Reinforcing our Commitment
National Consultant for Emotional Poverty
Using music/lyric analysis for Social/Emotional Learning with students
This activity can be used during a Morning Meeting, with a small group, or as a class lesson. It could be adapted for middle grade elementary students through high school age.
Emotions are often intense in songs, but that can be the catalyst for healthy discussion.
Here are some suggestions of current popular songs with usable lyrics:
“Be A Light” Thomas Rhett (country)
“Happy Anywhere” Blake Shelton (country)
“Rain On Me” Lady Gaga (pop)
"Feels Like Summer" Donald Glover (R&B)
“Daisies” Katy Perry (pop)
“Past Life” Trevor Daniel (pop)
“Rescue” Lauren Daigle (contemporary)
Instruct the students to be respectful of each type of music. We are not endorsing any one type or style of music, nor any particular artist. Do not make negative comments about the music; everyone has personal preferences. The exercise is about interpreting what the artist is trying to communicate.
You may want to invite students to bring something in and that you will look and listen to it.
Nothing inappropriate for school will be used in front of the class (although, you can learn a lot about a student that shares lyrics to a favorite song)
Listen to the song while following along with lyrics with the class or small group.
Questions and discussion:
How do YOU feel immediately after listening to this?
Go through each line and analyze.
What do you think the songwriter meant ?
How do you think the songwriter was feeling?
What do you think the songwriter meant for the listener to think and feel?
What are you thinking and feeling?
How do you think what someone thinks and feels influences what they do?
Can you give an example of what the character did because of what he/she thought or felt?
This could also be used as a “check-in” point during a Morning Meeting. “After listening to this song, give the group one word to express what you are feeling.” You can ask students to elaborate in front of the group or check in privately with concerns later.