Music for the Mind, Body, and Soul

Music recording concept. Creative process of writing a song
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I recently created an online listening and speaking module about music. The idea came to mind as a way to make online learning fun, interesting, and engaging for students.

           The module was broken down into four weekly sessions and accessed by students via Canvas, Padlet, Zoom, PowerPoint, Word, voice recording apps, and email.

Week One: Music and Feelings

Task 1: Music for the Mind, Body, and Soul

           In a short reading on Canvas, I introduced students to music and the positive effects it has on the mind and body.

Task 2: Listening to Different Types of Music

           I created a Padlet with weblinks to a variety of songs in English and other languages. The songs were from a diverse group of artists such as The Weeknd, Beethoven, Jagjit Singh, Manu Chao, Miriam Makeba, and Luciano Pavarotti. Students accessed the Padlet through a shared link and were required to choose 4-5 songs to listen to. They completed a worksheet I created about the emotions the songs conjured up for them. Then in a Zoom lesson, using break-out rooms, students discussed their reactions, feelings, and opinions of the songs.

Task 3: Oral Journal about a Song

           Using a voice recording app on their cell phone or computer, students recorded an oral journal talking about 1-2 songs they liked from the Padlet. With guiding questions and an example, they were able to communicate their feelings and opinions of the songs(s) of their choice. Oral journals were then submitted via email.

Week Two: The Message Behind the Song

Task 1: Lyrics in Song

           I developed a worksheet with grammar, listening, and critical thinking questions for the song “The Scientist” by Coldplay. In this activity students first reviewed grammar functions and rules. Then they completed the lyrics of the “The Scientist” with missing nouns, verbs, and adjectives. Afterwards, students listened to the song to check their answers. Finally, they answered critical thinking questions about the lyrics to identify the song’s genre, theme, and message. Students also expressed their opinion of the song and identified images that could be used to represent the song on an album cover. The information was then shared in a Zoom lesson with class and small group discussions.

Task 2: Listening and Speaking About Lyrics

           I used the song “Jolene” by Dolly Parton for a listening and speaking task. First, students listened to the song to put the lyrics in the correct order in a Canvas quiz. Then they used Canvas to create a voice recording about the theme, message, and their opinion of the song.

Week Three: Favourite Musical Singer/Group – Teacher’s Example

Task 1: Fan Page

           I explained to students that a fan page is a space where people can share information about a favourite person or group. Using Padlet, PowerPoint, and Word, I created three different fan pages for the musical group Radiohead. This was to show students examples in three different mediums of how information could be presented in a creative way using images, text, and weblinks. Students were required to evaluate the three fan pages with guiding questions and discuss in a Zoom lesson their likes/dislikes for each medium.

Task 2: Oral Presentation

           Again, I set up a task through Canvas quiz format. Students were required to listen to an oral presentation I recorded about Radiohead. In the presentation, I gave biographical information about Radiohead, talked about how I became interested in listening to the group, provided recommendations of songs students could listen to by Radiohead, and finally expressed my feelings and opinions of one of their songs. Students listened to the recording and answered level 1, 2, and 3 questions.

Week Four: Favourite Musical Singer/Group – Student

           In the final week of this module, students were asked to create an oral presentation using a voice recording app, and a fan page about their favourite singer or musical group using Padlet, PowerPoint, or Word. Once complete, the presentations and fan pages were posted by me on Canvas for the class to enjoy.

           We all listen to music and it can be a wonderful tool for ESL learning.

Hello, I’m Mandeep Somal! I’m a working mom of two little cuties. They keep me on my toes as I go through the joys and challenges of parenting. I am graduate of Brock University with B.A. in Business Communications and M.Ed in Teaching, Learning, and Development. I started my ESL adventure in 2005 in Osaka, Japan where I taught EFL for 5 years at a foreign language institute, Mukogawa Women’s University, and the corporate level. During this time, I also backpacked to 12 amazing countries including Thailand, Cambodia, China, Germany, Spain, Ghana, Colombia, and Costa Rica. In Canada, I have taught post-secondary academic and workplace reading/writing courses at Humber College, and LINC and EAP at Mohawk College. Currently, I team teach in LINC for Youth Video Project at Mohawk. This program is designed for newcomer youth to help them develop their English skills with the creation of collaborative video projects.


7 thoughts on “Music for the Mind, Body, and Soul”

  1. Great idea!

    Check my YouTube Channel Sunny Future 55+ Mind, Body, Soul
    Music, Meditation, Yoga, and many new topics each week.
    Can be use for Activities for the classroom…listening, speaking, reading , and writing. Also at the same time the students can learn life skills and much for.

    Sunny Future 55+ YouTube Channel

  2. Hi Mandeep,
    This a great theme. Thank you for being diverse with choice of music. I am sure the students enjoyed this excellent lesson.
    Bhupinder Gill

  3. Thank you for the positive comments!
    I asked students what they thought of the module at the end of the term and they said it was refreshing. The exposure to different types of music and the opportunity to be creative in presenting on an artist of their choice helped to make learning more connected to their interests. Some also felt proud that they increased their comfort level in using Padlet and PowerPoint!

  4. Hot topic! Music heals and can rewire how emotional and logical brain connect when we listen to the right type of music vs. wront type. (Reference Dr. Emoto studies where healthy cells heal body while divided cells spread illness). All about awareness and how we can empower others to use music as a healing tool.

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