Published 21st June 2018

songs in the EFL classroom

Justin Bieber. Aerosmith. Florence and the Machine. No matter what your taste in music is, there’s no denying it has a place in the EFL classroom. Music is a topic which appeals to most, if not all, our learners. This is probably because it is such an open and flexible topic and there are numerous ways you can incorporate it into your lessons. In other words, it is the perfect vehicle for language learning. Using songs in the EFL classroom is a sure way to get your students’ attention and keep them motivated during the lesson.

How to use music in the EFL classroom

There are a number of ways music can be used in the EFL classroom. Music can be played in the background during a writing activity, to promote creativity or to stimulate ideas. Music can be used to introduce a topic for discussion. Different music genres can be an interesting topic of conversation. Musicians and bands can be the focus of webquests, classroom presentations or quizzes. And then of course you can use songs to introduce, consolidate or practice a certain language structure.

How to use songs in the EFL classroom

  • Listening for a general idea – play a song once through for your students to identify the general tone or premise of the song
  • Listening for a general idea – play a song which relates to the topic of the lesson and the students must identify the topic
  • Listening for detail – play a song and students fill in missing information in a chart or diagram
  • Listening for detail – play a song and students must order the lyrics
  • Identifying aspects of connected speech – play a song and students follow the lyrics to identify and then practise connected speech
  • Practising a language structure – students listen to a song and choose the correct grammatical or vocabulary item from a choice
  • Practising a language structure – students listen to a song and fill in a gap-fill worksheet

What songs can I use in the EFL classroom?

Anything and everything. Consider your students – their age and interests – and choose music which would appeal to them. Of course you can’t satisfy everyone all the time but make an effort to match your songs to your students. That’s not to say you can’t introduce new music in your lessons, but consider whether your teens would be interested in the Spice Girls, for example. At the same time, don’t use songs which are too familiar with your students or else they will be able to do any language work from memory rather than from comprehension.

Using songs in the EFL classroom is a fantastic way to incorporate culture into your lessons. There is such a wide range of music available and so many ways to utilise it in the classroom. Plus, if used effectively, songs and music can be very engaging and interesting ways to promote language learning.