One of the factors that influence the English Language Teaching and Learning in a highly positive manner is motivation. This is achieved via activities, which may be orientated towards creative and dynamic learning.
Songs are an extremely encouraging teaching material. When properly handed, besides creating the suitable environment for learning, songs make it more spontaneous andamusing.
To reach this aim it is necessary to adapt them to a teaching situation; that is, the teacher has to prepare a set of tasks to help the students develop both the language skills and the grammar and vocabulary, or at least to help them understand the lyrics.
There are many different ways to make a song become an interesting and enjoyable learning tool, to exploit the grammar, thevocabulary and the language skills involved in singing.
Musical stories: the teacher can dictate a sentence such as “He turned and looked at her” and ask the students to continue the story based on the music they listen to as they write. If they do this twice, once with sad nostalgic music, once with bouncy cheerful music, they will produce radically different narratives which can be read out forthe class to guess which bit of music provoked it.
Film music: students can watch a silent clip from a film and say what music they would put with it before hearing the clip with sound and seeing if they and the composer agreed! We can also play students a piece of music and ask them to describe the film scene it puts in their mind.
Responding to mood etc: students can listen to musicalextracts and say what colour the music is, what mood it describes, how “hot” it is, where they would like to hear it and who they would like to have with them when they are there. This often provokes lively discussion about how different people respond.
Describing people and events: students can listen to pieces of music which are intended to describe people or events, e.g. Prokofiev’s Juliet,Tchaikovsky’s “death of Tybalt” music, or Benjamin Britten’s storm music from Peter Grimes. They can then say what they thought they heard.
Extra words: teacher writes in extra words in the song. Students listen and cross out the extra words.
Correct: teacher changes some words in the song. Students listen and correct the mistakes.
Ordering: an alternative to ordering cut up lines from a songon their desk, is for a line from the song to be given to each student on a piece of paper. They listen to the song and as they hear their line they come to the front of the class and stand in the order their line appears.
Counting: students count how many times a given word or phrase is repeated.
Stand up : students are all given one or two words and stand up when they hear them. They canonly sit down when they hear their word again.
Bingo: teacher tells students the title of the song and students complete a bingo grid with words they predict will he in the song. Students then listen to the song and tick their words if they hear them. The winner is the one who has crossed out the most words.
Categorise: students listen for words in given categories, i.e. colours / places.
Write a letter: students write a letter to one of the characters in the song e.g. of advice to someone who has problems; a love letter.
A new verse-: students write a new verse trying to keep the same style and rhythm of the song.
Illustration: students draw a picture to represent one part of the song. Others guess which part and remember the words to accompany it.
Below there are ideasthat can be applied to motivate students through music. You may make changes according to the level of your students.
Enjoy singing and learning!
Listen to the song below. Cross out the extra words
1. Close your eyes,
2. Give me your hand, darling
3. Do you feel my poor heart beating?
4. Do you understand?
5. Do you feel the same?
6. Am I only dreaming?