Number one for English language teachers

Mingle activities: Talk when the music stops

Level: Starter/beginner, Elementary, Pre-intermediate, Intermediate, Upper intermediate, Advanced Type: Extra

A lively mingle activity to get students moving and talking about various topics.

This is a great activity to:

a) wake students up in the first lesson in the morning,
b) make students move e.g. during a double lesson, when concentration decreases or after
    sitting for hours,
c) make students talk to somebody in the class they would not necessarily address,
d) encourage lazier or shyer students to speak.


  • Find an audio of lively music.
  • Students divide into two groups which are the same size (with odd numbers the teacher joins one group).
  • Students form two concentric circles.
  • When the music starts, the outer circle moves clockwise, the inner circle anti-clockwise.
  • When the teacher stops the music after some time, students have to stop too and everybody faces a partner in the other circle.
  • The teacher calls out a topic which students have to discuss until the music starts again. The topic depends on the level of the class e.g. Elementary/pre-intermediate: weather, hobby, family, pets, holidays, school.  Intermediate: neighbours, favourite invention, future ambitions, going out. Upper-intermediate/advanced: pollution, generation gap, beauty craze, alienation, politics.
  • When the teacher starts the music, students move on until it stops again (make sure new pairs are formed)

My students have always enjoyed this activity (really eager discussions develop) as a welcome break to the usual routine.

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Readers' comments (4)

  • Hi there,

    Thanks for the lovely feedback. Great to hear this activity worked well for you and your students.

    Best wishes,
    The onestopenglish team

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  • This is a great activity that my students enjoyed very much. I did it on a very hot day. As soon as they arrived in the classroom, my students asked me if we could do the lesson outside. As I had already planned this activity, I could meet their need of not staying in the room.
    This activity was perfect. They loved it and surprisingly it didn't turn into a big mess. They kept on talking English and had great fun on the rythm of the music.
    Thanks a lot for this. For sure, I'll keep it for the future sunny and hot days in Belgium.

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  • Hi Anna,

    Thanks for the feedback. Glad you like the idea.

    Best wishes,
    The onestopenglish team

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  • Fantastic idea! Thanks a bunch. A good idea for a party!

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