Number one for English language teachers

Pictures: Dialogue in music

Level: Pre-intermediate, Intermediate, Upper intermediate, Advanced Type: Extra

This simple activity uses a piece of instrumental music to create a dialogue.


You'll need a short extract of instrumental music where there's some sort of opposition between instruments – e.g. between a solo instrument and piano in a classical sonata, or between a soloist and orchestra in a concerto, or between a saxophone or a trumpet and the rest of the band in a piece of jazz. It should be something that you think everyone in the class will be at least willing to listen to.

Introduce the activity by asking the class to listen to the piece as a dialogue between the two instruments, or between the soloist and the ensemble.

Then ask them, either individually or collaboratively, to write in words the dialogue they heard. They can then compare their dialogues, which might lead to further discussion of the music and what they heard in it.

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