Learning English with songs

Avicii Feeling Good

Good morning! Today’s Monday and many of you may feel tired and not very motivated by the thought of starting a new week, but the funny thing is that some of us feel happy and full of energy because during the weekend we had time to think and plan new projects and Monday is the perfect day to set them to work. While I was writing an email, this song started playing on my computer and I thought that was just perfect to set people in a positive mood or sort of explain the feeling you have when you are happy and want to shout it out to the world. It’s another of Avicii’s wonderful songs Feeling Good. The lyrics deal with present simple, present continuous and vocabulary related to the natural world, so it’s suitable for students from A2 to B1 although you may want to see the pre-listening list of vocabulary below before doing the listening activity.

Vocabulary list

Breeze /bri:z/ = a soft wind – blossom /ˈblɒs.əm/= flowers on trees that become fruit – Dawn /dɔːn/= a period in the day just before the sun rises. Dragonfly  /ˈdræɡ.ən.flaɪ/ = large insect with four transparent wings that flies over water and can be of different colours like green or red. Butterflies (singular butterfly)  /ˈbʌt.ə.flaɪ/= an insect with large brightly coloured wings.

Billie Eilish Lovely (amazing cover)

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. Levels A1/A2

The Cure – Friday I’m in Love

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.

Click for Friday I’m in Love

David Bowie – The Man Who Sold the World

Here’s a song written by David Bowie back in the 70s that became very famous again when Nirvana performed their fantastic cover of it. It was hard for me to decide which version to use, because I love both of them, but since very few people know that Bowie wrote it, I eventuallydecided to use this one. The aim of this activity is to become familiar with the relative pronoun ‘who’ and to practise simple past verbs. There are two versions, one with the verbs in brackets and the second one without the verbs.

David Bowie – Heroes

Another incredible song by David Bowie (Did he ever do anything that was not worth while?). This song is for revising vocabulary from different topics dealt with in intermediate levels. It’s also a great way to hear a good sample of ‘will’ for future use as the song deals with a posssible future situation, where two people are involved, probably in being themselves, against all the odds. I hope you enjoy the activity.

This activity is also a homage to my brave students that come to classes despite having to almost freeze to death due to that classes must be held with all the windows open at that there will always be a risk of catching this virus that threatens to change our lives in such a drastic way.

Don McLean – Vincent (Starry, Starry Night)

This beautiful tribute to Vincent Vangogh provides us with the opportunity to learn and practise vocabulary related to the art world and nature.

Levels High C1 and C2

Doris Day Que Será Será

This song is great for lower levels to become familiar with ‘will’ for the future.

Fools Garden Lemon Tree

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

In no other way could I have started creating and uploading blog entries for this year, rather than placing this beautiful cover from 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.

JJ Halle Don’t Give Up Too Soon

Probably the most devastating problem in modern society is loneliness, which is even worse for the elderly. John Lewis Christmas advert aims to raise awareness of this situation. Hopefully, this touching ad will not only tug at people’s heartstrings, but will also make people understand how much we need each other, especially now in a year so full of isolation and anxiety.

Levels: A2, B1, B2

Created by blogdeserena

B1-B2 Listening Don't Give Up Too Soon

You are going to hear a song by JJ Heller, Don't Give Up Too Soon

Listen and fill in the gaps with the word(s) you hear.

Activity by Serena

The night is not so___

When you know how to fly

But when your wings are __
You start praying for the light
You start praying for the light
Please keep waiting for the __
Don't give up too soon

Jesus cares for every sparrow
I know he cares ____

Oh please, don't give up too soon

When you're left out in the open
You feel every drop of __

From every ___ that passes
Every hour of the day

Please keep waiting for the morning
Don't give up too soon
Jesus cares for every sparrow
I know he cares for you
Oh, please don't give up too soon

When it feels like you've __
To the bottom of a well

Oh, there is nothing ___
Than calling out for help
Please keep waiting
Hope is coming
Don't give up to soon
Jesus cares for every sparrow
I know he cares for you

Oh, please don't give up too soon
He __ with you
Don't give up too soon

Kamelot – The Sailorman’s Hymn

I’ve have removed some words related to the natural world from the lyrics of this beautiful song. Level B2

Katy Perry – 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.

Madonna – This Used to Be My Playground

This song by Madonna talks about a precious time in life, before reaching adulthood, when life did not have the complexities, that unfortunately seem to come into existence as one gets older.  It’s a good way to practise the structure ‘used to be’ to speak about things that belonged to the past and no longer happen. In this activity you will also have the opportunity to brush up on other structures that use ‘used to’. Level B1-B2


Created by blogdeserena

Learning English with songs Pre-listening Uprising by Muse

This is a pre-listening activity of the song Uprising by Muse

Follow the instructions.

Activity by Serena

Push drugs means...

To degrade somebody is...

If something takes its toll it...

To force something or somebody is ...

To dumb down means...

Which option has been correctly spelt?

Here Muse has given the idiom 'green belt' a metaphorical use refering to the mental state of humanity. What does this idiom usually mean?

Muse uses the idiom 'red tape' to speak about hidden issues. What does this idiom mean?

Your score is

The average score is 0%

Created by blogdeserena

Learning English with songs This Used to be My Playground Madonna

Listen and fill the blanks with the missing word according to what you hear.

Activity by Serena

This used to be my playground 
This used to be my____ dream

This used to be the place I ran to
Whenever I was in need
Of a_____

Why did it have to end
And why do they always say

Don't look ____

Keep your head held high
Don't ask them why
Because life is ___

And before you know
You're feeling old
And your heart is ___

Don't hold on to the past
Well that's too much to ask

This used to be my playground (used to be)
This used to be my childhood ____

This used to be the place I ran to
Whenever I was in need
Of a friend
Why did it have to end
And why do they always say

No ____

But I wish that you
Were here with me
Well then there's hope yet
I can see your ____
In our secret place

You're not just a _____
Say goodbye to yesterday (the dream)
Those are words I'll never say (I'll never say)

This used to be my playground (used to be)
This used to be our pride and ___

This used to be the place we ran to
That no one in the world could dare ____

This used to be our playground (used to be)
This used to be our childhood dream
This used to be the place we ran to
I wish you were ____here with me

This used to be our playground (used to be)
This used to be our childhood dream
This used to be the place we ran to
The best things in life are always ____
Wishing you were here with me

Your score is

The average score is 67%

Muse – Uprising

Muse image from Wikipedia

I love this song! Gives one such a feeling of power 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.

Pink Floyd Bike

This is a really hilarious song performed by Syd Barret. It’s a sort of wierd love song where the boy is wooing a girl offering her the few things that he has and sharing stories and facts about his daily life with her. The end of the song is quite scary and I can’t help wondering if the girl didn’t turn out to be the best company or ‘the type of girl that fits into his world’. I’m aware that some blog visitors will think me completely bonkers for using this song and that my students may even think that I’ve knocked my head on some hard surface (well I actually did a couple of months back, so that might explain everything!). Anyway, I think this song is absolutely fab for low levels and it’s SO English!

System Of A Down Lonely Day

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