Music in the Classroom

At all levels, music and chanting can be very good. Students can have fun and pronounce words properly, even if they don't know what the words mean or understand the grammar.


When you're learning new vocabulary or practicing a sentence pattern, try doing it to a drum beat. Use the electric keyboard in the classroom, if possible. Students repeat the word or phrase after the ALT to the beat. You can definitely use chants in elementary school and sometimes in junior high school.

Singing in elementary school

  • Keep the songs easy. Students can't read English, so avoid lots of words. Students also like fast songs, so look for fast songs with easy words.
  • If you're singing a song for only part of one class and never again, even slower songs are fine.
  • Look for songs with easy refrains. Then every student can participate.
  • Reuse tunes. For instance, the first verse to Jambo Bwana can be sung in Swahili, French, and English.

Singing in junior high school

  • For many struggling students, singing is a lot of fun. They may find regular coursework difficult, but they can sing well without knowing a lot of grammar or vocabulary.
  • In junior high school, students will sing any song that's interesting. For instance, We Are the World is slow, but some of the voices on the CD are funny, so many students like it.
  • Since students can read, give them lyrics. Teach a verse each day as a warmup.
  • If your students go to visit a retirement home, say, maybe they could sing a song as part of their activity.
  • There are many songs you can sing, including:
    • The Beatles - Hello Goodbye (video), Help! (video), and Let it Be (video).
    • Chicago - Tell Me What Kind of Man Would I Be.
    • Freddie Mercury - I Was Born to Love You.
    • John Lennon - Imagine, and Happy Christmas (War is Over).
    • Queen - We Will Rock You.
    • USA for Africa - We Are the World.


In junior high school, some teachers use clozes. A cloze is where students get a copy of the lyrics but have to listen and fill in a few words. Along the same lines, have students listen for a target word and clap their hands when they hear it.


  • I'm A Little Tea Pot
  • 1 Little 2 Little 3 Little Monkeys.
  • Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.
  • Under the Spreading Chestnut Tree.

See also