Number 27

The British Council Russia

This month`s English Page provides you with British Studies material you can use with students aged between 12 – 16. The topic is “Youth Culture” and especially “Pop Music” – something which appeals to young people all over the world.

There is also a letter from Tom in which he talks about the music he likes to listen to and about how he celebrated New Year.

Have you ever tried using pop songs with your students? Have you any good ideas for using music in class? Do write to me, Margaret Hay-Campbell, at The British Council, VBGIL, Ul. Nikoloyamskaya 1, MOSCOW 109189. We really enjoy getting your letters.

The next English Page will be published on Tuesday, 2nd April.



Britain is often considered the world leader in the pop music scene. Pop music is one of Britain`s exports and I am sure you will find your students are familiar with the names and sounds of the UK`s leading groups. This may be a topic which you don`t feel you know much about yourself. Don`t worry – use your students as a resource. Find out as much as you can from them about what they like to listen to, what British groups they know, what styles of music they are familiar with. What Russian groups do they like? There are good ideas for discussing pop music in`Music and Song` by Tim Murphey, published by Oxford University Press. You can find this book and the others mentioned in this article in the British Council Resource Centres in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod and Ekaterinburg.

GLOSSARY: Here are some words associated with youth culture you might need to know:

Adapted from “Britain Now” – Youth Culture by Matthew Hancock published by BBC English.


Some class activities


i. the names of the bands each person likes

ii. the type of music each person likes.

Read the first extract – as a class fill in the information

(Tony likes Prince, Hammer and Silverfish. He likesdance music).

Read the other extracts – ask the students to note down their answers to the two questions. Report back and fill in the details on the board.

Divide the class into groups. Give out a copy of “Which Type Are You?” In groups the students allocate a description to Tony, Maggie, Lee and Mark. They discuss in groups what type of music they like – this could be done as a class questionnaire.

2. What sort of music do young people buy?

3. READING – Biography of U2

Divide the class into groups. Give each group a copy of the article. Ask them to read the article and to put the information on to the time line.

Adapted from “The World of English” by Mark Farrell, published by Longman and reproduced here with kind permission of the publisher Longman Group Limited.



Dear Sasha

Hi! It was good to get your letter all about how you celebrated New Year in Moscow. I had a great time too. A group of us decided to go to Trafalgar Square to see the New Year in. We knew we would have to go fairly early because it gets really crowded there around midnight. There must have been thousands of people jammed into the Square. People were wearing funny hats, throwing streamers, popping balloons and generally having a good time. Some people were jumping into the fountains but as there was no water in them that seemed rather pointless to me! One of Mark`s friends kissed a police woman and “borrowed” her hat! She wasn`t very pleased so he had to give it back to her but not before someone had taken a photo of him wearing the hat! Dead on midnight, as the chimes of Big Ben sounded out, we all began to sing Auld Lang Syne and everyone started to shout and cheer.

Afterwards we went to a disco. I like rap and hip hop and some of the new groups like Mega City Four. I`m not keen on heavy metal – the music at the disco was great and I could have stayed really late but we had to leave at around 2.30am.

Write and tell me about what types of music you like. What are the good Russian groups like? I`d really like to know.




see the New Year in – celebrating New Year at midnight

jammed – squeezed, pushed into a tight space

streamers – long narrow strips of paper,like paper ribbons

pointless – without purpose

dead on – at exactly

Auld Lang Syne – traditional Scottish song sung at New Year

keen on – enthusiastic about

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