Music as a tool for foreign language learning in Early Childhood Education and Primary Education. Proposing innovative CLIL Music teaching approaches.



The present paper aims at promoting pedagogical reflection by providing the theoretical foundations on the connections between foreign language learning (FLL) and music, which shapes a CLIL Music program named MOVIC (Movement & Music in English).  It also encourages the implementation CLIL Music approaches in EFL classrooms. The paper focuses on the benefits that music brings to the English as a Foreign Language (EFL) classroom, as well as it contextualizes the current situation in the Spanish education system and the pedagogical possibilities that the use of music encompasses. Finally, it presents the EFL approach to MOVIC, together with a sample activity, and it provides


English, Music, CLIL, innovation


Abril, C. R., & Gault, B. M. (2008). The state of music in secondary schools. The principal’s perspective. Journal of Research in Music Education, 56(1), 68–81.

Baumgartner, T., Esslen, M., & Jancke, L. (2006). From emotion perception to emotion experience: emotions evoked by pictures and classical music. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 60(1), 34–43.

Bourdieu, P. (1991). Language and symbolic power. Harvard University Press.

Boyd, C. (2018). Evaluation of a rural music project designed to foster a sense of community belonging. New Community.

Brewer, C. (1995). Music and learning: integrating music in the classroom. Life Sounds.

Caine, T. M. (2008). Do you speak global?: The spread of English and the implications for English language teaching. Canadian Journal for New Schools in Education, 1(1), 1–11.

Campbell, P., Connell, C., & Beegle, A. (2007). Adolescents’ expressed meanings of music in and out of school. Journal of Research in Music Education, 55(3), 220–236.

Casals, A., & Viladot, L. (2011). La música com a recurs per a ensenyar llengua (estrangera): Una proposta europea. Guix, 374, 45–48.

Centro de Investigaciones Sociológicas (2014). Barómetro de febrero de 2014. Estudio 3013. Retrieved from

Ćirkovic Miladinović, I.R. &Milić, I.M. (2012). Young learners and CLIL: Developing language skills in ELT classroom integrated with the contents of musical education. In Divlyan, S. (coord.) (2012), Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) in Teaching English to Young Learners. Conference Proceeding No. 11. City Press.

Commission of the European Communities (2006). Recommendation of the Parliament and of the Council on key competences for lifelong learning. Retrieved from:

Cook, V. (Ed.) (2002). Portraits of the L2 User. Multilingual Matters.

Cortina-Pérez, B., & Andúgar, A. (2018). Didáctica de la lengua extranjera en la Educación Infantil. Inglés. Pirámide.

Eerola, P. S., & Eerola, T. (2014). Extended music education enhances the quality of school life. Music Education Research, 16(1), 88–104.


Escobar Urmeneta, C. (2011). Colaboración interdisciplinar, partenariado y centros de formación docente: Tres ejes para sustentar la formación del profesorado AICLE. In C. Escobar Urmeneta & L. Nussbaum (Coords.), Aprendre en una altra llengua / Learning through another language / Aprender en otra lengua, pp. 203–230. Bellaterra: Servei de Publicacions de la Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.

Escobar Urmeneta, C. (2012). Content-Rich Language Learning in Context-Rich Classrooms. APAC, 74, 39–47.

Escobar Urmeneta, C. (2019). An introduction to Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) for teachers and teacher educators. CLIL Journal of Innovation and Research in Plurilingual and Pluricultural Education, 2(1), 7–19.

Escobar Urmeneta, C., & Nussbaum, L. (2010). Politiques, pratiques et perspectives de l’éducation linguistique en Espagne. In M. Niemeyer Verlag (Ed.), Fremdsprachenan den Schulen der Europäischen Union. Gefälligkeitsübersetzung: Foreign languages in the schools of the European Union. Langues étrangères dans les écoles de l’Union européenne, 120–133. De Gruyter.

Font-Rotchés, D.& Cantero Serena, F.J. (2009). Melodic Analysis of Speech Method applied to Spanish and Catalan. Phonica, 5, 33–47.

Forster, E. (2006). The value of songs and chants for young learners. Encuentro 16, 63–68.

