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Using songs to improve listening skills

Using songs to improve listening skills

It’s probably no news to you that song lyrics can be a great listening exercise and practice. You can improve your comprehension and pronunciation and, also, learn a couple of new words and structures. So over here, I would suggest a way to combine your interests in music with learning English.

One thing you can do is, have gap-filling exercises with song lyrics. You listen to the song and try and find the missing (erased) words in the lyrics. Or, you can have a sort of dictation, where you listen and write what you hear and then check your work.

It’s easy to find ready-to-use exercises of that type online. But if you’re interested in a specific song you can’t find exercises for, you can do it yourself. Get the lyrics and erase some of the words in it.

Once you’re ready with that you can start doing the exercise.

  1. Listen to the song to understand the main meaning, what it is about etc
  2. Listen to it trying to fill the gaps.
  3. Check your work and listen to it again.
  4. Take out the unknown or interesting words. Search the internet for more collocations and associations with those words. Make your own sentences with them.
  5. Listen to the song again (and sing along if you’re in the mood :-)) You can do that while reading along and then without the written lyrics, trying to see if you can understand everything you hear.

Actually, this goes for any kind of listening material you’re planning to use. You can practice with narrated stories or conversations. Of course, you will need the scripts and the recorded audio material. Luckily, you can easily get hold of the lyrics of almost any song, or the scripts of any movie or a show online.

This may sound like a lot of work, but after all, you want to learn, right? And apart from that, if you really like the song or the artist in question, you won’t necessarily feel like you’re doing any work at all. 🙂

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