Songs in the ClassroomLanguage has many elements of music within it. When we speak there is a natural melody in our words. Speech has rhythm and cadence, accents and dynamics. Sometimes we speak in short staccato syllables and sometimes in smooth legato phrases. The voice itself has a harmonious quality that makes it either pleasant or painful to listen to, depending on the speaker. It seems only natural that we should take advantage of these similarities and use music when we teach english
The use of songs in english
lessons can greatly aid students in learning. There are many songs written specifically for the english
learner. They can help the student learn the alphabet, vocabulary, grammar structures and just about anything to do with the english
language. Many of these songs are available on the internet. For example, the songs 'The Counting Song', and 'ABC Song' from SuperSimpleSongs1 are superb for teaching the numbers one thru ten and the letters of the alphabet. The 'CBA Song' from Songdrops2 is excellent since it has the alphabet in reverse combining this element of Brain Gymnastics with music to teach the alphabet. The songs 'Days of the week' from SuperSimpleSongs and 'Die Jahresuhr' by Rolf Zuckowski,3 (when translated into english
), are wonderful for teaching the days of the week and the months of the year. These are just a few examples of songs written specifically to teach english
numbers, letters and vocabulary.
There are many sites on the internet that have songs for teaching english
grammar. These songs cover structures such as articles, verb tenses, adverbs and adjectives, conditionals and idioms etc. They often come with a prepared worksheet or guidelines showing how the teacher can prepare materials for class. The teacher may want to prepare the worksheet themselves so that they can tailor it to the needs of the students. Many of these songs have movement or rhythmic activities that go along with them. These are good to get the students out of their seats and to get oxygen flowing to their brains.
It is also possible to use popular songs to teach english
language. Popular songs have the advantage of having a great deal of appeal to students. Students will be highly motivated to understand the lyrics of these songs. Rap songs, for example, are especially good for teaching modern slang. A disadvantage of using popular songs is that the vocabulary or grammar being learned may be present only in a short part of the song. Still they are valuable since they expose students to the english
language. For advanced students of english
this may not be a problem since they are able to understand many different aspects of grammar and have a larger vocabulary.
S. M. Jyothirmayee states, "A good thing about songs is that teacher can expose the students to many different kinds of english
like British english
, American english
, Caribbean english
etc; and a variety of types and formats of Western Music like Gospel music, Soul music, Rhythm and blues (R&B) Pop music, Rock and roll, Reggae, Jazz. Through these varieties, teachers can introduce not only various accents but also vocabulary and its usage. english
has thousands of words. To speak good english
, one needs to learn collocations, idioms, commonly-used expressions, and phrasal verbs".4
Teachers who wish to use songs in their english
lessons should search the internet. Many of the resources are free to use or are available for members of the website. Some websites require a nominal charge for membership while others are advertising to sell their educational materials. These sites often have free samples of their materials which a teacher can use. Members of the website have the right to download songs and materials or buy a CD/CDROM with them. Joining a website is a simple process which involves filling out a form and providing an email address. Many of these internet companies are private, however there are also some public sites such as 'learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org', or 'cambridgeenglishonline.com' which are very useful.
Teachers should not be afraid of using songs in their english
lessons. They don't have to sing themselves, although it is a good idea to do so. Simply using songs as a listening activity will broaden their lessons.
3. Rolf Zuckowski, "Die Jahresuhr" Rolf's Liederkalender (Sikorski 1143),
4. S. M. Jyothirmayee, english
Music: An Effective Tool to Teach/Learn english
Language. Journal of technology for ELT, July 2011, ISSN 2231-4431, (https://sites.google.com/site/journaloftechnologyforelt/archive/july2011/english