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Posted on May 20, 2013 by kierandonaghy


This EFL lesson is designed around a short film called Mixtape by Luke Snellin and the theme of music. Students speak about music, write a narrative and watch a short film.

Language level: Intermediate (B1) – Upper Intermediate (B2)

Learner type: Teens and adults

Time: 60 minutes

Activity: Speaking, writing and watching a short film

Topic: Music

Language: Types of music and vocabulary related to music

Materials: Short film

Downloadable materials: mixtape lesson instructions

Step 1

Put your students into pairs and ask them to come up with as many different types of music as they can in 2 minutes.


Step 2

Get feedback from the whole class and write the different genres of music on the board. For each genre ask students to come up with adjectives to describe this type of music.


Step 3

Ask students to tell the partner about the following:

  • a type of music you like listening to at home
  • a type of music you like listening to when you go out in the evening
  • a type of music you like listening to when you work or study


Step 4

Show students the picture below and ask them to the following questions:

What’s the relationship between the boy and the girl?

How are they feeling right now?



Step 5

Tell them that the picture comes from a short film in which music plays an important part. Put the students into groups of 3 or 4 and ask them to create a narrative for the film which shows the relationship between the boy and the girl and the role music plays in their relationship.


Step 6

Get a student from each group to read out their story.


Step 7

Now tell students they are going to watch the short film. They should compare their stories with the story they see in the film.


Step 8

Ask students the following questions:

How did the film make you feel?

What do you think is going to happen next?


Step 9

Write Mixtape on the board and tell students that this is the title of the film. Ask them what a mixtape is; they should be able to tell you that it is a compilation of favourite songs. Ask students if they have ever made a mixtape or created a mix CD.



Ask students to imagine that they want to create a mixtape for another person. They have to write a composition about their mixtape. They should use at least 10 songs and for each song they should explain why they chose this song and why the song is important to them.


I hope you enjoy this English language lesson.

Film English is a labour of love, it takes hundreds of hours and thousands of euros a year to sustain and provide free English language lesson plans. Keeping it a free, clean, ad-free experience — which is important to me and, I hope, to you — means it’s subsidised by the generous support of readers like you through donations. So if you find any inspiration, joy and stimulation in these English language lessons or if they help you teaching English, please consider a modest donation — however much you can afford.



17 thoughts on “Mixtape

  1. Great lesson for those of us who love music. Wonderful story and very original lesson plan. Thanks for the ideas

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  6. I appreciate your carefully worked-out lesson plan! Thank you. I am going to present your website to my New Media Class tomorrow. Best regards, K

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  9. Dear Kieran,
    I love your lessons!

    This one, for example, was a hit with my group of teens (Advanced Level). I used your material to work with music-related adjectives, such as timbre, genres and how music makes one feel, and, since my teens are very into music, I thought it would be fun to adapt the homework: I asked them to create a mix tape for me, their teacher. This way, I will be able to get to know them better through something they feel very strongly about. They absolutely loved it. So, thank you again.


    PS: I’ll let you know the final result when I receive the mixtapes/cds ;)

    • Dear Luciana,
      Thanks a lot for commenting and for your kind words about the lessons. I love the way you’ve adapted the material. I look forward to hearing about the results :-)
      All the best,

      • Dear Kieran,

        The lesson and the homework were both a hit!

        The students presented their “mix tape” individually to the whole class and using the vocab covered they explained their track choices, one by one. It was a lovely oral exercise and I had lots of good surprises… who would have thought my 12 year-old student would listen to classical music? or that one of my student would take this work so seriously that he intensively researched and created a theme track with all songs relating to teacher/student topics? It was great!!!

        I’ve burnt the tracks into a CD, named after the class, and gave each one a copy. Success!

        Thanks again,
        Lu Milton.

        • Dear Luciana,
          Thanks a lot for letting me know how you’ve developed the lesson and materials. Great ideas! it sounds like your students have been really engaged and had a great time. I love the idea of giving each student a CD!
          All the best,

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