November 3


Learning English Using Activities With Music

By Gordon Gaffney

November 3, 2021

Learning English Using Activities With Music

Are you passionate about music? Learning English using activities with music has never been as easy and fast as it is now, and your results will be incredible.

Learning English Using Activities With Music

Unlike learning English through classes or books, using music does not need a lot of effort to become a habit as it is all around us in our everyday lives. And best of all, it will only take a few minutes of your time to study English music activities and you'll still learn a lot.

You will be able to fit it into your routine without any problems, you can study on the way to work, while washing the dishes or even taking the dog for a walk.

Studying English with music is highly recommended for anyone who is a total beginner in the language or for those who already know a little, because you will be learning basic ready-made phrases, will increase your vocabulary and, above all, will greatly improve your pronunciation.

And all this while having fun listening to your favorite songs!

But if you already know how to get by with the language, keep reading because there are still many ways to learn listening to songs in English. 

But First, What To Remember When Learning English Using Activities with Music?

  • First look for popular songs that will be easier to find the lyrics on the Internet. A good tip is to always keep an eye on the most played songs at the moment.
  • Try to start with songs that are easy to understand the pronunciation of the singer. Pop songs, for example, have pronunciation that are much easier to understand. 

If you are already a little more advanced in English, you can try faster and more energetic songs to study, like Heavy Metal for example.

  • Study songs in English that you really like. Don't try to go deeper into your studies with a style of music, singer and/or band that you are not interested in because in the end you will end up bored instead of actually learning something. 
  • And, of course, if you don't like a certain rhythm or voice, there's always the possibility that you can hear a cover version that fits your style. Really popular songs usually have many covers in different styles, voices and rhythms. That's why it's always important to start looking for them. 
  • Keep in mind that songs are often full of slang, informal phrases and bad grammar, you can read more about these songs here. Don't try to repeat them in a formal setting like your college or work, for example. 
  • Choose one song a week to learn English with and, for the next seven days, study it thoroughly: its lyrics, what you can understand from what is being said, rewrite those lyrics on paper and of course repeat the song out loud.

How to Learn English with Songs?

  •  First, listen to the song without the lyrics available. Pay extra attention to the words, especially those that are repeated several times throughout the song. Pause a little at a time and try to repeat what was said.
  •  Quickly summarise the song you just listened to. What was the rhythm? how was the singer’s voice and performance? Did they tell a story? Try to remember as much detail as possible and comment on each one. 
  • Listen again but this time following the lyrics translated into your native language. Is what is being said the same as what you thought? If not, what did you do wrong or miss?
  • Use your voice. That's right: sing along to the song. Your pronunciation doesn't matter here. It may seem a little confusing at first, but if you follow this exercise you will see that your speaking will improve a lot. You will be practicing both your speech and your pronunciation.  
  • Listen very carefully to the music and write as much as you can understand about what is being sung on paper. Then compare with the official lyrics and see how it turned out. Did you get a lot right or a lot wrong? In the latter case, you will need to focus more on your listening.
  •  Read the lyrics in English and write down the words you don't know or don't remember the meaning of. Try to think about the context in which that word is used before using Google translator. Can you guess what it might mean?
  • Watch interviews with your favorite singer talking about their own music. Focus on the words he/she will use to describe the songs.
  • Sing what you can remember without reading the lyrics. The important thing is to make an effort to remember the words heard.
  • Focus on how verbs are used throughout the song. Is the verb in the past, present or future? Is it structured right or wrong on purpose?
  • Make a playlist of English songs you are interested in studying, and don't be afraid to replay and listen to them over and over again (the more the better).
  • Record your own voice. But don’t worry! If you're not comfortable with the idea of recording yourself singing, then try just reciting the lyrics of the song instead of singing. The important thing here is to exercise your speech. 

But Can You Achieve Advanced Level In English Studying With Music?

If you're already at a higher level in English and the tips above aren't working for you anymore, you can still keep studying with music!

  •  Start listening to rap songs in English

Rap is very popular nowadays, so if you love this music and you are intermediate or better and want to improve your English, you can start studying it. It can be challenging as the words are usually sung quickly, which can leave a beginner in the language completely confused.

However, the lyrics can be very interesting and you can learn a lot of slang which you might hear in everyday speaking. Listen and to try to guess what the words are, write down everything you could understand.

  • Listen or watch musical theatre movies or shows

They tend to vary in voice, accent, speed and rhythm that will give you significant increases in your language skills, especially comprehension.

Another very important point of musicals is the ability to tell complete stories through songs and in general the singer will have very good pronunciation.

You'll expand your vocabulary quickly and easily. Some popular musicals for you to study are: Hamilton: The Musical, La La Land: Singing Seasons, High School Musical, South Park: The Book of Mormon and many others for you to have fun while studying.

Whatever your taste, there will be a perfect musical for you to study English by listening to music.

  • Focus on difficult words

When you are satisfied with your basic speaking, and you can learn basic English phrases in an article coming soon, which means you can pronounce and construct sentences, then you can pay attention to those words that tie up your tongue when trying to say them out loud.

Also try to find out how to move your lips and tongue correctly when speaking these words. Google translator, for example, has this exact functionality. 

Some Recommended Songs For Learning English + Exercises For Each One

As the name says, this song is a good way to learn the expressions used to describe happiness. There are several important expressions, such as “[…] feel like a room without a roof” and “can’t nothing bring me down”. Try to understand what each one means. 

Great song to practice what you understand about the lyrics just by listening to it.

Shape Of You tells a story about the meeting of a man and a woman in a bar, and how their relationship progresses little by little.

“Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play.”… Pay attention to how the singer repeats the words over and over again throughout the song.

With repetitive lyrics, it is perfect to practice your speaking by repeating the words and singing along, in addition to having important terms and expressions. 

With a strong and beautiful theme, Halo is also great for your understanding of what the singer is trying to show, how she is feeling. Pay attention to the first stanzas as they are full of interesting words and phrases. 

As in Halo (Beyoncé), it's very important to keep an eye on the first few verses of this song. Take a few minutes to (without the translation) understand what the singer means by her verses, how she felt before and how she started to feel after. 

Another song with a little story to be told in the verses. Listen to it and try to understand what is happening. What is the singer trying to say?

Another positive point of this song is the often used contractions, as in the chorus passage “why you gotta be so rude?”. They are extremely common in ordinary conversations, so practice your pronunciation when singing along.

This is recommended for those who are looking to practice their speaking quickly and easily, as the verses in this song are often repeated, almost a single stanza for the entire song.

If you want to improve your English then you can visit our shop where we have our 2016 eBook "Eliminate the 63 Most Common Mistakes Portuguese Speaking People Make in English" for only €6.99.

You might also be interested in our video course on sale on Udemy for €29.99/69.99R$ "Eliminate the Mistakes that Portuguese Speakers Make in English". 4 hours of video exclusively for people that speak Portuguese. You can read more about it and watch free videos here.

You might also like to read 10 songs with Past Continuous and we have in here 7 songs with phrasal verbs and 7 songs with modal verbs.

Do you like to learn from songs? Leave your experience in the comments!

Gordon Gaffney

About the author

Gordon is The Irish English Teacher, creator of this blog and many products to help all students learning English as a second language, but with a focus on Portuguese speakers.

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