This free ESL lesson plan on music has been designed for adults and young adults at an intermediate (B1/B2) to advanced (C1/C2) level and should last around 45 to 60 minutes for one student.
Since the dawn of time, humans have created and enjoyed music. Music can help make us feel happy when we are feeling down, it can help energise us or it can simply help us to relax. Unless of course that music happens to be by Coldplay, in which case we may begin to feel a burning anger and throw our speakers out of the window. In this ESL lesson plan on music, students will have the opportunity to discuss and express their opinions on issues such as their favourite bands, what they know about different genres and issues in the music industry.
This lesson plan could also be used with your students to debate these issues for World Music Day, which takes place in June. For more lesson plans on international days and important holidays, see the calendar of world days to plan your classes for these special occasions.
Before the English class, send the following article to the students and ask them to read it while making a list of any new vocabulary or phrases they find (explain any the students don’t understand in the class):
The article puts into words what we all know to be true: that Coldplay are the worst band in the history of rock. Striving to be everything to everyone, and ending up being nothing to no one, this middle-class band have contributed only to the bank accounts of their record labels. Yes, yes, I know, everyone loves them and they are one of the most successful bands of all time, but that is exactly what makes them so bad! At the start of the class, hold a brief discussion about what the students thought about the article. What do they think about the issues raised in the article? Do they agree with what was said? Can they think of any ways they might disagree with the content of the article? Are Coldplay really the worst thing that’s happened to rock? (Yes)
To save time in class for the conversation activities, the English teacher can ask the students to watch the video below and answer the listening questions in Section 3 of the lesson plan at home. There are intermediate listening questions and advanced listening questions so teachers can decide which would be more appropriate for their students. Check the answers in the class.
The video for this class is called “The History of The Beatles” by WatchMojo which explores the history of one of history’s most important rock bands.
The focus in the class is on conversation in order to help improve students’ fluency and confidence when speaking in English as well as boosting their vocabulary.
This lesson opens with a short discussion about the article the students read before the class. Next, the students can give their opinion on the quote at the beginning of the lesson plan – what they think the quote means and if they agree with it. This is followed by an initial discussion on the topic including the best era for music, when the students most like to listen to music and if they have been to any music festivals.
After this, students will learn some vocabulary connected with music such as to get song stuck in your head, gig and one-hit wonder. This vocabulary has been chosen to boost the students’ knowledge of less common vocabulary that could be useful for preparing for English exams like IELTS or TOEFL. The vocabulary is accompanied by a cloze activity and a speaking activity to test the students’ comprehension of these words.
If the students didn’t watch the video before the class, they can watch it after the vocabulary section and answer the listening questions. Before checking the answers, ask the students to give a brief summary of the video and what they thought about the content.
Finally, there is a more in-depth conversation about music. In this speaking activity, students will talk about issues such as which type of music is popular in their countries, whether violent music can be blamed for violence in society and the effect streaming and downloading will have on the music industry.
After the class, students will write a review for a music album. This could be a short paragraph or a longer piece of writing depending on what level the student is at. The writing activity is designed to allow students to practise and improve their grammar with the feedback from their teacher. For students who intend to take an international English exam such as IELTS or TOEFL, there is an alternative essay question to practise their essay-writing skills.