An Online Game for Fun With Music in ELT

Although it seems to have been around for a number of years, I just recently stumbled upon Lyrics Training, a fun site that uses music to get students listening, reading, writing, and even speaking—well, singing. I am excited to share it with you and actually enjoyed the site so much that I spent quite a bit more time than anticipated testing it out. The same thing might happen to you.

Lyrics Training does not require any sort of registration, however, you may want to sign up and have your students sign up in order to track scores. Students may be more motivated to compete with others, challenge classmates, or even just have a record of their scores, but you can easily test the site out with students before determining if accounts are a good fit for you and your class. Registration is simple and can also be done using your Facebook account, which may also appeal to students.

The site is designed for learners of many languages, so make sure you choose English before selecting or searching for a video. When you choose a video, you get to choose a level, and I highly recommend beginner, at least to start off with. After that, look just above the video to the right. You have a choice of “write mode” or “choice mode.” For write mode, you have to listen and type the missing words, whereas for choice mode, you listen and choose the correct word that is missing from four choices. I recommend choice mode for students, especially in the beginning. As a native English speaker familiar with the songs I tested out, it was a challenge at most levels to type quickly enough to keep up with the pace of songs.

During play, the site tracks your hits or correct answers and calculates a score at the end. If you cannot answer quickly enough or answer incorrectly, a red bar at the top of the video begins to disappear. You can relisten to that segment of the song to stop the timer as many times as you want, but you cannot move forward without getting it correct or admitting defeat and skipping it. If you skip it, the site will fill in the word you missed and replay that section so that you can hear it once more. If that timer runs out, though, the game is over and you have to start from the very beginning.

That is all there is to it. If used in class, I suggest carefully selecting the songs students use for the activity to ensure that the content is appropriate for the classroom and the age of your students. If you have all the students work on the same song initially, you may also want to end with “karaoke mode” where students sing along with the video. Finally, because of the engaging nature of music and this type of game, students may want to continue practicing at home and absolutely should be encouraged to do so.

What do you think of Lyrics Training? How will you use it with your students? What will/do they think of it?

About Tara Arntsen

Tara Arntsen

Tara Arntsen recently completed her Master’s degree in Teaching-TESOL at the University of Southern California. She currently teaches in the Intensive English Program at Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota. She has taught ESOL in China, Japan, and Cambodia as well as online. Her primary interests are communicative teaching methods and the use of technology in education.

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6 Responses to An Online Game for Fun With Music in ELT

  1. Kathleen Kampa Vilina says:

    I value the use of music in the classroom. My thesis research noted the value of music in the classroom (academia.edu). While it’s quite easy to use music with young learners, this resource will be an engaging resource for older students. Thanks for sharing!

    • Tara Arntsen Tara Arntsen says:

      Thank you for the comment, Kathleen. I completely agree that music is a valuable, probably under-utilized, addition to the classroom.

  2. Adele says:

    Thank you VERY much for this! I’m sure it will be a huge hit with my teenage students.

    It is worth noting that it is also possible to choose which genre the students prefer before picking a track. The button is located top left, next to the Lyrics Training logo.

    • Tara Arntsen Tara Arntsen says:

      Thank you for pointing that out, Adele. I think the only downside to the site seems to be that it’s impossible for instructors to choose which words are removed. That would be a great feature for those wishing to target specific language points, for example past tense verbs. Let us know what your students think!

  3. Cathleen Modlin-Jackson says:

    What a fantastic resource! Thank you for sharing, Tara.

    • Tara Arntsen Tara Arntsen says:

      Thank you for the comment, Cathleen! I hope your students agree with you.