Music in the English Language Classroom

Music FlashcardsMarch 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 this month, 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 twitter pals for suggesting links to add to this page.

Music Themed Lesson Plans and Content in the ESL-Library

Whitney Houston Lesson PlanFamous People: Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Bob Dylan, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Elvis Presley, John Lennon, Madonna. Check out the Podcasts on these musicians.

Hip Hop and Rap Lesson PlanFamous Things, Places, Bios: Jazz, Hip Hop and Rap, Rock n Roll, Gospel, Sydney Opera House, New Orleans, Marilyn Munroe. Check out our Podcast previews too.

Piracy Lesson PlanDiscussion Starters: Talent, Music Piracy. The Discussion Starters section is popular with teachers who teach teens!

Mini-Debates: Live 8 Concerts, File Sharing.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.

Musical Instruments FlashcardsFlashcards: Musical Instruments. Check out our Flashcard Friday section for ideas on how to use our flashcards in your language classrooms.

Authentic Materials and WarmUps

What Makes a Teacherjerker?

Teaching With the Chimes of Freedom Album

Street Musician Experiment

The Red Carpet

Blog posts and 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 for Using Music in the Classroom

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)

Share your Ideas

Themed Play List ExampleIf 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”.

What ideas do you have for combining music and language learning? Please share your ideas and links in the comments below.


Leave a Comment ↓

  1. Pepe says:

    Mar 20, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    Hi, I’m Italian and I teach esl privately in my own shoocl. I will never forget M., one of my primary shoocl pupils. He’s a smart,lively, energetic boy. He can’t stand still and at first I had some problem to work with him. I observed carefully his behaviour and one day I noticed he was keen on computers, so I decided to involve him personally in my lessons and he became my assistant. From that day he stood still and he was really helpful. At the end of the course he wrote me a fantastic letter in english for saying me thank you. I’m happy to be a teacher, for me it’s the most beautiful (and sometimes difficult) job in the world!


  2. ESL Library Staff says:

    Mar 08, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    Here is another resource that was shared via twitter:
    Songs with Comparatives:

    Also, Shelly Terrell accepted our request and wrote a new guest post for #MIOSM: 20+ Tips and Resources for Teaching with Lyrics: Thanks, Shelly!


Leave a Comment