L-Pop is a collection of songs and lessons for students learning English at any proficiency level. The songs are catchy and radio-friendly and cover different musical genres, including pop, rock, and country. Best of all, each song targets a particular English grammar issue. For example:
- When should I use present progressive and simple present?
- How should I use past perfect?
- How do I use phrasal verbs, and what are their meanings?
L-Pop songs are not grammar lessons by themselves. Instead, the songs provide lots of natural language examples of grammar issues. Learners of English simply listen to the songs to hear how these tricky structures are used and then complete a listening, writing and speaking lesson that provides more indepth practice. L-Pop helps students learn English grammar in a fun, natural way.
Here is an example of the use of phrasal verbs, from the L-Pop song “You Help Me Out.” Phrasal verbs are verbs that have two parts: a verb and a preposition. All the phrasal verbs in the song are underlined.
Every time I call you up, you always try to cheer me up
You help me out, you help me out, you help me out
When a problem gets me down, you always turn my mood around There isn’t a doubt, there isn’t a doubt, there isn’t a doubt
As you can see, the song provides lots of examples of phrasal verbs. Learners of English can listen to the song many times to learn the meanings of phrasal verbs without explicitly studying them.
To go further, the writing and speaking lesson on phrasal verbs gives students a chance to think more deeply about how phrasal verbs are used, to learn the meanings of the vocabulary words in the song, and to practice using phrasal verbs on their own, both in writing and in speech.
One good reason is that it is fun! But there are many other reasons to use music to learn English. First, it provides learners of English with good practice in listening for English grammar, not just reading and writing it. Second, learners may listen to songs multiple times, which gives them a chance to reinforce the lessons they have learned. They may remember lines and phrases of song that can help them remember how to use language structures. Finally, the natural rhythm of the music can help learners improve their pronunciation.
There are many reasons why using regular songs from Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, or CDs can be a problem. First, these songs do not usually focus on one grammar issue. They often provide only one or two examples of a difficult structure that needs to be learned. Second, they may use language in “slangy” or inappropriate ways that confuse learners, and they may have content and themes that are not appropriate for some students. Finally, using commercial music in the classroom can raise copyright infringement issues for teachers and administrators.
L-Pop songs sound just like “real” music you hear on the radio or your favorite CDs. The songs include a variety of musical styles, including modern pop, modern rock, country, 60’s-era pop, bossa nova, and more.
The lessons provide lots of activities to do with the song and with the target grammar structure. All of the lyrics are provided, along with cloze (fill-in-the-blank) activities for listening practice. There are also grammar explanations, and listening, writing, and speaking activities for individuals or groups of learners. An answer key is also provided.
Anyone who wants to improve their English can use L-Pop. Teachers of English can use the lessons in L-Pop for a ready-made classroom activity for learners of any proficiency level and any linguistic or cultural background.
Patti Spinner (M.A, M.A., Ph.D.) is a professor of Second Language Acquisition and TESOL (Teaching
English to Speakers of other Languages) at Michigan State University. She researches how learners of English and other languages use grammar and has taught English in the United States and Germany.