUps

What Makes a Teacherjerker?

Teaching With the Chimes of Freedom Album

Street Musician Experiment

The Red Carpet

Articles about Using Music in the Classroom

Creating Music With Students: Nik Peachey

Teaching English Through Songs in the Digital Age: ELT Chat

Linking Words for Fluent Speech: Spanish Train: Sandy Millin

DJ ELT: Mike Harrison

Music and Movement for Young Learners (Teaching Village)

Teach your students the March Forth Grammar Song

Eva’s Ideas for using music in the classroom

Using Movie Soundtracks in the ESL Classroom: Nik Peachey

Using Music in the ESL Classroom

Shelly Terrell’s Webinar about Using Music in the Classroom

Shelly Terrell’s Webinar about Using Holiday Music

Grammaropolis Song

Music Idioms:

Indecipherable Lyrics Activity: Mike Harrison

How to Create a Jazz Chant by Carolyn Graham

Write a Music Video Review

Animated Music Videos for ESL

Teaching Young Learners with Songs

Websites, Tools, and Books

Songs for English Learners by Jonathan Taylor

Tunes for Tots

Songs for Teaching

Musical English Lessons

The Learning Web

Red Karaoke

Touchable Dreams

Super Simple Songs (YL)

Many Things (Learn Songs) (YL)

Dream English (YL)

Party Time

If you’re having a year end party and your school has access to a television and a Wii, why not play Just Dance? Students can sing along with the words as they compete in the dance off! You could also organize a Karaoke party, or a talent show. Help your students get into the theme by assigning a group music project, such as an air band performance, a radio show, or a school theme-song contest. Shelly Terrell suggests having your students create a YouTube playlist based on a word or theme. Here is a playlist based on the word “Crazy”. You may also be interested in #Nightshift on Facebook. This is a group of English language teachers who share their favourite music based on a daily theme. If you love music and you’re involved in the #ELT social media community, ask Shelly Terrell for an invite!

What ideas do you have for combining music and language learning? Please share your ideas and links via twitter @ESLlibrary.


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