Teaching With Songs: Musical Biography + Song Pieces with MILEY CYRUS, SELENA GOMEZ, DEMI LOVATO & TAYLOR SWIFT


Here is the place to be if you believe in the power of songs to teach English!

The place to find Creativity, Inspiration, Teaching Ideas and Resources to bring Musical Innovation to your English Language Teaching Practice!

Whether you teach English online or not, teaching with songs has a wider scope than you might think, and it does not only mean gap-fill!. Check my older posts and don’t be afraid to try something new!

This week, the Song Activity Factory features four young and great female  pop singers!

I hope YOU and your students have a BLAST with it!


This song-based STEP-BY-STEP LESSON PLAN  for ENGLISH language TEACHING features the lyrics extracts of various songs by Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Taylor Swift and Demi Lovato. Students IDENTIFY singers in photos, TALK about them, READ quotes and MATCH them to the singers, TALK about their favorite quotes in pairs, WATCH a video about them, and FILL the information in a table, ANSWER questions about the video, and LISTEN to song extracts and identify grammar structures in a team competition.

OBS: This lesson plan was made for ONLINE TEACHING, but it can be modified for face-to-face instruction, as well.

Language level: B1 and above
Learner type: All ages
Skills: speaking, reading, listening and writing
Topic: Biographical Facts about singers
Language/grammar: adjectives, verbs, simple vocabulary, dates
Materials: YouTube video, genial.ly presentation and mp3 files
Duration: 1 hour - 1h 20 min
Download your free teaching resources:  instructions; song extracts mp3


Step 1 (5 min)

Photos (slide 1). Have students identify the singers in the photos and say what they know about them. Genial.ly presentation:

Step 2 (7 min)

Quotes (slide 2).

Have random students read the quotes aloud. Help them with the vocabulary. Tell them to choose their favorite quote and prepare to explain why.

Step 3 (10 min)

In pairs, students talk about their favorite quotes and why.

Step 4 (7 min)

Back to the main room, have students share their favorite quotes and explain why.

Step 5 (5 min)

Slide 2. Students guess who said the quotes by matching them to the singers.

Answers: A: Miley Cyrus, B: demi Lovato, C: Selena gomez, D: Taylor Swift

Step 6 (5 min)

Slide 3. Students watch the video and fill the information on the table


Date of BirthNovember 22, 1992July 22, 1992December 13, 1989August 20, 1992
Place of BirthNashville, TennesseeGrand Prairie, TexasWyomissing, PennsylvaniaDallas, Texas
Musical Instrument(s)GuitarPiano, guitar 
info from https://www.ducksters.com/

Optional Step 7 (7 min)

Slide 4. Have students watch the video again and answer the extra questions.

Extra Questions:

  1. Who was homeschooled? (Selena, Demi)
  2. Who was bullied at school? (Demi)
  3. Who grew up on a big farm? (Miley)
  4. Who used to sing Karaoke when she was 11 years old? (Taylor)
  5. Who moved to another country? (Miley)
Video script
Selena Gomez was born on July 22, 1992 in Grand Prairie, Texas. She was an only child and got her high school diploma by homeschooling. Her favorite sport is basketball and her favorite subject in school was science.

Demi Lovato was born on August 20, 1992 in Dallas, Texas. She started playing the piano at age 7 and fell in love with music. She soon learned guitar and was writing her own songs. She asked her mom to home school her after being bullied at school. She went the rest of the way through school at home and even got her high school diploma this way.

Miley Cyrus was born on November 22, 1992 in Nashville, Tennessee. Her birth name is Destiny Hope Cyrus. She grew up on a big farm in Franklin, Tennessee until she was eight years old when her family moved to Toronto, Canada.

Taylor Swift was born in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania on December 13, 1989. She loved to sing as a young girl and was singing karaoke locally at the age of 10. When she was eleven she sang the National Anthem at a Philadelphia 76ers game. She started learning guitar about that time.

Step 8 (20 – 30 min)

Song Pieces with Demi’s, Taylor’s, Selena’s and Miley’s greatest hits


Divide students into pairs or trios (it can also be done individually, depending on the number of students), and tell them they are going to listen to various extracts of songs and in each one they have to listen to different things and write them down on a blank sheet of paper.

