Teaching English with Songs There are many great songs in English
There are many great songs in English that can be used to teach certain aspects of grammar, vocabulary, culture and idioms just to name a few possible uses. A teacher needs to be careful of using only old songs, especially if the students are more in tune with modern English music. There will always be classic songs from The Beatles, Bob Dylan, The Who and others that can be used. The challenge for the modern teacher is to be aware of the current music and teaching possibilities from new songs. Teaching idioms is one of the easiest topics to find new songs to use. It is hard not to listen to a new pop or rock song and not find some idiom used. For example Bon Jovi's new song 'Who Says You Can't Go Home' uses several idioms including the recycled 'born a rolling stone.' Teaching culture relevance is also relatively easy with folk artists and musicians like Bruce Springsteen and his new song 'My City's In Ruins.' There are always artists, like Neil Young, who are writing songs to challenge society and thus these songs become great tools in teaching culture relevance. In fact using Neil Young's 'Southern Man' and Lynard Skynner's 'Sweet Home Alabama,' would be a great pair of songs to explore America of thirty years ago and why these two songs are still popular today.
Carbon Leaf's 'This is My Song,' is a wonderful song to teach abstract nouns. 'My name is Luck, this is my song' I hope good things swing your way. I know they will, here's your horseshoe, so best of luck to you. ' My name is Hope, luck just ran out. ' Oh I happen to have a message from Love''. With this song a teacher can have students personify other abstract nouns by creating messages from them to us.
Using a variety of genres early within the course can help the teacher discover what appeals to the majority of students without sacrificing the actual teaching. Also using different genres can exposure the students to different styles and use within the English Language. The diversity can be as easy as playing a country western song for one lesson and a rap in the next lesson. Diversity of genres can also be used to teach the same lesson in radically different ways.
Once a song is decided on for a particular lesson there are many ways to use this song in the actual teaching process. Teachers can use the song to have the students fill in missing lyrics or rewrite lyrics and compare them. Parts of songs can be used to study the grammar involved. Meaning and use of words can be discussed and well as using the song to increase general vocabulary.
The possibilities are endless when using songs to teach English. There are many old classics that can do the job but there are also many modern songs that may be more relevant and known by the students. Some classics to use can be The Bangles, 'Walk like an Egyptian', and Eternal Flame, Billy Joel's 'Piano Man', Bob Seger's 'You'll Accompn'y Me,' and most anything by Tom Petty. New songs as those mentioned here also have much potential in helping to teach English.
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