Using Music in ESL/EFL Class

Credit: goonerua, Freepik

Who doesn’t enjoy listening to music? Everybody does. It would be a bonus if you listen to songs and you can learn English at the same time. This article will discuss how you can improve your English through listening to songs.

Using music in ESL/EFL class has many benefits for the teacher and students, such as improving memory and concentration, motivating learning, and most importantly, it makes learning fun. There are many techniques for using music in class, so let’s look at some of the methods.

Vocabulary and Grammar

Song gap fills are an excellent way to introduce vocabulary and grammar. They make students more interested in the language and help provide the students with a context. It’s easy to find songs that use certain vocabulary or grammar by searching online. When you do a song gap fill in class, you can make it into a game by splitting the class into teams and numbering each missing word. After listening to the song a few times, you can award points for each correct word and spelling. Many classes in ESL/EFL are also topic-based. When you are introducing a new topic in class, try doing a song gap fill related to the topic, e.g. Christmas, love, etc. This helps to introduce not only the topic but any related vocabulary.

Idioms and Slang Expressions

Music can also be used when you are teaching idioms and slang expressions. Music contains a lot of slang expressions and idioms, so students can learn a lot of new language and expressions by listening to these songs. These types of songs also help to generate class discussion about the meaning of a song.

Music Games

Music can be used in games to liven up the class and signify when a round starts and ends. Please check ESL Music Games page for games that can be played with music.

Speaking Activity by Presenting the Meaning of the Lyrics

If you have a particularly outgoing class, you may wish to hold a singing or lip-syncing contest. Students could also explain the meaning of their chosen song before they perform. Getting the students to try writing rap songs is another great activity, and it gets the students to use different word formations. The students also get to try rhyming for themselves.

Nursery Rhymes for Young Learners

If you teach young learners, singing songs together has many benefits. Kids love to sing, and they can learn a lot of language in just a few classes. You can use songs to teach vocabulary, such as ‘Old McDonald had a farm’ for teaching animals. You can also use songs to teach the alphabet, to indicate transitions from activity to activity, etc. Have a look online for kid’s songs and match them with the level of your class.

There are many benefits to using songs to learn English. Now you can create a new playlist and search the lyrics on Google to get new vocabulary, improve your listening skills and share the songs with your friends.

Source: “Using Music in ESL/EFL Class” Teach This, Teach This Limited Hong Kong,

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