A2 · B1 · Learning English with songs · Listening

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. It wasn’t an easy task 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 eventually decided 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.

A2 · B1 · B2 · Learning English with songs

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.

John Lewis 2020 Christmas Advert Alternative by NimbusBeds.co.uk | Stop Loneliness at Xmas
B1 · B2 · Learning English with songs

Audioslave Be Yourself

Audioslave image from Mondo Sonoro

The aim of this song is to practise verbs after ‘someone’ as students often make mistakes with these forms.

The uplifting and optimistic lyrics in this song explore the bittersweet issues of life, perceived and experienced very differently by each individual, and where after all, nothing more can be done rather than accept whatever happens, and take it in our stride.

Someone finds salvation in everyone
Another only pain

It’s a great song although, it chokes me up a bit when I come to thinking about how Chris Cornell ended his life. Anyway, enjoy! wauwauwauwuawuawuawuawuawuawuawuawuawauwauwauwau…

B1 · B2 · Learning English with songs · Listening

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 engaged, 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 and that there will always be a risk of catching this virus that threatens to change our lives in such a drastic way.

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
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 and Intermediate, 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.