Sunday 4 May 2014

Talking about Music - Why do we listen to music?

You are going to
  • discuss music and use vocabulary to describe music
  • listen to a discussion about the role music plays in our lives and do some comprehension activities

1) Discuss
Do you listen to music?
  • What music do you like?
  • Is music important in your life?
  • Do you like to listen to music quietly or do you prefer to "crank it out" (play it loud)
  • Does listening to old music transport you back to when you were younger?
  • What is the role of music in our lives? Why do we listen to music?

2) Discuss
In one minute how many words connected with music can you think of?
Think of these categories
  • Musical instruments - guitar, cello...
  • Kinds of music - classical, dance...
  • Words to describe music - fast, melodic, jazzy...
  • Feelings to describe listening to music - How does it make you feel? - happy, energetic, relaxed...

3) Discuss
Vocabulary for describing music / musicians / singers
Look at these words to describe music.
  • How many were in your list?
  • Do you understand them all?
  • Think of some singers / groups / songs / kinds of music. In your opinion which adjectives describe the music / singer / song best? eg I think ______ is depressing / catchy / funky...

  • A racket (n.)
  • Amazing
  • Avant garde
  • Awful
  • Awesome
  • Beautiful
  • Bluesy
  • Boring
  • Catchy
  • Commercial

  • Depressing
  • Fast
  • Funky
  • Gentle
  • Gorgeous
  • Heavy
  • Hypnotic
  • Jazzy
  • Makes you want to cry / dance / sing
  • Melodic
  • Noisy
  • Modern
  • Old-fashioned
  • Passionate
  • Peaceful
  • Popular
  • Pretty
  • Relaxing
  • Repetitive
  • Rocking
  • Sad
  • Slow
  • Soft
  • Soulful
  • Soulless
  • Spiritual
  • Stunning
  • Swinging
  • Traditional
  • Tuneless
  • Uplifting
  • Violent

4) Discuss
Music in our lives
Look at these sentences. 
How many do you agree with?
  1. All human beings are born musical.
  2. Music can take us back to bad times in our lives
  3. Music has a useful psychological effect.
  4. Music makes you feel more positive about bad experiences
  5. Music plays an important part in our lives even before we are born
  6. Music transports people back to their formative years.
  7. People often listen to music to make themselves sad.
  8. People often say the best music was made during their adolescence.
  9. Playing music loud at night helps children to sleep.
  10. Singing and learning a musical instrument improves hearing.

    5) Listen
    You are going to listen to psychologist Victoria Williamson discussing the role of music from BBC Radio 4's "Today"
    Put the sentences above in the order you hear them (see interactive exercise1 below).

    1) Drag and drop the sentences on the right to put them in the order you hear them in the radio clip.

    2) Listen again and do the comprehension quiz

    6) Write
    Answer. Why do we listen to music?
    Use the ideas in the radio interview to help you.

    7) Practise
    Try the Interactive Crossword.
    Click on a number in the crossword to see the clue and type the answer in the space.

    Printable worksheets here
    Crossword with answers

    Go here and do a listening exercise about the sounds of music in nature
    Is There Music in the Sounds of Nature? - The Rhythm of Life Advanced, Environment, Music, Nature, Upper Intermediate

    Pop Quiz Games, Intermediate Music, Pre-Intermediate, Question Forms, Questions, Quizzes 

    What's so special about the Beatles? British Culture, Famous People, Fashion, History, Life in the UK, Listening, Music, Upper Intermediate, Webquest

    My favourite kinds of music
    Finally, for anyone who is interested I have a blog where I write about my favourite kinds of music here stranger than known


    1. simply great!! i found this really useful.

    2. Thanks so much! Excellent for FCE practice. Great use of vocabulary and love the listening.