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Top EFL Lesson Ideas Using Music Games

Updated on September 6, 2015
Using music in the EFL lesson is an effective way to  increase vocabulary
Using music in the EFL lesson is an effective way to increase vocabulary | Source

Let music help you teach English

Playing games with music and lyrics in the classroom for EFL students of all ages has so many benefits. If you play music at the beginning of the English lesson when the students enter the classroom, especially on a gray day, you will find that it really lifts the mood. As soon as the music stops, the students know that it’s time to start learning and usually have a smile on their faces because of the music, especially if it is a happy song!

With very young children, who generally love to sing along to music, this is a great way to learn some simple phrases, colours and numbers, and songs should be chosen according to the level and age of the students.

Music can play a really important part in the language classroom. It can change the atmosphere in the room within seconds

— British Council

The benefits of using music games in the EFL classroom:

  • Improves listening skills
  • Brightens the mood
  • Increases vocabulary
  • Reduces stress levels and boredom
  • Helps to introduce new topics

Here are some suggestions for games involving music that can be a fun and interesting way for your students to learn English:


1) Mimic the phrase

Mimic the phrase EFL game with music

Start the lesson with a short listening game and play a song phrase by phrase, pausing after each phrase. You don’t have to do the whole song in one lesson, just take a verse and a chorus for example. Stop the music and ask the class if they can repeat the phrase. You can write part of the phrase on the board to get them started, either the beginning or the end. It’s a good idea to use this game with young teenagers as they are often getting acquainted with the latest pop artists and therefore really like it when you play something from the modern genre. If the response is not great, ask the group to listen to this song for homework and try to learn a verse and the chorus and repeat it for the next lesson.

Choose slower songs where the words are not rushed for beginner levels. Good examples would be 'If I were a boy" by Beyonce, or 'Someone Like You' by Adele that use short phrases with space in between allowing the students some time to think, and that are also sung very clearly.

Using Music in EFL lessons brings new energy to the classroom
Using Music in EFL lessons brings new energy to the classroom | Source

2) Put the lyrics in order

Cut out each line of lyrics from a song making strips of paper and muddle them up on the table. Play the song and get the students to try and put the cut strips of lyrics in order. Depending how many students there are in the class, you may need two or more groups. You will need to repeat the song a few times for them to complete the exercise.

At the end, the group with the strips of lyrics in the best order wins. Try to find songs that tell stories and have lyrics with a natural flow. A good example is Ed Sheeran’s ‘Thinking Out Loud’

When your legs don't work like they used to before
And I can't sweep you off of your feet
Will your mouth still remember the taste of my love?
Will your eyes still smile from your cheeks?

And, darling, I will be loving you 'til we're 70
And, baby, my heart could still fall as hard at 23

And I'm thinking 'bout how people fall in love in mysterious ways
Maybe just the touch of a hand
Well, me - I fall in love with you every single day
And I just wanna tell you I am

So honey now
Take me into your loving arms
Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars
Place your head on my beating heart
I'm thinking out loud
Maybe we found love right where we are"

Filling in the gaps in the lyrics helps English students to develop their listening skills
Filling in the gaps in the lyrics helps English students to develop their listening skills | Source

3) Fill in the gaps

Take the lyrics from a song but delete certain words. Play the song to the students and get them to fill in the missing words. This can be completed as individuals or in small groups if the classroom is big enough so that each group can’t hear what the other is saying.

An example with the song "We are the world" – all the missing words are nouns. Tell the group to listen out for the nouns. This game can be played highlighting the verbs, nouns, adjectives, any word group in fact.

There comes a ____ (time) when we hear a certain ____ (call)
When the ____ (world) must come together as one
There are _____ (people) dying
And its ____ (time) to lend a ___ (hand) to life
The greatest ____ (gift) of all

We can't go on pretending ___ (day) by day
That someone, somewhere will soon make a ___ (change)
We are all a part of Gods great big ___ (family)
And the ___ (truth), you know
____ (Love) is all we need

We are the ____ (world), we are the ____ (children)

Use flashcards with words from the song for EFL music game
Use flashcards with words from the song for EFL music game | Source

4) Flashcard game

Pick out some key words from a song, say around 15, and especially words that are repeated.

  • Put these words on flash cards on the table or on a board.
  • Divide the students into two groups (putting them in a line) and play the song.
  • Ask the students to grab one of the flashcards if they hear the word in the song.
  • The group with the most cards wins. Each team member takes it in turn and once they have matched a word to a flashcard, they go to the back of the queue in their team.

Teach prepositions through music lyrics
Teach prepositions through music lyrics | Source

The Preposition game

Print out the lyrics of a song but leave a gap for every preposition. Get the students to fill in the gaps with the correct preposition before hearing the song. Then play the song and see if they are right. Students score a point for each correct preposition. At the end, make sure you go over the song again, and correct all errors so that the students learn the correct prepositions. Here is a good example using the song "Lucy in the sky with diamonds."

Picture yourself ___ a boat ___ a river
____ tangerine trees and marmalade skies
Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly
A girl ___ kaleidoscope eyes

Cellophane flowers___ yellow and green
Towering ___ your head
Look ___ the girl with the sun ___ her eyes
And she's gone

Lucy ___the sky with diamonds
Lucy ___ the sky with diamonds

Try Music Games in your EFL Lessons and see!

As soon as you start to introduce music and games involving music into your EFL lessons, you will notice a positive effect. Before you start to introduce music into the classroom, it's a good idea to do a survey and ask your group what music and artists they like. If it is music they are interested in, they will try harder to understand. Once the group is familiar with a few songs, you can even introduce a karaoke lesson at the end of term perhaps, or bring a guitar if you can play. Have fun.


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    • sujaya venkatesh profile image

      sujaya venkatesh 2 years ago

      I enjoy your way of teaching