Catch The Music

Students listen to a song and write down all the words that they hear/know

I am currently learning Japanese and one of the ways I "study" is by listening to Japanese music to see how much I understand/what words I recognize. I decided to apply this concept to my junior high students, and they love it! So here is the basic breakdown.

I break the class up into groups (preferably groups of 3 or 4) and give each group a whiteboard.

Then, I explain that I am going to show them three music videos and their goal is to catch as many words as they can. (I've noticed that the groups usually break themselves into people that listen and one person that writes).

I show one minute of each music video. After each video the JTE and I tally up how many words each group has. Which ever group has the most words/points by the end of the 3rd video is the winner (I give that group stickers).

Like I said, the students really seem to like this activity and it's funny to hear them shouting out random lyrics. It's also a good way to introduce culture from your country.

*The more recent the music video, the better. Some of the older JTE's try to introduce English music but it's from the 60's and 70's and the kids literally couldn't care less.

*I try to find music videos that are relatable - i.e take place in a school setting or atleast have people around their age.

*Listen to the songs THOROUGHLY before you play them. I played Good 4 U by Olivia Rodrigo thinking it'd be fine because she's a little teen pop girly only to find out she drops the F-bomb less than a minute in. And of course the students knew THAT word. And of course, they wrote it down -____-

*I also double check the music videos too, to make sure they're appropriate. No drugs, no alcohol, nothing too sexual, no nudity. The obvious things.

*The songs don't HAVE to include words from the vocabulary list. The students catching words like "I" or "we" or "and" are important skills too. They also usually know/recognize more words than they think they do, it might surprise you.

*I know that for me, sometimes I think a song will be easy for students because I know all the words when it reality that isn't the case because the artist is actually singing very fast, or mumbling, or the instruments are drowing out their voice. It's a good idea to play the song for someone who doesn't know it and get their perspective.

*To make the activity easier, you can give students an extra minute or two after the clip to write words. To make it harder, have the students ALSO write things that that SEE in the video.

Here are some songs and music videos I use for this activity.

*Golden - Harry Styles

*Deja Vu - Olivia Rodrigo

*I'm Just A Kid - Simple Plan

*Sk8er Boi - Avril Lavigne

*One Thing - One Direction

*Prom Dress - mxmtoon

*Bellyache - Billie Eilish

I really want to show them some rap and hip hop, so if y'all have any ideas, please share them in the comments!!

I hope your students enjoy this activity as much as mine do!!!

Submitted by imani_kashala April 19, 2023 Estimated time: 15 minutes
  1. Odachans April 19, 2023

    I like this idea! I want to try this.

  2. Angela April 20, 2023

    I want to try this. Which grade level do you usually do this activity? I was thinking of the song One step at a time by Jordin Sparks and other famous tiktok songs students usually hear.

  3. robertsbp April 20, 2023

    oh, this is a wonderful idea! thanks for this!

  4. imani_kashala April 20, 2023

    I have only tried this with the junior high second years so far.
    If I were to do it with the first years, I think I would just play one whole song or just one minute of two songs. And also give them two minutes or so afterwards to write down words.

    For 3rd years, I want them to write what they see AND hear. And they can only write while the music is playing. Once the music stops, they must stop writing.

  5. sophie April 21, 2023

    thanks for the great idea! in terms of rap, maybe some Macklemore songs might be good? in most of his songs, he has really good diction, and his music videos can be really fun and flashy.

  6. HolliAnderson April 21, 2023

    I did something similar with English version of Japanese songs from Sailor Moon, Yu Yu Hakusho, My Neighbor Totoro, and One Piece)! I have also been looking at other songs Sk8er boy is one I also thought would be good! I'll have to try some of these songs!

  7. AVGKF May 2, 2023

    I'd love to try this! I feel like a big part of the Fun Factor is the accompanying videos. Does anyone have any tips for those of us whose schools block Youtube?

  8. murasakimochi May 2, 2023

    @AVGKF You can download the videos beforehand at home and save them to your flash drive. Then transfer the files to your school computer. That's how I do it at least in my schools. I'm quite lucky my schools are lenient when it comes to using flash drive. ESID

Sign in or create an account to leave a comment.