Music Discussion Questions for ESL Students

Instructor: Sarah Mills

Sarah is an educational freelance writer and has taught English and ESL in grades k-12 and college. She has a master's degree in both Literacy and TESOL.

In this lesson, teachers will learn about using discussion questions about music with English as a Second Language (ESL) students. A list of sample questions about students' experiences and preferences relating to music will be included.

Discussing Music

From African drums to salsa music to the sound of a Spanish guitar, music is a big part of cultural identity. Musical styles vary worldwide, but one thing most cultures have in common is the use of music for pleasure and tradition. ESL students can find common ground with one another by discussing their musical preferences and comparing their native country's music with that of the United States.

Most students, regardless of their age, have a lot to say about music. Allowing ESL students to discuss music gives them exposure to new vocabulary, improves their social skills, and enhances their oral language development.

Here are some sample questions that you can use to help guide ESL students in discussions about music.

Questions About Students' Experiences

  • What is a popular style of music from your native culture? Can you describe it?
  • Are there any popular dance styles from your native culture? Do you know the moves to them?
  • Who is the most famous band or musician from your native country?
  • Have you ever been to the opera?
  • Have you ever been to any Broadway musicals?
  • Have you ever been to any music concerts? If so, which ones?
  • Have you ever played any musical instruments? If so, which ones?
  • Are you a good singer?
  • Have you ever listened to a record on a record player?

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