A1 · A2 · Learning English with songs

Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World Israel Kamakawiwo’ole

In no other way could I have started creating and uploading blog entries for this year, other than placing this beautiful cover by Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo’ole and his soothing ukele. It’s a song of hope, to which we all relate to during these times of troubles and worries due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But it’s even more than a song of hope. It’s a conviction, that somewhere, there is a better and more beautiful place where humans will find comfort and their problems will melt away like lemon drops. I really hope that some day soon, we find that hidden rainbow.

For this post I’ve set two listening activities where beginners can fill in the gaps with the words they hear. The first button is for verbs and the second button is the same song, but this time filling in the gaps with missing nouns.

C1 · Learning English with songs · Listening

Muse – Uprising

Muse image from Wikipedia

I love this song! Gives one such a feeling of power and recharges batteries. Maybe you like it as much as I do, so you might enjoy doing this listening activity and at the same time, finding out the meaning of some idioms and synonyms. First do the pre-listening activity and after you can do the sentence completion.

A1 · A2 · Learning English with songs · Listening

Cliff Richard & The Shadows – Summer Holiday

This is a good song for the present continuous and vocabulary related to holidays and having a good time. The first activity is a jumbled sentence listening and the second activity is a sentence completion. Levels A1/A2
A1 · A2 · B1 · Learning English with songs

Learning English with songs Lemon Tree

I was looking for a song with the present continous and I found this one, and it looks perfect for our isolation. and perfect for the present continous. The animation is really cute and you can see the lyrics and sing along like in a karaoke :D.

I really hope it cheers you up!

Song by Fools Garden.

TM Animations
B1 · B2 · Learning English with songs · Listening · phonetics

Learning English pronunciation with songs: I’ll Keep you Safe

A great way to learn English is watching a film, but the thing is, how many of us have the time to watch films these days? I mean, I can hardly remember the last time I was able to relax on my settee with this intention, let alone watching one in a foreign language!

Definitely, present-day duties just don’t seem to understand our needs, do they? So, unless we can plug vocabulary, stress patterns and pronunciation into our brains just like those guys did in The Matrix, we’ll need a backup plan.

Why not try listening to music? It’s easy and fun. You can do this, working, cooking, driving, walking the dog, writing or whatever (as long as it doesn’t make you get up and start dancing). Music can also teach us structures that we need to get our tongues around, and a great number of songs have really catchy tunes that we’ll enjoy trying to understand and even learn.

Here I’ve exploited the soundtrack from the movie Up by Disney. The song is I’ll Keep you Safe by Sleeping at last. It´s a wonderful song along with a beautiful video (watch out! It could make you quite emotional! ) and although the title is great for dealing with ‘will’ used for promises, here  I’ve exploited it to practise some of the English sounds and to help students become more familiar with phonetic symbols. If you haven’t  seen anything about phonetics yet, you may want to brush up a bit on them before doing the activity (you’ll find plenty of introductory activities if you click on the menu Phonetics and English sounds).

Anyway, hope you enjoy the lesson.

PS If you don’t see me around much lately, it’s just that I’m SO STRESSSSSSSSSSSSSEDDDD OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUT!!!!!!!!!!!

Click for the activity

A2 · B1 · Learning English with songs

Jeff Lynne’s ELO When I Was a Boy

The song I have chosen here is  a song by Jeff Lynne ‘When I was a boy’ to learn how to speak about the past, the dreams and the hopes we had as children. As the lyrics say, the person singing says that as a boy all he really wanted to do was to pick up his guitar and play music. Money wasn’t important because there were other things that made him happy, like listening to the radio and dreaming about his future.

What dreams did you have when you were a child?

Idioms · Learning English with songs

Listening activity Upper intermediate B2: Katy Perry’s Roar

This song’s real fun! Makes you feel good and strong and ready for almost any of the daily battles we come across.

This song by Katy Perry is about overcoming a bad situation in life, may that be at work, in a romantic relationship or a challenge we had set ourselves and somehow failed to achieve. It is about a person who used to accept a situation, even though she was not happy about it, but one day,  felt tired of feeling this way and decided to face her problems and sort them out. I think it’s definitely a very motivational and inspiring song.

The video is quite funny and has used the cliché of Tarzan (King of the Jungle), but in a humerous way, representing the typical things Tarzan did ( like killing crocodiles or any other animal in sight), however, adapting them to the female role represented in the video.

Here I’ve used the video for the purpose of learning some expressions and idioms related to problems and relationships. I hope you enjoy it.

Learning English with songs · phonetics

Learning English with songs Friday I’m in Love

Robert_Smith_of_The_Cure_live_in_Singapore_1_August_2007

This great song by the British band The Cure really puts one in a happy mood and I must say, that it doesn’t matter how old the song is or how many times you hear it, it’s always smashing.  Apparently the song was written in response to press criticism  accusing the group of being incapable of writing anything cheerful (if you want to know what  the press meant by this,  look for their song ‘Lullaby’, even though I don’t agree).  The meaning of the song is not clear. Some say it’s about love, some say it’s about enjoying Friday more than being in love with a person they probably meet on  this day, and some people even go a bit further in their interpretation (there may be minors reading this post, so I’ll leave this to your own imagination). Whatever conclusion you arrive at, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it anyway. There are different activities for this song. The first two are for basic levels, to learn days of the week and discriminate sounds. An intermediate level is for learning some colour idioms as well as filling the blanks with missing vocabulary from different fields.

Learning English with songs

Listening Upper intermediate B2: Five Finger Death Punch – Wrong Side Of Heaven

Those that know me well know how much I hate unfair situations, war, greed, etc. For this ‘learning English with songs’ activity I have chosen this powerful song by Five Finger Death Punch (those that know me also know how much I love all types of rock music!). This song is about how veterans of war feel when returning home, with deep feelings of guilt and needing psychological treatment (at the least!), only to encounter a country that has turned its back on them. Thus, this song denounces one of the many destructive effects that war has on people’s lives.

Click for quiz