The Internet TESL Journal

Music and Song in Discussion

Brian Cullen
brian [at]

As most teachers find out, students love listening to music in the language classroom. It can also be a teaching tool. Often students hold strong views about music and students who are usually quiet can become very talkative when discussing it.

In many cases, the teacher plays a song and leads a discussion on the meaning of the lyrics in a song. This can be effective, but this is just one of the many ways that music or song can lead to a fruitful discussion. Some of the other aspects of music and songs are outlined below. Any one of these can be the basis of a class discussion.



Many of the above meanings also apply to lyrics, but lyrics also have their own unique meanings.

Other Meanings


I have outlined only a few of the possible directions that discussions can take. Various other ideas are also available in the source books listed below.

Useful Source Books

The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. IV, No. 10, October 1998