Songs in the Classroom Music is an amazing phenomenon; it
Music is an amazing phenomenon; it holds the power to sway emotions, recall memories, and invoke understanding. Music has often been used as an effective learning tool in many classroom environments. In the EFL classrooms, music and songs can provide invaluable depth and knowledge for students.
Music and songs can create a non-threatening environment for students. Students often feel intimidated when they are asked to speak aloud in a classroom setting (Lo and Li, ' 1). When asked to speak, students are terrified of making mistakes; therefore, they will be too nervous to answer, or they may give an incorrect answer, causing them to look foolish before their classmates. Songs give students an opportunity to practice their spoken English in a way that is familiar and comfortable to them. Music can also serve as a non-threatening transition from the students' native language to English. One teacher plays English music as her students enter the classroom, signifying that they are entering 'her world,' and it sets the classroom apart from their world (Uchida, ' 3). By making a definite transition from the outside world into the classroom, the teacher provides the students with an environment that is more conducive to learning. The students are forced to note the transition when they hear music and words being sung in another language; the music plays in stark contrast to the sounds of their own language being spoken around them. By entering this new place with a new language, students' minds are told that they should be speaking this new language, and they should feel more relaxed as they are speaking.
Songs in the classroom can also be used to teach language structures and cultural values. Music can increase retention while being used as a tool for grammar structures and vocabulary (Abbot, p. 11). Simple songs can present new grammar structures and vocabulary words in a context that is easy for students to remember. While most students will forget every instruction or lesson they hear in class, they tend to remember songs even years after they are finished with their studies. By providing students with songs, teachers give these students knowledge that will last far beyond the classroom atmosphere. Perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of English phonology is rhythm and stress in speaking. Through songs and chants, students can be taught these complicated rhythms, and they can use these lessons to become more fluent in English (Rosenthal, p. 139). By listening to these rhythms and stressed syllables in a controlled setting, students begin to learn the method of stressing and rhythm in the English language. As they become more familiar with this phonology, they begin to feel more comfortable incorporating these methods into their regular speech. In addition to vocabulary, grammar, rhythm, and stress, music can also be used as a tool to teach Western culture to students (Sarikoban and Metin, ' 4). By using songs, students are able to explore themes of human interaction, moral values, and emotion. Listening to music from another culture can open the students' minds to a wider variety of people. By listening to and learning lyrics to English songs, students are able to compare their culture to those in the West. Sometimes, comparing the cultures serves to show that the cultures are more alike than they are different, increasing the students' desire to learn the language. Music in the classroom serves as more than mere entertainment for students. It can be used as a tool to teach reading, listening, speaking, and writing. Students can relate easily to music, as it is already a part of their lives, but learning songs in another language can also introduce new themes of culture to them, not only increasing their classroom learning experience, but also increasing their knowledge of the world beyond their classroom.