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Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Although I can’t say I’m a music junkie I spend a lot of my time listening to music. The kind of music I listen to largely depends on my mood .Normally, on my way to work I’m full of energy and anticipation so the songs I like listening to are of that kind … but when I am coming back home I need something a bit more relaxing , so I go for classical music , ballads, chill out … and all that jazz. And sometimes if my day’s been crap and I have to think about the best way to face the music , then I appreciate the silence.
Anyway, what I want to say is that I like this chick. I think she’s got a very nice voice , powerful but sweet at the same time .. When I first listened to her , her voice kind of struck a chord ; she is somewhere between Amy Winehouse and  Kate Perry with a touch of Dufy. Her first album has just been released and I anticipate it’s going to sell like hot cakes.
Her debut single ‘Mama Do (Uh Oh Uh Oh)’ was a success but ,in my humble opinion, there are other very good tracks. By the way , her album is called Turn it Up.

Want to see what these idioms mean ? 

The Thriller Dance

Posted by CRISTINA CABAL DIAZ under Listening, Music

My son Lucas, who is 9, was watching TV (I’m afraid he’s sort of becoming a couch potato if I do nothing about it) when the video of Thriller filled the screen . He called me all excited about what he was seeing. I tried to explain who Michael Jackson was ( difficult when I got to the part of him turning white) and what the video was about ( the part about the graveyard and him turning into a zombie and scaring the girl was his favourite) and then, in my determination to show him how funny dancing could be I started searching the Net and bumped into this funny page where you can learn how to dance the Thriller Dance.

And well, I am just beginning to think it might be  very interesting to teach vocabulary related to verbs of movement in a funny way. So… dear students … get ready, next year when we get to the point of learning verbs related to movement we’ll be dancing Thriller… if you don’t believe me … have a look at how organised they’ve got it all for me , ready to be used!! We might even be asked to perform at the Christmas Party!! How about that!!! I can’t wait!!!

Let’s get started

Step 1. The Dance . There are 8 lessons and each consists of 4 clips

Step 2. The Dance Script

Spet 3. The Lyrics and the Script together

Related Links:

As we are learning about the weather..

Posted by CRISTINA CABAL DIAZ under Listening, Music
As we are learning about the weather …I thought it might be a good idea to teach with rhythm.
It’s Raining Men was originally recorded by The Weather Girls  ,who were the duo formed by Martha Wash and Izora Rhodesand . The song went number 1 ,selling over 6million copies worldwide .Barbara Streisand and Diana Ross were both offered this song and turned it down, I guess they are still regretting it.
Geri Halliwell, formerly a member of The Spice Girls, also recorded this song  in 2001. Her version was used on the soundtrack to the movie Bridget Jones’ Diary. When released, the single shot straight to number1 for 2 weeks.
If you want to do the listening we did in class , click here

Memories to Share

Posted by CRISTINA CABAL DIAZ under Listening, Music
Good memories , bad memories but memories anyway.

Only this week I asked my students to reminisce about the past and ,because we are on the lucky side of the world, all their memories were great. Most of them remembered their childhood with nostalgia , which is a good thing to do.
They remembered and talked about memories they will always cherish : about fighting with siblings, wonderful holidays when the family used to stick together, inventing tall stories to tell your parents so as not to be grounded, giggling with your classmates after mocking the teacher… you have given me lots of material to bribe you with.
We  all have memories that are  persistent throughout most of our life. Sharing them provides others a precious window to who we are.

Now, I have found and done with my students this song by James Morrison , food for thought I should say, which both fits the grammar we have been studying to refer to the past, namely : “would” and “used to” and also the topic “Memories”.
I hope you enjoy it!. If you want to see the Lesson Plan , click here
Have you got any memories to share?  So, come on , send them

Tracy Chapman : The promise

Posted by CRISTINA CABAL DIAZ under Music
Why is that that some songs stay forever and some others slip away.It is just the same with all the people you have loved. Sad  beautiful song filled with hope for the future.

Putting the emphasis on Emilia

Posted by CRISTINA CABAL DIAZ under Music, The English Language
Have you never heard about her? I’m sure you have .But even if you haven’t ,if  I  hum the words” I’m a big, big girl…”  you’ll probably think,” Yeah ,I know this song or , at least, this small verse but not  the singer”.
Why this song today? Well, the only reason is because I’ve been teaching Emphasis and it’s a good song to illustrate this point. I’m afraid that’s my only reason as she is not one of my favourites.”Sorry , Emilia ! I’ve heard  you are on your way to the European Song Contest and I wish you well, you are just too soft  for me”
Anyway, it is very good for students to see how the emphasis is placed on some words (actually, they can find three different ways).
But, why don’t you go to my website and do the exercises ? or alternatively ,if you are up to your eyes with homework , just enjoy it.
First option, click here.

