I absolutely love using music every day in class. I think music is a great jumping point for cultural discussion and comparisons, simple cultural exposure, and often vocabulary and grammatical connections as well. Sometimes, it’s just fun. The other benefits are a bonus!
There are so many ways to work music into your class daily. There are some time-consuming but valuable ways, and there are quick and seamless ways that are also valuable. For me, I like to try a little of everything. Just hearing music every day makes me happier. Happy teacher = happy class, right? 😉
Some ideas are a bigger commitment, but worth it! Last year, my classes participated in two music competitions:
- “Manía Musical” This music competition was organized by Mis Clases Locas during National Foreign Language Week
- “Locura de Marzo” Señor Ashby organizes a WORLDWIDE music competition with tense of thousands of voters. He provides all of the links/resources/voting for you for free online, which is pretty amazing!
You don’t necessarily need a big competition to integrate music into your classes!
- Before class– As I am in the hallway greeting my students, music is playing inside the room. Students love walking into a welcoming environment with music playing. I allow it to continue through my attendance/homework check, and stop it when we are ready to go over the warm-up.
- During transition time– Do you give your students a few minutes in between activities? Do you ever have students engage in lessons that take a little bit of set-up? This is a great time to play a quick song or music video.
- During independent work– I often have music playing *quietly* as students are working independently. Sometimes, they even request it during writing prompts. I always make sure no one is being disrupted by the music playing, and I always bounce around the room allowing different students the opportunity to choose the song. They love feeling like the class DJ for a moment (and they are only allowed to choose songs that I know, and that I know are appropriate for class.)
- During my MARACAS and TACO TUESDAY activities– If we ever play Maracas or Taco Tuesday, you can bet music is playing. With Maracas, pausing the song is the signal that it’s time to pass the card. For Taco Tuesday, we just sing and dance as we play 🙂
- ….almost any other time that isn’t direct instruction. Once you hear students begging for their favorite song, and then singing along to that song in Spanish… you’ll want to play music more during class 🙂
Music with culture and grammar in mind
- We watch the music video or lyric video if appropriate
- We read the lyrics and find cognates, familiar words, unknown words
- We assess the grammar or vocab within the song and make connections to our class (YAY!)
- We discuss the style of music
- We research the artist and country (exports? location? other famous people?)
- We research the cultural influences behind the music (instruments? aspects of the video)
- We identify meaningful lines within the song (students mark lines personally)
- We research the meaning behind identified lines in the song (I pick these lines)
- We expand and have cultural discussions that have been sparked by the song, in Spanish or English depending on the level and intensity of the discussion. If a student can only contribute in English, they are never told not to contribute during these discussions. We help them with Spanish when needed.
- and even MORE!!!
And then tomorrow, students ask to hear the song during the warm-up. And my heart shines.
Want to see examples?
- Latinoamérica by Calle 13 — I use this at the start of the year every single year, within the first few days of class.
- Corazon sin Cara by Prince Royce — my students love Prince Royce, and this is great for Spanish 1 examining ser/adjectives
- Yo No Sé Mañana by Luis Enrique — future tense! I use this with Spanish 3
- A Dios le Pido by Juanes — I use this with my Spanish 3s during our present subjunctive unit
- Ojalá que Llueva Café by JLG — another present subjunctive option for Spanish 3!
You can also find a bundle of all of my available Culture and Grammar through Music packets right here.
Thank you for reading!
I hope these ideas help you find a few new ways to incorporate music this year in your classes! Good luck and have fun!