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.

Click here for video and activity

Learning English with songs · phonetics

Listening Intermediate B1: 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. In this Learning English with songs, you can learn a couple of colour idioms and other expressions related to feelings as well as doing some phonetics.

CLICK FOR ACTIVITY

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
Learning English with songs

If You Don’t Know Me by Now

The British pop/soul band, Simply Red covered this song in 1989 and it became their second best-known hit after reaching number 1 in U.S. The original track was recorded in 1972 by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff.

Here the aim of listening to this song is to become aware of the first conditional, which is actually the title of the song. The song also has some very useful expressions  related to a romantic relationship between a couple that are arguing. Although it is a very old song, I chose it because it is easy to understand, but as I always say to my students, be careful with some of the expressions that are grammatically incorrect, like double negatives, but are often used in colloquial speech.

Click for listening activity
A2 · B1 · B2 · Grammar · Learning English with songs

2nd conditional: If I were a Boy

Listening to Beyoncé’s song ‘ If I were a boy’ not only is a nice way to introduce conditionals, but also invites one to think about what the person is trying to say when she finally says ‘but you’re just a boy’.

For this listening I would suggest trying to make a list of all the things the person would do if she were a boy and after, try to make out her reasons for saying this.

B1 · Learning English with songs

Henry VIII and his six wives

Divorced, beheaded and died. Divorced, beheaded and survived…

Henry VIII is one of the most famous kings in English history. He was most famous for his six wives and for having caused a breach with the Church of Rome.

This is a famous song about his six wives that talks about what happened to each one of them. The song is quite humorous even though, I agree on the fact that none of Henry’s six wives may have found the song particularly amusing.

Here’s a link to the song by Horrible Histories and if you are interested in learning some British history, I have also included a link from the BBC website.

Click for song

Click for history

A2 · B1 · Learning English with songs · Pre-intermediate A2 listening activity

Listening to ‘Hey Brother’ by Avicii

Hey Brother by Avicii

I posted this song as one of the first activities on the blog. Today, sadly, we no longer have Avicii among us. RIP Avicii

I love this song  because it talks about the special bond that exists between brothers and sisters. Although I must say that I always find it very hard to watch the video because it makes me quite sad. Even so, I think it’s a great song where you can learn conditional structures and expressions related to daily life problems and relationships.

Listen to the song, and see how many correct answers you get.

Click for activity