García, I. M. & Juan, A. D. (2015). The use of rhymes and songs in the Teaching of English in Primary Education. Docencia e investigación, 25 (2), 83-101.

Gardner, H. (1983). Frames of mind: The theory of multiple intelligences. Basic Books.

Gaston, E. T. (1968). Music in Therapy. The Macmillan Company.

Gatbonton, E., & Segalowitz, N. (1988). Creative automatization: Principles for promoting fluency within a communicative framework. TESOL Quarterly, 22, 473–492.

Gilleece, L. F. (2006). An empirical investigation of the association between musical aptitude and foreign language aptitude.Dublin, University of Dublin, Trinity College (doctoral thesis). Retrieved from:

Gillespie, R., Russell, J. A.,& Hamann, D. L. (2014). String music educators’ perceptions of the impact of new string programs on student outcomes, school music programs, and communities. Journal of Research in Music Education, 62(2), 175–187.

Griffee, D.T. (1995). Songs in action. International Book Distribution Ltd.

Hallam, S., Creech, A.,& McQueen, H. (2015). Teachers’ perceptions of the impact on students of the Musical Futures approach. Music Education Research, 19(3), 263–275.

Hinshaw, T., Clift, S., Hulbert, S., & Camic, P. M. (2015). Group singing and young people’s psychological well-being. International Journal of Mental Health Promotion, 17(1), 46–63.

Horwitz, E., Horwitz, M., & Cope, J. (1986). Foreign language classroom anxiety. The Modern Language Journal, 70(2), 125–132.

INEE (2012). Estudio Europeo de Competencia Lingüística EECL Vol I. Informe Español. Madrid: Secretaría General Técnica del Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte.

Jorgensen, E. (1995). Music education as community.Journal of Aesthetic Education, 29(3), 71–84.

Koelsch, S. (2005). Neural substrates of processing syntax and semantics in music. Current Opinion in Neurobiology, 15, 207–212.

Krashen, S. (1987). The Input Hypothesis: issues and implications. Longman.

Kuśnierek, A. (2016). The role of music and songs in teaching English vocabulary to students. World Scientific News, 43(1), 1–55.

Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. Learning in doing (Vol. 95). Cambridge University Press.

Lee, L. (2009). An empirical study on teaching urban young children music and English by contrastive elements of music and songs. Education Review, 6(3), 28–39.

Leith, W.D. (1979). Advanced French conversation through popular music. The French Review, 52, 537–551.

Littlewood, W. (1981). Communicative Language Teaching. An Introduction. Cambridge University Press.

Lo, R., & Li, H. C. (1998). Songs enhance learner involvement. English Teaching Forum, 36, 8–11.

Ludke, K. M. (2009). Teaching foreign language through songs. University of Edinburgh.

MacIntyre, P. D. & Gregersen, T. (2012). Affect: The role of language anxiety andother emotions in language learning. In S. Mercer, S. Ryan, & M. Williams(Eds.), Language learning psychology: Research, theory and pedagogy, 103–118. Palgrave.

Marsh, K. (2012). “The beat will make you be courage”: The role of a secondary school music program in supporting young refugees and newly arrived immigrants in Australia. Research Studies in Music Education, 34(2), 93–111.

McKay, S.L. (2002). Teaching English as an International Language. Oxford University Press.

Medina, S.L. (1990). The effect of music on second language vocabulary acquisition. National Network for Early Language Learning, 6(3),1–26.

Millington, N.T. (2011). Using songs effectively to teach English to young learners. Language Education in Asia, 2(1), 134–141.

Milovanov, R., Pietila, P., Tervaniemi, M., & Esquef Paulo, A. A. (2010). Foreign language pronunciation skills and musical aptitude: A study of Finnish adults with higher education. Learning and Individual Differences, 20(1),56–60.

Milovanov, R., Pietila, P., Tervaniemi, M.,& Marita, G. (2004). The impact of musical aptitude in foreign language acquisition. Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Music Perception & Cognition (ICMPC8). Evanston, IL, 2004.

