Age range: 13-18 and older
Suitable after 1 -2 years of English
Theme: Music and awards ceremonies
Lexical area: Music and adjectives for describing opinions
Cross curricular links: Music
Instructions for language assistants in italics
This lesson consists of a series of activities based on the nominations
for the 2004 Brit awards. There is a main text on the Brit Awards and
also a biography of Dido, which you could use, with one of her songs.
There is also a text on the 'Brit School' with some suggested activities
at the end of this main lesson. The combination of activities will depend
on your class.
Higher levels can use these activities as a lead in
to short presentation work to give fluency practice.
Ideas for projects and extra tasks are at the end of the main lesson
notes. You could do a mind map of words connected with music and get
students to brainstorm different music related nouns, verbs etc.
Lower levels can look at pictures from music magazines of
some of the British nominees. See if they know what they all have in
common (British) or who they are. Find out what else they know about
them. You could also put up a list of words from the lesson and see
what they think this article is about.
1. Types of music
If you can find them take in some samples of any music you have. Play
these as an introduction to the lesson. Go round the class talking about
each type and see what the students like / don't like. The amount of language
and length of replies will depend on the level of students. Encourage
higher levels to expand and qualify their opinions: 'No, I can't stand
It will help the students if you build up a list of adjectives to
describe musical tastes and opinions: cool, dull, romantic, aggressive,
loud, funky etc.
Also encourage use of degrees of liking things with intermediate
students and above: I'm keen on, mad about, not very keen on, can't
stand, really hate.
These exercises can be done in pairs, small groups or with the whole
class. Vary the approach if appropriate.
Task 1 Types of music
Look at these types of music:
- Which do you like?
- Add more words to the list?
- Can you name any British artists or bands / groups?
- What type of music do they play?
- What types of music are popular in your country?
- How much are popular musicians in your country influenced by British
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2. The Brit awards
Give out the questions and make sure the students understand them
then give out the text.
Task 2 The Brit awards
- What are the Brit Awards? (A type of Oscars in the music industry)
- Who decides the winners? (People in the music industry and the
- What type of music dominated last year's nominations? (Rap/urban)
- Underline all the names of singers or bands you know. (This can
be done in pairs with some class feedback to get an idea of how many
artists are familiar)
The Brit awards 17th February 2004
The Brit awards is one of the largest music events of the year.
The awards ceremony is held in February in London. They are seen
as the Oscars of the music industry. There are 15 categories in
the awards. The British music industry votes for the best in British
and international music in 11 categories.4 categories are voted
for by the public:
- Best Pop Act
- Best British Video
- Best British single
- Best British newcomer
Internationally famous British artists like Sting or Robbie Williams
usually win awards. Last year's nominations showed that new artists
like Ms Dynamite and The Streets were more popular than traditional,
older musicians. Rappers like Ms Dynamite dominated the competition.
The singer Dido has three nominations and is thought to be one of
the best selling artists today. The rock group The Darkness have
revived the rock scene in the UK this year and have 4 nominations.
The main nominations for 2004 are:
Best British male solo artist
- Badly Drawn Boy
- Daniel Bedingfield
- David Bowie
- Dizzee Rascal
- Will Young
Best British female solo artist
- Sophie Ellis Bextor
- Annie Lennox
- Amy Winehouse
Best British group
- The Coral
- The Darkness
- Jamie Cullum
- The Darkness
- Dizzee Rascal
Best International album
- Christina Aguilera 'Stripped'
- Beyonce 'Dangerously in love'
- Outkast Speakerboxxx/'The Love Below'
- Justin Timberlake 'Justified'
- The White Stripes 'Elephant'
Outstanding contribution to British music
- Duran Duran -Who have 25 years experience in the music business
and have sold over 70 million records.
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3. Talk about the nominees
Put the students in pairs to discuss the nominees and how much they
like their music. If you're worried that they might not know any of the
nominees you could use a list of local musicians instead. With higher
levels you could encourage them to expand on their questioning:
- Did you like his last single?
- Have you seen them in concert? When? Where?
With lower levels: Run through 3 or 4 examples and practice the
questions with the whole class and give a list of possible adjectives
to use in reply to the question: Q:What's his
A: I think it's..
N.B. You'll need to make sure lower levels understand the
difference between: What's he like? And What does he like?and Do
you like him/her/them?
Task 3 talk about the nominees
Use the list of nominations from the text and find out what your partner
knows about the artists.
- Do you know
- What's his/her/their music like?
- Have you got any of his/her/their CDs?
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4. Your predictions
These tasks can be done in pairs, small groups or with the whole class.
Note that the other official categories are: Best international breakthrough
artist, Best international group, Best International female artist, Best
British rock/urban/dance/pop acts, Best British Album.
Task 4 Your predictions
Make some predictions about the possible winners of the awards.
- Who do you think will win each category?
- Who would you like to nominate for the categories?
- Do you agree with the nominations?
- What are some of the other categories?
- Invent some categories.
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5. Your music awards
Students can do this task in groups or in pairs and decide their nominations
together. Get them to fill in a nomination slip each and give all the
slips to you. Read out the main nominations and hold a class vote on each
category if appropriate. Guide students at the start of the activity in
their use of language and put prompts on the board for how to make suggestions
and express agreement and disagreement.
I think we should nominate Y because she's
What do you think?
Why don't we nominate
Agreeing / Disagreeing
No, I prefer X.
I can't stand
Task 5 Your music awards
You are organising a music awards event for music in your country. Choose
artists and music for each category with your classmates.
