Music is a key element in learning a language. More and more investigations are coming out with evidence of just how related language and music are. Music allows you to learn easier, faster and better, besides the fact that we can use it not only to recognize language, but culture. Now the question is HOW to use music to either teach or learn. In this post I’m going to be walking you through some strategies so you can use music in language acquisition. (It even works for us teachers that are learning another language).
I’m going to be focusing in this post on a page called Lyricstraining.com, which you can either use in class or to practice English on your own. On this page you can select a song based on the country of origin of the singer or band, the difficulty level and language. The page is set up as a game where you listen to the song and have to fill in the blanks as you go along. If you write the wrong letter or don’t write anything you lose points.
Additionally, the song pauses each time you have not filled out a word. Don’t worry you can listen to the section again by pressing the Delete button on your keyboard. Once you choose your song you can play the game in four different levels: Beginner (10% of the words are blank), Intermediate (25% of the words are blank), Advanced (50% of the words are blank) or Expert (100%!). This is a great activity that you can use in various parts of your lesson plan, but some key reminders first:
- Always have a purpose: It’s not enough to put a song on for your students. The song should have a language or grammar target allowing the student to discover, identify or reinforce something that you have on your curriculum and in your lesson plan.
- Choose the right song: Although this page identifies the level of the songs, remember to keep in mind your student’s likes in music. The wrong song can turn your student off and he’ll miss the point of the activity completely.
Now, as part of your lesson plan you could either include it:
- Before: Give as homework the class before, giving the students an active listening task such as identifying a certain part of speech, or tense.
- During: Use as a fun and competitive activity where you can split your classroom into teams (depending on the class size) to have students either prepare for the main activity or reinforce the target langauge in the lesson.
- After: Also given as homework to reinforce certain grammar or language already explained in class.
There are many ways to use music in the classroom and later on I’ll be going over a few of them so stayed tune!