Yes, you can in my case! Here are some of the new lesson ideas that I tried out while working at a language school in the UK this summer. Feel free to try them yourselves – they worked really well for me! If you need any further information about the activities, please contact me here or via Twitter @purlandtraining
Ask and answer the questions with a partner or small group:
What is singing? Can you sing? Do you sing? What do you sing? When do you sing? Do you sing in the shower or sing along to the radio while in the car or at work? How would you describe your voice? Why do you sing? In what situations? Can you sing part of a song now? If not, why not? Is it embarrassing to sing in public? Why? / Why not? Would you be happy to sing on a stage in public for money? For how much? Why do people prefer to sing when they are on their own? What would happen if you sang more often – either at work or at home?
If you think you can’t sing, why is that? Do you sing out of tune? How can you judge that? Would you like to be able to sing? Have you ever had singing lessons? Do you believe that the ability to sing is genetic or can anybody learn to sing? Is there any advantage in being able to sing? Is it possible to improve your singing technique? Research has shown that only 2% do not possess the required skills. Do you agree?
Who is your favourite singer? Why? Do you prefer male or female voices? Do you prefer a solo singer or a group who sing in harmony together? Why? Who is the best singer of the past fifty years in your opinion? Who is the best current singer? How many different kinds of singer can you think of? What is the difference between singing and rapping? Do you like rap music? Why? / Why not?
Why do people sing? What uses does singing have, for example: to celebrate, to worship, to mourn, to entertain, and so on. Is singing a necessary function of life? Do we all sing in private? Why do children make up their own songs and sing so often? Do you believe that only humans can sing? Do birds sing, or is the sound that they make produced mechanically rather than by choice?
How do we sing? How are the following parts of the body used: a) diaphragm, b) larynx, c) vocal cords, d) tongue, e) teeth, f) chest, g) head? Have you ever watched a very good singer and noticed how they use their bodies to sing? How do professional singers warm up their voices and how do they take care of them?
Do you think that it is a good job to be a professional singer? Why? / Why not? What would be the hardships and pleasures of this kind of job? How much money do you think they make? Is it worth being a busker – singing in the street all day? Imagine a day in the life of… a) an opera singer, b) a pop singer, c) a busker, d) a vocal coach, e) a singer in a West End musical, f) a children’s entertainer… and so on.
Have you ever joined a choir? Tell me about it. If not, would you like to? Why do people sing in their spare time for free? Is community singing enjoyable? Why? / Why not? Have you ever sung in a foreign language? Do you sing in church, or as part of a service of worship? Does singing have a spiritual significance for you?
What is your favourite song? Have you ever heard it sung by another person? What is the effect when different people record a version of the same song? Have you ever written a song? Would you like to be a famous singer-songwriter? Why? / Why not?
In this podcast we explore using the popular song Castle on the Hill by Ed Sheeran in an English class. We look at the use of tenses in the song – especially past simple, used to/would + infinitive, and present perfect.