Moya, A., Albentosa, J. I., Harris, C., Llorente, P. & Torres, G. I. (2003). La enseñanza de la lengua extranjera en la educación infantil. Ediciones de la Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha.

Murphey, T. (1987). English through Music: singing TPR, walking labs& Music matter. Annual Meeting of the International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language. Westende, Belgium.

Murphey, T. (1992). Music & Song. Oxford University Press.

Neville, H., Andersson, A., Bagdade, O., Bell, T., Currin, J., Fanning, J., Klein, S., Lauinger, B., Pakulak, E., Paulsen, D., Sabourin, L., Stevens, C., Sundborg, S., & Yamada, Y. (2008). Effects of music training on brain and cognitivedevelopment inunder-privileged 3- to 5-year-old children: Preliminaryresults. In B. Rich & C. Asbury (Eds.), Learning, arts, and the brain: The Dana Consortium report on arts and cognition, pp. 105–106. New York,NY: Dana Press.

Norton, B. (1997). Language, identity and the ownership of English. TESOL Quarterly, 31(3), 409–429.

Peynircioglu, Z. F., Durgunoglu, A.Y., & Öney-Küsefoglu, B. (2002). Phonological awareness and musical aptitude. Journal of Research in Reading, 25(1), 68–80.

Plass, J. L., Homer, B. D. & Kinzer, C. K. (2015). Foundations of Game-Based Learning. Educational Psychologist, 50(4), 258–283.

Rainey, D., & Larsen, J. D. (2002). The effect of familiar melodies on initial learning and long-term memory for unconnected text. Music Perception, 20(2),173–186.

Richards, J. C. & Rodgers, T. S. (1986). Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching. Cambridge University Press.

Robinson, K. & Aronica, L. (2016). Creative schools: the grassroots revolution that’stransforming education. Penguin Books.

Saber, M. & Fahandejaadi, R. (2016). Music and Language Learning. Shiraz University.

Schön, D., Boyer, M., Moreno, S., Besson, M., Peretz, I., & Kolinsky, R. (2008). Songs as an aid for language acquisition. Cognition: A journal for foreign language educators, 106(2), 975–983.

Shen, C. (2009). Using English songs: an enjoyable and effective approach to ELT. English Language Teaching, CCSE, 2(1), 88-94.

Somers, T., & Evnitskaya, N. (2014). CLIL opens doors, but who opens the doors to CLIL? XXXII AESLA International Conference: Applied Linguistics: Language Industries and Social Change. Universidad Pablo de Olavide. Sevilla (Spain). April 3-5, 2014.

Spicher, L., & Sweeney, F. (2007). Folk Music in the L2 classroom.Development of native-like pronunciation through prosodic engagement strategies. Connections, 1, 35–48.

Torras-Vila, B. (2016). Studying Primary Education in English: factors that influenced the students’ decision. E-AESLA, 2, 235–243. Retrieved from

Viladot, L., & Casals, A. (2010). Do you speak music? The Catalan approach. NAME, 29, 2–5.

Viladot, L.,& Casals, A. (2018). Rhyming the rhythm and measuring the metre: Pooling music and language in the classroom. CLIL Journal of Innovation and Research in Plurilingual and Pluricultural Education, 1(1), 37–43.

Viladot, L., & Cslovjecsek, M. (2014). Do you speak…music? Facing the challenges of training teachers on integration. Hellenic Journal of Music, Education, and Culture, 5(1), 2–16. Retrieved from

Wallace, W. T. (1994). Memory for music: Effect of melody on recall of text. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 20, 1471-1485.

Willis, J. (1996). A Framework for Task-Based Learning. Longman

Willis, J. (2013). English through music: Designing CLIL materials for young learners. Padres y Maestros, 349, 29–32.

Author Biography

Berta Torras Vila, Universitat de Vic-Universitat de la Catalunya Central

Bachelor in Primary Music Education and Masters in The Acquisition of English and in Applied Linguistics (University of Bristol). Doctor in English Language Pedagogy. She began her professional career working as a Music teacher. She is currently working as a teacher educator and she collaborates with the Language and Education (LED) research group.




Download data is not yet available.