Learning English as a foreign language is often about completing grammar exercises, learning vocabulary, writing letters, answering comprehension questions and other such ‘serious’ tasks. But what about the fun stuff? There are so many ways to incorporate English learning into your daily life without even opening a textbook and using music for EFL listening practice is one of them.
Lyrics in songs can helps you learn new words and expressions, while the melody can help those words stick in your memory. We have a few suggestions for musical EFL lessons and we’ve even found you an original new songwriting talent! So keep your ears open and read on…
Music is all around us, on the radio, in shops, in the car, at the pub – it’s actually hard to escape some kind of English language aural attack each day! So use it to your advantage – tune your ear in and improve your listening skills.
When looking to music for EFL listening practice, why not look for some songs to really give your ear something to grapple with, songs with lots of lyrics and an interesting storyline. A catchy rhythm or melody can be used to your advantage to help you remember the more difficult words.
In order to improve your English language skills, look out for rock and pop songs with lots of words and that tell a good story. There will be ideal artists under every genre, no matter what your musical taste.
For example, bluesy American rock group Grant Lee Buffalo and English pop star Lily Allen both offer some interesting lyrics for EFL practice.
There is also an intriguing songwriting talent we have recently discovered while browsing online for quality resources for our visitors. He is a bit of a musical enigma, known only as Pete, and his site is called Songs in a Bottle.
This songwriter offers lots original songs which are ideal for EFL listening practice. The songs have a fun retro style to them and all Pete’s music is free to listen to online.
Each song from songwriter Pete has its lyrics published alongside it too so you can read along while you listen. The vocals are very clear so they are perfect for non-native English students.
Just head to the site and enter by clicking on the bottle. To listen to a song and read its lyrics, simply click on the little arrow next to the song title.
This kind of free original music online is perfect for EFL students looking to improve their listening skills. Pete welcomes all visitors on his homepage with lots of salutations in different languages. Gracias Pete!
Other excellent options for EFL listening practice include famous 1960s Liverpool band The Beatles. The songs have simple lyrics and can help you learn common expressions.
Sometimes the lyrics in pop songs can be hard to understand due to the different pronunciation in singing than in speaking, so it is best to listen to a few different genres in order to find one which your ear can tune into.
While using music for EFL listening practice, it is best to keep a notebook next to you so you can write down any interesting phrases. This is a great way to learn new vocabulary and phrases from listening to pop songs and other types of music with lyrics.
During the song you can enjoy the English sounds and soak up the story, then afterwards go through the new words and phrases and use a dictionary to clarify exactly what they mean.
It can then be useful to go through and make up your own sentences using the new vocabulary. If you are musical, you could try writing your own lyrics to a song using English.
Which singers or groups do you recommend for EFL practice?
Do you know any other websites offering original music with lyrics that could be good for EFL listening practice?
Which songs do you think are best for learning English? Let us know in the comments!