New Year’s Resolutions

Posted by CRISTINA CABAL DIAZ under Funny Stuff, Listening, Music
It is the time of the year when you start thinking about New Year’s Resolutions.
But what is a New Year’s Resolution ? It is our determination to accomplish something over the next year such as enjoy life more, quit smoking, lose weight, do exercise.

I always try and think of some New Year’s Resolutions to accomplish next year but ,let’s face it , I don’t have enough fingers or toes to count the number of times I have broken them and then I think why bother? Do you know anyone who keeps their New Year’s resolutions? Or even remembers them after January 15? I sure don’t.
Anyway, this is how you can express your Resolutions , being number 1 the weakest and 10 the strongest. So, depending on how  willing you are to keep your promise , use one or the other.
Ten expressions to use in speaking and writing
1. I guess I’d better stop overspending..
2. I suppose I really ought to go to the gym
3. I really should diet, but then again…
4. There’s nothing for it. I’ll have to do it
5. I promise I’ll try harder to arrive early
6. I have every intention of passing the test
7. Never again will you catch me snoring..
8. Nothing is going to stop me finishing..
9. No matter what happens, I’m going to win..
10. Come hell or high water, I’ll pay it back
Now , you are going to listen to a funny song about resolutions .This is what you can do:

1. Before you listen .Predict some of the promises you might hear
2. Then, write down at least three of the ones you hear
3. Check here

James Morrison: Songs for you, truths for me

Posted by CRISTINA CABAL DIAZ under Music
Now that exams are heavily knocking on your doors   and you may be thinking that you cannot take anymore ,I don’t feel like teaching you another Word of the Day that would  probably be the straw that breaks  the camel’s back. So , I have thought about you enjoying some “quantum of solace”.
Probably one of the best albums so far this year. I have fallen in love with his music, full of soulful blues that seem to come straight from the heart. The album is full of beautiful songs worth listening to.
“Broken strings” is probably my favourite . Lyrics here

Linking Words

Posted by CRISTINA CABAL DIAZ under Listening, Music, The English Language
There are many differences between Spanish and English pronunciation. English is a time stressed language, as opposed to Spanish , which is a syllabic language.
This is important because we, as Spanish, try to give equal importance to each syllable but in English, only some words in a sentence are considered important and therefore pronounced with more emphasis (Content words) while others are quickly spoken (Function words) some would say ,swallowed.
Look at these two sentences. Although the first has 7 words and the second 12 , it should take you the same amount of time to read both sentences. Why? Because as English is a time stressed language there is always the same distance between two stressed words.
Peter said horrible things about your mother.
He left after dinner taking most of his books in his suitcase.

Another thing to take into consideration is Linking .Words , when they are pronounced in isolation do not sound the same as when pronounced in a sentence. Why? Because of this linking.
Linking occurs in English in these situations:
Consonant+ vowel : when a word ends with a consonant sound and the next one starts with a     vowel sound , we , very often , link them
  Ex: Liked it /laiktit/
         And I /∂nai/
Vowel+ Vowel : when one word ends with a vowel sound and the next word begins with a vowel sound, we link the words with a sort of W or Y sound.
To simplify :
♥ If our lips are round at the end of the first word, we insert a W sound:
   Ex: do it /du:wit/
♥ If our lips are wide at the end of the first word, we insert a Y sound:
   Ex: Ray is /reiyiz/
And then we have the Linking “r” for example, the “r” in “here” would not be pronounced in “Here they are ” (because it is followed by a consonant), but it would be pronounced in “Here I am”. Likewise, the “r” at the end of “far” would only be pronounced if the next word begins with a vowel, as in “far away” /fa:r∂wei/ or” far off”. /fa:rof/

Listen to these sentences and repeat after them paying attention to the linkings.
Not at all
Isn’t it a pity Ian’s wearing odd socks?
Was ever a bride so pretty?
Here is a song to practise linking. Pay special attention to the chorus where linkings are much more noticeable. If you want to to an exercise with this song click here.

Piano man

Posted by CRISTINA CABAL DIAZ under Music, Students' Corner
Sent by Mario Pelaez, one of my students. Thanks a lot, Mario
“I’ve liked this song since I was a child” Mario says
It was released in 1973. The title track is one of Joel’s signature tracks and a seminal song in piano rock. It remains a concert standard, and is the source of Joel’s nickname, Piano man.
About the song…well, I think it’s so moving. It’s a song about people who are disappointed with a part of their lives, about people who still believe in their dreams even thought they haven’t been able to make them come true, and the central character of the song is the pianist, the “piano man”, who plays to alleviate their pain, to make them forget about their lives for a while…
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