The Rock in Mexico Project

Rock music is a great medium for learning language and culture.

This is a collection of resources and activities on rock music in Mexico designed to use in the secondary Spanish classroom.

Things to look for:

  • See the table of contents at right for an outline of content
  • Suggested activities and printables are in red

I welcome your feedback and your contributions. To add to the Rock in Mexico Project, please request membership to GoldLanguage in the upper right hand corner of the page. - CarrieEGold CarrieEGold

Using Songs to Teach Foreign Languages

How can we use songs as an effective teaching tool? Here are some suggestions and resources. Your own additions are welcomed.

This is a free short book that includes suggestions for teaching vocabulary, grammar, listening comprehension, speaking skills, reading, the target culture, and more through songs
As taught by the University of Texas at Austin's Center for Open Educational Resources and Language Learning
Suggestions for how to choose a song and use it in the foreign language classroom
From "Conversation Questions for the ESL/EFL Classroom: A Project of The Internet TESL Journal"

Building Background Knowledge

How can you prepare students to talk about Mexican rock music? Here are some suggested activities.

Suggested Instruction: Traditional Mexican Values

  1. Use the provided clip to help students learn information about Hispanic families
  2. Guide students in completing the discussion worksheet to compare and contrast family traditions

Suggested Assignment: Understanding Historical Context

  • Have students create a timeline illustrating Mexican society in the 1960's. One possible tool: Dipity timeline
  • The politics and national events of Mexico impacted rock and roll music in the country. Have students consider:
    • The president
    • The president's party
    • Major national events that occurred during this time period (such as Mexico hosting the 1968 Olympics)
    • Major international events

1950's and 60's

Los Crazy Boys: "Besitos sí"

Los Hooligans: "Agujetas de color de rosa"

Background information for listeners
  • At this time, a lot of Mexican rock imitated American rock. Many Mexican groups sang in English. Many sang the same songs as well-known American artists.
  • This song imitates the 1959 American song “Pink Shoelaces” by Dodie Stevens
  • Mexican rock and roll was first popular with upper class youth, who often knew English, traveled to the US, and/or had money to buy imported records

  • Suggested listening activity for "Agujetas de color de rosa":
  • Suggested post-listening activity: Have students turn their paper over and draw the narrator's novia based on her description in the song

1960's and 70's

Building Background Knowledge

  • Suggested instruction for understanding psychedelic music and the "jipi"
    1. Explain: The hippie use of the Mexican Psilocybe mexicana mushroom resulted from an interest in traditional culture during this era. The mushroom was used by traditional healers for medical purposes long before it was discovered by the hippie movement.
    2. Have students read about María Sabina, Mexican curandera
      • Discuss the quote: "Before Wasson, nobody took the children simply to find God. They were always taken to cure the sick."
    3. Guide students as they listen to the song "Yerbatero" by Juanes
    4. Have students complete the following worksheet about viewpoints

  • Suggestions for understanding English-language pieces
  • Suggestions for understanding historical context: suggested topics
    • Tlatelolco Massacre
      • Radio story: "Mexico's 1968 Massacre: What Really Happened?"
      • Film: Tlatelolco, Verano de 68 "An across-the-tracks love story, well-off girl and a working class boy, set against Mexico's Tiananmen: the 1968 student protests and strikes that climaxed in the Tlatelolco Square massacre of students by security forces. The number of deaths was covered up by Mexico's PRI ruling government, which hosted the Olympic Games 10 days later."
      • Discussion questions:
        • What do you understand about what happened during the Tlatelolco Massacre? Re-tell events to a partner.
        • Why were people protesting?
        • Why did the government react dramatically?
        • Did the protesters have a right to protest?
        • Did the government have a right to react?
        • What would have happened if the government hadn't reacted? If they had reacted differently? What would have happened that day? What would have happened during the following years?
        • Have you ever been to a protest?
        • Is protesting a right?
        • Was the way the Mexican government reacted a right?
        • Should this event be remembered in Mexico? How? Commemorated? How?
    • Avándaro Music Festival
    • Psychedelic Music

La Revolución de Emiliano Zapata: "Como te extraño"

Three Souls in my Mind: "Chavo de onda"


Rockdrigo González: Si un día despertara

  • Letra
  • Suggested assignment: Have students use the lyrics as a guide to answer the same question Rockdrigo González did--"Si un día despertara..."


Santana y Maná: "Corazón espinado"

Lyrics Trainer creates gaps for the user to fill in lyrics as they listen to and watch the music video of a song.


Building Background Knowledge

News Coverage of Nortec Music:

Nortec Collectiva: "Tijuana Makes Me Happy"

  • Possible Discussion Questions:
    • What do you know about Tijuana?
    • How do the musicians feel about Tijuana?
    • According to the lyrics, how do others feel about Tijuana?
    • Is there something in your life that others don't understand? What do you do? Do you explain it? How? How do you act about it?
    • How do you express yourself?
    • This song uses English. Is it really a Mexican song? If it isn't, where is it from? What culture is it expressing?
    • Do you use more than one language between home, family, school, work, friends, etc.? How do you choose which language to use? What do the different languages mean to you?

Ximena Sarinana: "No vuelvo más"

Lyrics Trainer creates gaps for the user to fill in lyrics as they listen to and watch the music video of a song.

More Resources

Finding Music

Learning About Music

Language Exercises

Lyrics Trainer creates gaps for the user to fill in lyrics as they listen to and watch the music video of a song. It uses gamification to assign points and allow users to compete against each other. Search for songs by language.