- Best female solo artistBest male solo artist
- Best single
- Best album
- Best music video
- Best newcomer
- Biggest contribution to music in your country
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6. The launch party interview
This is an opportunity for higher levels to do some free role play.
Discuss the sorts of questions and the types of information they might
need for an article but try not to put words into their mouths. Pairs
can swap roles: journalist / artist
Guide the questions carefully for lower levels by eliciting ideas.
Give categories of information and elicit questions. Build a model dialogue
on the board if necessary.
Task 6 The launch party interview
You are a journalist for a music paper. You are invited to the launch
party of the Brit Awards. This is the moment when the nominations are
- Prepare questions to interview your favourite artist at the launch
Feelings about: the nomination / do they think they will win / opinion
of the Brit awards/the launch party/ how their latest single/album
is doing / future concert or album plans etc
- Act out your interview with a partner.
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Get a copy of the national charts for your host country. Ask students
to guess what percentage of this week's charts is in the English language.
Use this activity to introduce the discussion questions. Put students
in small groups to draw their conclusions.
Task 7 Discussion
British and American music dominate music charts world wide. Some people
think that the music from their own country and in their own language
is in danger. What do you think?
- Do you buy or listen to music in English?
- Is it always important to understand the lyrics?
- Which do you prefer?
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8.The Brit School
You could start by using this text as a dictation (See page 84 of
Ask students in groups to imagine they are choosing applicants for this
very popular school. What qualities might you be looking for. Students
can role play interviews for the school.
Ask students to list jobs under the categories: arts industry, music
industry, media and communications industry. Would they like to do any
of these jobs? How difficult is it to get jobs in these fields? What would
they really like to do when they leave school? What is their dream job?
The Brit School
The Brit Awards is a charity event and it raises millions of pounds
every year for the music industry in the UK. One of the organisations
that could not exist without the awards money is The Brit School.
This school is Britain's only free state school for the performing
arts and technology. It offers an education for students interested
in a career in the arts, entertainment and communications industries.
If you would like to develop your talents in dance, theatre, music,
radio, television or film you could apply to this school. Students
at this school follow a serious course of study. They do vocational
and academic qualifications. They can go on to university to study
music or drama but they can also start work at 18 as a TV cameraman
or a sound engineer in music production.
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You can do this series of activities with a biography of any band
or singer that your classes like. Check the web links below for sources
of other biographies. You could also use it at the beginning of the lesson
to lead into the reading on the Brit awards. It might also be nice to
get students to find out if Dido gets an award this year. It might also
be nice to play 'White flag' for the students and se if they like it.
Ask the class to listen to Dido's biography and take notes. Put
any difficult names on the board and then put the students into groups
to try to reconstruct the text.
Ask students to write notes about another singer or group they like
and then in pairs they can write a biography.
Dido, one of the UK's most successful female singers, is once again
in the running for a Brit award. She won the Best female and best
British Album awards in February 2002 and could do the same again
Dido had a musical education from a young age. She was born on
Christmas Day 1971 in London. Her father was a publisher and her
mother a literary agent and poet. They gave her the rather grand
name of Florian Cloud De Bounevialle Armstrong. Young Dido stole
her first musical instrument, a recorder, at the tender age of five.
A year later she started her studies at London's Guildhall School
of music. By the time she was 10 she could play the violin, piano
and her recorder.
Her teenage years were very varied and full of independence. She
toured the UK with a classical music ensemble and worked as a waitress
in a café. She also studied law at London University, but
her heart was in music. Her brother Rollo invited her to sing with
his successful group Faithless and she started the slow climb to
Her career really took off when the US singer Eminem chose to use
some of her song 'Thank you' in his massive number 1 hit 'Stan'.
She released her first album 'No Angel', which includes the song
'Thank you'. It has now sold over 12 million copies.' No Angel'
became the best selling UK album of 2001 and in 2001 she won the
Best New Act award at the MTV music awards.
All eyes are now on Dido. Her recent single 'White Flag' went straight
to number 1 and her latest album 'Life for Rent' was the UK's best
selling album of 2003.
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Possible follow up activities
Class Quiz suggestions
Students alone or in pairs write a clue to describe an artist or
band. Give them some examples to start with: This solo artist is from
Australia but lives in the UK now. She was a soap star before she became
a singer and her best single is
Complexity and style of clues depends on level.
You could also play an easier team quiz using photos taken from
teen mags/music mags in your host country. Try to get a mix of nationalities:
Who is she? Where's she from?
Higher level students prepare an oral presentation of an artist/musical
genre for the next lesson. It could be a history of the rock, folk,
dance or urban music scenes in their own country. They can highlight
the influence, if any, from British and American musical traditions.
Ask students to take one of the British groups or artists nominated
, or just Duran Duran. They should find out all they can and present
their findings in a mini presentation.
A 2004 music poll in the UK asked 60 influential people in the music
business to suggest the most promising act of the music scene for 2004.
The Sound of 2004 voted the band 'Keane' as a band with a 'big
voice'. How much can students find out about this band?
Alternatively they can decide in groups to choose a new band or
singer for the next lesson. Ask them to prepare a short presentation
which can include music samples. The band or singer can be local, national
Students of lower leves can prepare short written texts in pairs
about artists they like and illustrate them with magazine cuttings.
They can write short captions for the cuttings.
Teenage Tribes explores how important
fashion and music trends are in shaping identity.
Also see Using songs in the Tips archive.
You can find Dido and other artists' songs at the British Council's learn
www.mtv.com Other bio data can
be found on the MTV site in the bands a-z section.
Check out all the nominations, the results and the latest news on British
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