These ideas were shared by participants who attended this session at the 2012 CLTA conference during the opening activity of the workshop. They answered the questions by leaving their ideas on post-it notes by each question before the workshop started.


What activities do you like to have students do while they are listening?
  • Enjoy it: appreciate, understand, learn
  • cloze (fill in missing words)
  • drawing lyrics
  • highlight/underline words they know or recognize
  • check off words they hear (from a list)
  • listen for cognates
  • activities to help students pay attention to syllables and phrases or words
  • sing and do movements
  • make a bookmark about song


What's your favorite place to find new music in your target language?
  • Pandora
  • YouTube
  • phschool.com (for Realidades textbook)
  • iTunes
  • family, friends
  • students
  • Zabombazo


What are some of the benefits of using music in the classroom?
  • Puts me in a good mood and gives my voice a break
  • Students have fun
  • Students remember concepts because music aids memory
  • Students engage other parts of the brain
  • Students remember "corny" songs; they complain at first but ask to revisit them all the time.
  • Vocabulary retention
  • Authentic culture and vocabulary
  • Great for students pronunciation

What's your favorite way to prepare students to listen to a song?
  • Like reading, do anticipatory (pre-listening) activities
  • Put vocab from song in pictures
  • Relate vocabulary and/or theme to the lives of students
  • Give them context regarding the singer and the song, as well as culture
  • First, I show a video clip of the song. Then I make them listen to the song only without the clip. Depending on the grammar lesson or objective, I use the lyrics in different ways.
  • Play the song in the background days in advance.
  • Show the video silently and discuss
  • I provide the lyrics and I sing it for them first, very slowly.
  • As a reward at the end of the lesson or end of the week.

How do you prefer to check for and/or build your students' comprehension of the song?
  • Have them ask me about the song
  • Worksheets; have students answer questions about the song right away. If done on paper, I like to collect it and stamp it right away.
  • Students make bookmarks about the song; visual representations and/or sentence strips (they may do this individually or in groups depending on the focus of the activity and the teacher's goals for the lesson).
  • Short project: fold paper in 8 parts and students choose eight lines from the song to draw, one in each box
  • Physical response (act it out, touch the object referred to in the song)

What are some of the challenges of using music in the classroom?
  • Is the song "cool" or "dorky"?; My students don't like the music I choose; hard to find good, relevant music for high schoolers
  • Reluctant students at times
  • My neighbor complains it's always too loud in my classroom
  • Sometimes goes too fast; lyrics not comprehensible
  • Finding age- and school-appropriate songs
  • Kids get too excited and can't go back to the lesson
  • Not all students sing if I want them to.
  • Vocabulary too advanced for lower levels
  • Understanding how to teach the song
  • Students want to know the meaning of each word--this takes a lot of time.
  • Student don't want to listen to the song two or three times if they do not know the meaning or message of the song.

How do you use songs to practice language concepts.
  • Grammar and culture in context
  • I use music to teach the alphabet, days of the week, months, conjugations, prepositions, etc.
  • I have students identify the nouns, adjectives, verbs, or adverbs in the lyrics.
  • I use the lyrics to teach poetry too.
  • Sing vocabulary and grammar
  • pronunciation
  • Question words
  • Expanded projects


What are some ways you use song lyrics to inspire students to be creative in the target language?
  • emphasize use of adjectives
  • how the music makes them feel
  • students make their own lyrics an sing them with familiar melody
  • give students some key vocabulary and they make their own lyrics
  • how to use iTunes/garage band
  • Changing words in song to create new song
  • help students use natural, colloquial expressions found in songs
  • students create songs and raps to help them memorize expressions
  • students listen to songs already created to help remember grammar points, vocabulary.
  • Sentence frames