Using music for ESL listening activities in class can help students of all ages develop their listening comprehension skills. Here is a fun song lyrics listening activity that you can use with any type of song. You can use YouTube or play the tune from your phone for the students to listen to.
Student Level: IntermediateKids, Adults
Song Lyrics Listening Activity Preparation:
Find a song that most of your students would be interested in. If you choose a song that only you like, then it could defeat the purpose of the exercise if nobody except you actually enjoy the music.
After finding a song that everyone will like, search online for the lyrics to the song. There are a number of lyric websites where you can download it from. Going directly to the artist’s website will most likely have the lyrics to all of their albums as well.
Put the lyrics into a Word document or other text editor program and omit some of the words from the lyrics to create a blank-fill activity. Create the handout for your students so you’re prepared to give it to them during the class.
Song Lyrics Listening Activity Guidelines:
To start the activity you may want to have a pre-discussion about the artist or the themes of the song that you are going to play.
To activate schemata, you could also have a general conversation about the students’ favorite musicians and bands. The teacher can highlight some of his or her favorites and get some of the students’ opinions. Alternatively, you could also show a music video or a music video compilation on YouTube to stimulate more interest as well.
The next step is to play the song you have selected for the activity. If you are using Youtube to play the song, have them listen and watch the music video first, then get them to discuss what they thought of it afterward. Encourage them to express their opinions about it.
Next, give them the handout of the blank-fill activity. Tell them to listen again a second time and try to fill in the blanks with the words that they hear. Play it a second time if necessary if they missed a few of the blanks.
In pairs, have the students compare their answers with each other and get them to help each other fill in any missing blanks in the lyrics. Lead feedback and correct any spelling of the words if necessary.
Follow-Up ESL Activities:
Explain any difficult vocabulary from the song lyrics listening activity and get them to practice using some of the keywords from the lyrics in discussion. If you want, have the students discuss what they thought about the song, its message and expand it into different topics for conversation activities afterward. In addition, you could print out the lyrics and have the students create questions based on the song as highlighted in the Q&A Reading Activity to develop reading comprehension skills.