Using Music in the EFL Classroom
by Theodora Pap
Using music in the classroom is not a new idea. Most EFL text books use songs at the beginning or end of a chapter, either for introducing a topic and the vocabulary or for consolidating what the students have already learned.
Lots of teachers use music to motivate their pupils, to make them relax, and frequently as a vocabulary activity. Most common uses of songs are cloze exercises: you just omit some words from the lyrics and tell students to fill them in while listening to the song. Or, if you want to make it more difficult, just let them write the words they think are suitable and then play the song. You can even cut the text of the lyrics out into strips of paper and give them to the students to put in the right order. You can also use songs as an introduction to a topic. Students listen and then talk about what they think. What was the situation, give their opinions, find solutions to the problems.
Songs are authentic material. They keep you up-to-date and allow you to teach students more than just language. Songs help you show students parts of the culture, current affairs, and the news of the world! Ethnic music and rap songs are ideal for that, even if students have to look up the slang in special dictionaries.
Another idea for creative writing is playing classical music to your students. Let them listen to a piece and tell them to close their eyes and imagine a place while listening to the music. They can keep notes, and after the music is over they can write an essay, a story, or a poem, which has inspired them.
Mime is also something students can do. They can invent ways to mime the new vocabulary that was in the song and present it to class. This can be really fun with all ages.
There are so many things a teacher can actually do when using songs. They make you creative, motivate students and create a great atmosphere in the classroom.