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Pick a music video where both the lyrics and the visuals have a strong narrative. A good example of this is the song Bad Day by Daniel Powter:

NB – There is an official video but it’s not possible to embed. Here is the link if you would like to watch it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gH476CxJxfg

Split your class into 2 groups. You will need some way of showing the video without playing the sound and playing the song without showing the video.

Showing the video with no sound is simple enough, just play the video as you would normally, but mute the sound or turn off your speakers. You could be playing this on a laptop, class computer and data projector, or even on an iPod touch, iPhone or other Smart electronic device.

Playing audio without video may be trickier, but there are some ways in which you can do this:

  • buy Bad Day on iTunes
  • play as normal but don’t let your class see the screen
  • use a media conversion site to convert the YouTube clip to an mp3 [bear in mind that you will be breaking terms of use and copyright if you do this]

More tricky will be making sure your two groups of learners do not see/hear what each is watching/listening to. You could set up watching and listening stations in your classroom (i.e. one group around the laptop, computer, mp4 player, and the other listening to a CD or mp3 player). Otherwise you could ask one group to wait outside the classroom. Anyway, enough with the set up, on to the task!

Challenge your group watching the clip with no sound to come up with the lyrics (or, for a simpler task, write a short story) and your group listening to the song with no visuals to draw the story.

This could be done with both groups in the same or different rooms. When both groups have finished, they reveal their work to each other and discuss anything interesting. Ask the groups to discuss who they think had an easier task – watchers or listeners? Finally, watch the video clip with the sound turned on, then you can discuss how the lyrics and the images work together to tell a story.