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Promoting the take-up of languages and student mobility

Music and Languages Days

Region: 
Yorkshire and the Humber

Music and Languages Days

Music and Languages? Is it really a match made in Heaven or a recipe for disaster? Two groups of Year 10 students from Cottingham High School put the idea to the test on the 2nd and 9th of July 2010. The cross-curricular days (one in German and the other in French) organised and led by Daniela Schwark from the Department of Modern Languages, and funded by Routes into Languages Yorkshire and The Humber, introduced and explored the idea that music and languages go hand in hand and have very strong links, more so than you might initially think.

The days kicked off with a warm up of the voice which involved the brave pupils standing in a circle and producing unusual and at times hysterical sounds to get the voice warmed up and to explore the sounds of the German/French language. Then the first two sessions of the day focused on lyrics and music videos in the target language and involved gap filling and listening exercises, followed by a game of Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, testing the pupils’ knowledge learnt in the mornings sessions.

  

After a tasty lunch and a session in which Daniela taught some language revision techniques, which were aided by music, the pupils were organised into groups of four or five. Their task was to write and rehearse their part of what would be a music show, presented, sung and performed in the target language by the entire group. They were then given extra rehearsal time and the ‘final performance’ was caught on camera (the links to the final music shows can be found at the end of this article). All groups worked well together and the end results were really very impressive, with some pupils showcasing their musical skills as well as their abilities in German or French.

These days were an excellent opportunity for the pupils to develop their language skills in a different arena and to bring out other related skills through the medium of music. Evaluations were completed at the end of each day and pupils had these comments to make about the days as a whole:

“This course has made me become much more confident due to the activities such as performing the songs. It has helped me with pronunciation of difficult German words.”

“I have learnt some good new techniques and improved my skills.”

“I thought the whole day was well thought out and everybody enjoyed themselves. The final performance proved that."

“I have really enjoyed it and everyone loves music so to do it in a different language and be confident with it is amazing.”

“An enjoyable time which allowed us to have fun with the language and music.”

“I thoroughly enjoyed it!”

“It was awesome, wish I could do this all over again!!!”

So there’s the proof – music and languages really are a great combination! If you are interested in attending a similar event at the University of Hull and discovering something new, please contact Routes by emailing: routes@hull.ac.uk