Are you ready to embark on your latest journey towards mastering the English language? We all know that music is there for us through the ups and downs. Everyone has a song which reminds them of a special person or place. In other words, music is everywhere! So, can using music to learn English take your skills up to the next level?

Just like there are different songs for different occasions, music can help your English in many ways. It can introduce vocabulary, consolidate grammar and improve pronunciation. That is to say, it can help in just about every way! And the best thing… It’s a lot easier to remember a catchy lyric from a song than a sentence from a textbook!

In this blog we’ll look at how you can use music to improve your English. So, get your playlists and notebooks ready for a world where language and lyrics collide! Let’s go!


Websites and apps for music-based learning


First of all, a great place to start is Lyrics Training. It’s basically a cross between karaoke and a gap-fill activity. Search for a song, listen along and read the lyrics, and when a gap appears, write the missing word. A fantastic way to practise reading, listening and spelling.

We all love singing along to our favourite songs. But, have you ever wanted to delve deeper and discover what the song is about? Multimedia-English can help you! It allows you to read the lyrics while you listen, learn definitions of difficult vocabulary and see how to pronounce words. You can also explore the inspiration behind the song. We enjoyed learning more about The Whole of the Moon by The Waterboys. Try it too!

We all agree that reading helps us with our English. But, it’s easier when we find the text interesting. Well, there’s a simple solution: search for your favourite artist on AllMusic. Read their biography, browse reviews and follow recommendations. You may even discover someone new!

Don’t stop there! See how much you know about music. Try a music quiz on Sporcle. Then, try to guess the intros on Song Trivia. It’s all reading practice!


Get creative with music


One of the things we love about music is creativity. What inspired the songwriter to create such a powerful story? Well, unless we’re going to knock on the door and ask them, we’ll have to use our imaginations. However, that’s where the fun really starts!

How about choosing a song with a mysterious element and playing the role of a detective? For example, Red Right Hand by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds. This song lends itself well to the world of crime. So, why not write a newspaper article about the mysterious man with the red right hand?

You could take a break-up song like Can’t Stand Losing You by The Police and write a response to it. Give the other person in the song a voice! How about writing a sequel to the story in Such Great Heights by The Postal Service? What happens after the lovers meet?

These creative activities work well alone, but even better when you can listen to your friends’ ideas too. One of the best things about music is sharing. We love sharing playlists. So, why not take it one step further and collaborate on a playlist together and share your creative ideas?


Self-study with music


Listening and comprehension


Of course, when we listen to music we’re practising our listening skills, aren’t we? Well, yes, but how can we maximise this? It’s a good idea to choose songs with clear lyrics and themes. In other words, the slower the song, the easier it is to understand what’s being sung.

However, this doesn’t always work. Acclaimed songwriters like David Bowie and Joni Mitchell often sing at a pace that everyone can generally understand, but their lyrics can be difficult to decipher. On the other hand, artists like Marvin Gaye and Kate Bush, who are known for their vocal abilities, sometimes use much simpler lyrics.

The key is to choose something you like and stick with it. If a song is on a loop in your head, focus on that song. If you only know the chorus, only focus on the chorus – it’s a great place to start. Then, listen back and try to understand the story behind the song lyrics.

Likewise, you could use song lyrics as a mini grammar activity. For example, how many examples of the past simple can you spot in America by Simon and Garfunkel? What conditional structure can you see in The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song by The Flaming Lips?


Vocabulary building


Just like reading books, analysing song lyrics is a superb way to learn new words and expressions. Moreover, you will see them used in a creative context. Especially colloquial expressions. However, it is a sensible idea to be totally sure of the meaning before using the expressions in formal situations.

Just as you take notes in class, do the same with your favourite songs. Create a vocabulary list of new words and expressions and practise using them in sentences.


Pronunciation and speaking


Singing karaoke is a fantastic way to showcase your vocal abilities. However, don’t limit yourself to karaoke bars. Let your housemates hear you belting out your favourite song when you’re in the shower. If they tell you to be quiet, just tell them you’re practising English!

Whenever you’re singing along to your latest jam, you’re also practising pronunciation, intonation and rhythm. Even better, it’s authentic! However, if your housemate tells you you should hear yourself, it’s a good idea to take his/her advice. Why? Well, just as you give your teacher your written work to check for mistakes, you should do the same with your pronunciation practice. Record yourself singing and listen back to it. Then, you can check for areas to improve and possibly discover you have a beautiful singing voice… Or maybe not!


Final thoughts


So, you now know music can help you by:

✔ consolidating grammar

✔ introducing new vocabulary in context

✔ giving you authentic material to practise pronunciation and listening skills

✔ providing a springboard for more creative ways to practise English

On top of all of the links we’ve suggested, there is a world of music out there waiting for you to discover it. When you find something you like, share it with a classmate. Music is an effective and enjoyable tool for language learning. Moreover, the world would be a much quieter place without it!

Don’t stop yet! Check out these blogs for more ways to improve your English!

10 Ways To Learn English At Home

7 of the Best Apps for Learning English Grammar

How To Improve Your English Using Netflix

Improve your English pronunciation by mastering these 10 tricky words

Share your favourite songs with your classmate and teacher – find the class to suit your needs!

Glossary for Language Learners


Find the following words in the article and then write down any new ones you didn’t know.

Catchy (adj): easy to remember.

Cross between (n): combination of.

Delve (v): search in order to find information.

Knock (v): repeatedly hit something, producing a noise.

Lend itself to (id): be suitable for.

Break-up (n): end of a romantic relationship.

Acclaimed (adj): respected.

On a loop (id): on rotation.

Superb (adj): excellent.

Showcase (v): show the best qualities of something.

Belt out (pv): sing loudly.

Springboard (n): starting point for providing an opportunity to achieve something.


v = verb

id = idiom

n = noun

adj = adjective

pv = phrasal verb

Leave a Reply

Captcha *