“The speakers aren’t working!” my students exclaimed in horror.
“Try the AV button?” Ayaka offered. “Switch the computer on and off again?” Yusef suggested.
I diligently followed their instructions before ditching the audio and suggesting, “Why don't we just sing instead?”
I began a verse of ‘If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.’ We’ve sung this before so my students continue with alternatives, "If you’re sleepy and you know it, drink some coffee." Laughter erupted around the classroom.
It’s an adult English class and our morning has begun with a room full of smiles -- all thanks to a song.
Music is a constant feature in our classroom as it provides a common language for us all.
Whether I am creating a mood for the day ahead, setting the context for a language focus, exploring a theme for a writing task, signalling ‘talk time’ or ‘thinking time’, focusing on pronunciation features, looking for lexis, recording our voices, practising academic skills like summary writing, eliciting meaning from song texts, or even playing Ukulele in our ESL choir, it is clear to me that music really does matter in the language classroom.
If you’re reading this post, I wonder if it matters to you too? Let’s share ideas!
To kick things off, here's a list of some of my favourite online resources related to music and song in TESOL. Feel free to post your ideas, links or favourite songs in the comments below.
Enjoy the music, my friends!
Resources for Song Lessons
- Beyond the Gap Fill: Dynamic Activities for Song in the EFL Classroom (Nico Lorenzutti)
- Songs and Activities for English Language Learners (Sandra Heyer)
- On the same page: Creative printable song worksheets for TESOL (OnthesamepageELT)
- Song and Music for Language Teaching - video series (Dr Tim Murphey)
- How to use songs in the English language classroom (Adam Simpson)
- Listening for key words in songs (Marta J. Sabbadini)
- Songs to practise vocabulary, grammar and sounds (Isabel Pérez)
- 11 great English language song lyrics (Pearson English)
- Songs for Teaching English Grammar (TEFLtunes.com)
- Super Simple Songs - Kids Songs (Young Learners)
- A collection of Australian Songs for ELT (#AusELT)
- Innovative English language resources for song and stories (Urban Lyrebirds)
A few of my favourite song lessons (.ppt & .doc downloads)
- Gotta Be by Des’ree (personality adjectives)
- You Belong With Me by Taylor Swift (narrative tenses) [via Nico Lorenzutti]
- Everything at Once by Lenka (idioms and similes) [via Nico Lorenzutti]
- The Lazy Song by Bruno Mars (adjectives and discussion) [via Nico Lorenzutti]
Tech Tools for using music in the classroom
- www.spotify.com - a free web-based music archive of popular songs
- VLC media player - a free app that allows you to control the speed of the audio
- Lyrics training.com - a great site for students to practise lyrics with YouTube clips
- Titanium voice recorder - free Android App for recording read alouds or singing
Ideas for establishing an ESL Choir
- Establishing an ESL Choir (Vicki Bos, ICTE-UQ Chorus)
- The Joy of Group Singing (An observational documentary)
- Wide Open Sky - Establishing a Children’s Choir in the Bush (Movie)
- PS22 Choir - A little choir with lots of power (USA)
Literature related to Music and Song in TESOL
- Creativity in the English language classroom: Stories & Song (Alan Maley & Nik Peachey)
- The effect of action research intervention on pronunciation assessment outcomes (ESL Choir)
- Songs in language learning and teaching (TIRF a bibliography of further readings)
- Rhythm, music, and young learners: A winning combination (JALT)
- To drill or not to drill? (Jeremy Harmer) Ed: Is drilling like singing?
Shout out to my 'TESOLmates' in music education!
So much of what I have learnt about music and song in TESOL has come from my co-teachers over the years: Nico Lorenzutti, Vicki Bos, Ceara McManus, Carla Bridge, Judy Wiebusch (my mum!), just to name a few. Let's continue the journey together.
What would you add to the list?
Feel free to post your ideas, links or favourite songs in the comments below!
Disclaimer: This post represents the views of the author only and is in no way intended to reflect the views of any organisation or institution.