Bring music into your French classroom!

Music in French class is so much fun! Want to find some fun, new songs to play for your French students? Read on!

List of French songs to help teach vocabulary and grammar

I've been teaching for 12 years now, and I have to admit that I am not always fun.  Or interesting.  Sometimes, even I am not interested in what I am doing. While I try my best, I struggle a lot with teaching certain standards in my class.  According to my curriculum, I need to teach poetry, but I HATED poetry in school.  How can I help the kids appreciate something, analyze something, care about something that I can't stand myself?  MUSIC!

The first major change I made was to bring music into my classroom every week, no matter how busy I was or how much I felt I needed to teach certain concepts.  Because I am not a lover of Mondays, I decided to start the week with a song.  I'll admit that it has been very time-consuming finding the perfect song each week, and even more challenging if you teach the same students for several years in a row.  That requires a LOT of songs!  See, you can't just bring in a song just because you don't like Mondays.  You have to have the right song for the concepts you are working on, and you have to know your audience.  In my case, do teenagers like what I like?  I am 20+ years older than they are, so maybe not.

Here are some fun ways I like to use songs and music:

1. Teach note-taking and culture by creating short Power Points about the singers.  These generally take 10-15 minutes to make by doing a quick Google search and some copying and pasting.  It is great to help students understand the diversity of the French-speaking world.  I find that it helps my kids relate more to the countries we are studying if they can become familiar with some of the country's people.

2.  Create a cloze activity by erasing some of the lyrics.  I like to do this when we are working on specific vocabulary or verb tenses.  There are lyrics available easily online with a quick Google search.  Just copy and paste into a document, then delete the words you want them to write in.  Super easy!

3.  Have students memorize the song to help them retain certain problematic structures.

4.  Show them the video and have them make inferences based on what they see.

5.  Create a writing prompt or discussion prompt based on the video.  This is great for upper level classes.

6.  Find a video with the lyrics and have a lip-syncing contest.  This is super fun if you have some less-shy classes, and it is a fun way to practice French if some classes are ahead of the others and you are looking for something fun to do while the others catch up.

Great songs that might not already be on your playlist:

For teaching vocabulary and verbs

1.  Ma Valise - Dorothée
This is a great song when teaching travel vocabulary, clothes, or just when you want to review a lot of nouns.  The video is silly, and my high-schoolers groan when they see it and then grudgingly admit that they like it!

2.  Jean petit qui danse
This is great for body parts.

3.  J'aime les fruits - Alain le Lait
This is great for...yep, fruits.
Alain le Lait has a ton of great videos available on Youtube for beginners!

4.  Si j'étais président - Gérard Lenorman
Great for praticing si clauses.

5.  Si tu as été à Tahiti - Albert DePaname
Funny video!  This is great for the passé composé.  I print the lyrics with some verbs missing, and have them fill in the missing words.  Plays on the season été and the past participle été.

6.  On ira - Zaz
This is great for the futur simple.

Favorites at the beginning of the year to set the tone for a positive year and get them excited about the music (great for any level).  

Remember, the goal with beginners is not that they understand the entire song.  You want them to begin to understand the cultures and appreciate the diversity of the French-speaking world.

1.  Ose - Yannick Noah
      I like to use this for goal setting.

2.  Dima - Zaho
     My students have always loved this song!

3.  Ma philosophie - Amel Bent
    This song has a really positive message.

4.  L'amour à la française - Les Fatals Picards
     The video is too funny!

5.  Comme des enfants - Coeur de Pirate
     One of my all-time favorite singers!

6.  Parce qu'on vient de loin - Corneille
     Great for demonstrating the diversity of the French-speaking world.

7.  Au soleil - Jenifer
     We use this when studying southern France.

8.   Toi plus moi - Gregoire
      My kids love this song!  We use it to discuss how sometimes, when things are rough, we have to think positively and make an effort to look at the bright side of things.

9.   Magic in the air - Magic System
      There is some English, and this can be reassuring to new French students.

10.   Tourne - Shy'm
      This song is good for beginners, because it appeals to teenagers.  For more advanced learners, it is a good speaking or writing prompt.  Does modern life have to be so fast-paced?  What do you to to relax?

11. On écrit sur les murs - Kids United
      This video and song is all about positivity.

12.  A nos actes manqués - M. Pokora
     What could we miss out on if we don't make the best of every moment?

Here are some singers and/or songs that I love for intermediate to advanced learners:

For writing/speaking prompts, these songs have great ideas to write about and/or discuss:

Carmen - Stromae

Papoutai - Stromae - My classes LOVE Stromae!

Une Américaine à Paris - Rupa and the April Fishes

Je suis moi - Shy'm

Je veux - Zaz

Dernière danse - Indila

And last of all, some fun holiday songs for all classes!

La chanson des squelettes - Babelzone

Le Rock de la sorcière - Stéphy Prod

Quand le Père Noël vient me visiter - Suzanne Pinel

Petit Papa Noël - original by Tino Rossi, but this song has been remade a lot of times!

Vive le vent - French version of Jingle Bells

Au royaume du bonhomme hiver - French version of Winter Wonderland

For Earth Day:
Respire -Mickey 3D - This video is great and it really gets a discussion going.  There is a grown up word here, so beware!  You can use this with older kids who won't make an issue, or simply don't mention it.  If they are not native French speakers, they won't understand, but if you are uncomfortable with this, I'd just avoid this song.

Aux arbres citoyens - Yannick Noah

Got any other favorite songs? Leave them below for all to enjoy!

Thanks to Glitter Meets Glue for the clip art.  You can visit her store here:


  1. I like to use "Je n'ai jamais pleuré" by Jonny Hallyday to help my kids practice passé composé. I give them the verb infinitives then they write out the past participles and use that as their word bank to fill in the cloze activity.
    This PDF also has a lot of songs (with corresponding themes) listed but some are not available to listen on YouTube.

  2. Thanks for sharing your list, Sarah! That's a huge bunch of new songs to explore! ;)