Using Classical Music In The English As A Foreign Language Classroom

Activities for using music in TEFL

In some of my previous English as a foreign Language Teaching articles we've opened discussion over the varied uses of music in the English as a Foreign Language and other foreign language learning classrooms. Activities for using music to "time" exercises and class activities (restrictive pacing), music to help in controlling the mood of the learners (the Affective Filter hypothesis) and the effect of music on the brain itself are topics that have been previously broached.

You Call THAT Music?

What music exactly though? While some suggestions as to types of music have been offered, up to this point we haven't specifically named pieces of music actually proven to be effective in EFL class room use. I did provide some songs with links to a few vocal hits from the 70s in the article, "You Call THAT Music?" I've likewise named composers predominantly in use in EFL and ESL class rooms. Among those cited were the following classical music composers. This time however, I'm adding specific pieces of music that you can use.

o Beethoven - Sonata for Piano No. 8 in C Opus 13 "Pathetique" (Adagio Cantabile), and Sonata for Piano No. 24 in F Sharp Minor (A Therese) Opus 78

NOTE: There a free classical music radio station online featuring Beethoven at

o Mozart - Symphony No. 40 in G minor (Alegro Molto), String Quartet in G Major,

Piano Concerto No. 21 ("Elvira Madigan") Adagio, and Piano Concerto No. 20 in D Minor "Romance"

o Bach - Bouree in E Minor (arranged for guitar), Air on the G String, and "Aria De Capo"

o Vivaldi - "The Four Seasons" (Winter and Spring especially)

o Schubert - Serenade No. 4

o Chopin - Nocturne No. 8 in D Flat Major Opus 27, and Nocturne No. 1 in B Flat Minor Opus 9

o Tchaikovsky - Andante Cantible for Violoncello and Orchestra Opus 11

o Brahms - "Lullaby"

o Debussy - Pavane in E Minor (Arranged for Guitar)

It Boggles the Mind

This is just a drop in the bucket start. There are so many others it practically boggles the mind. If learners like a particular piece and so comment on it, I have them investigate further for an added dimension to their learning. To help you get started in this endeavor, I've provided some initial musical information for each composer. Hopefully, you'll soon enjoy using music for a variety of purposes in your foreign language learning classroom as much as I do. If you have any questions, comments or simply would like more information, please feel free to contact me.

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 80 countries. Get your FREE E-books, English language teaching and learning information at:

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