1- Before playing each extract, say what you want the students to listen to and make sure they know it. In order to do that, ask them if they can give you examples of the words they must listen to. 


Students, in this first extract, you have to listen to a frequency adverb! Do you remember what this is? Give me some examples.

2-  Tell them they have 3 chances to try to get the right word. Then, play the first extract 3 times and they write down the answer for number 1. (give them an extra point if they can say the name of the singer, too!)

3- Check what the teams wrote down (you can use the chat feature of the application you’re using with your online students. ex: in-meeting chat in zoom , and ask them to use it to send you the answers.  Assign points. (1 for each right word, if there is more than 1 word in the recording) 

4 – Repeat steps 2, 3, 4 for the next song extracts. The team with more points, in the end, is the winner!

(OBS: choose ONLY ONE of the suggestions for each song, according to your class level - of course, you can choose more - it all depends on your students)
SONG EXTRACT 1 (Give your heart a break - Demi Lovato)
1- day of the week (Sunday)
2- parts of the body (eyes, hand)
3- irregular verbs (went, were, take, ‘s, understand)


A Sunday you went home alone
There were tears in your eyes
I called your cell phone, my love
But you did not reply
The world is ours if you want it
We can take it, if you just take my hand
There's no turning back now
Baby try to understand…

SONG EXTRACT 2 (Love you like a love song - Selena Gomez)
1- adverb : constantly
2 - verbs in the passive voice (hard): I've been rescued, I’ve been set free, Iam hypnotized

I, I love you like a love song, baby (oh)
And I keep hitting repeat-peat-peat-peat-peat-peat
Constantly, boy you played through my mind like a symphony
There's no way to describe what you do to me
You just do to me, what you do
And it feels like I've been rescued
I've been set free, I am hypnotized by your destiny

SONG EXTRACT 3 (Blank Space - Taylor Swift)
1-verb with can : can read, can make
2- uncountable noun: money
3- Something you use to travel: passport, money


New money, suit and tie
I can read you like a magazine
Ain't it funny? Rumors fly
And I know you heard about me
So hey, let's be friends
I'm dying to see how this one ends
Grab your passport and my hand
I can make the bad guys good for a weekend

SONG EXTRACT 4 (Party in the USA - Miley Cyrus)
1- ordinal number: first
2- adjectives: crazy, famous


Welcome to the land of fame excess (woah)
Am I gonna fit in?
Jumped in the cab, here I am for the first time
Look to my right, and I see the Hollywood sign
This is all so crazy
Everybody seems so famous

SONG EXTRACT 5 (Only the young - Taylor Swift)
1- color (red)
2- superlative (the best)
3- present perfect verb (You’ve heard)

So every day now
You brace for the sound
You've only heard on TV
You go to class, scared
Wondering where the best hiding spot would be
And the big bad man and his big bad clan
Their hands are stained with red
Oh, how quickly, they forget

SONG EXTRACT 6 (wrecking ball - Miley Cyrus)
1- adverbs of frequency: always, never
2- verbs in the simple past (came, hit, wanted, was, did)
Don't you ever say I just walked away
I will always want you
I came in like a wrecking ball
I never hit so hard in love
All I wanted was to break your walls
All you ever did was wreck me

SONG EXTRACT 7 (Cool for the summer - Demi Lovato)
1- adjectives: curious, wrong, right
2- simple present verb in the negative form (I don’t care)


Tell me what you want, what you like, it's okay
I'm a little curious too
Tell me if it's wrong, if it's right, I don't care
I can keep a secret, can you?

This song-based lesson plan is sure to spice up your classes! However, would you like to think, feel and act more creatively on your own to be able to turn ANY song you want into an engaging lesson plan?
HERE are TIME-SAVING ideas that do the heavy work so you can focus on the most important: INSPIRING and MOTIVATING YOUR STUDENTS to learn CREATIVELY!


That’s it for this week! I hope this activity is helpful and enjoyable! 


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Happy teaching!  🙂

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