Under Pressure an ESL Musical Conversation activity

Under Pressure – An ESL Music Activity

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Time for another timeless classic that students will love and it will lead to a great discussion on stress. I always try to either have an extra add on to whatever class I create for a great ESL discussion that is related to the song. Many students all over the world know David Bowie, Freddy Mercury, and the great group, Queen.

I’ve seen many renditions of this with similar sounding words that students have to circle. You can either add in more blanks or change it to make it easier. I figured “Under Pressure” is a great way to introduce discussions on stress and how to deal with stress. I hope this class is stress-free and enjoyable.

“Under Pressure”
by Queen

Queen and ESL Conversation Class

Um bum ba de

Um bum ba de

Um bu bu bum da de

Pressure blushing/pushing down on me

Pressing/blessing down on you, no man ask for

Under pressure – that burns a building down

(divides) a family in two

Puts people on streets
(makes people homeless)

Um ba ba be

Um ba ba be

De day da

Ee day da

That’s okay

It’s the terror
(being very scared) of knowing/glowing what this world is about

Watching/catching some good friends screaming, ‘Let me out’

(talking to God) tomorrow – gets me higher

Pressure on people – people on streets

Day day de mm hm

Da da da ba ba


Chippin’ around (going around (British English)) – kick my brains (the organ in your head that allows you to think) on the floor

These are the days *it never rains but it pours (rains very hard)

Ee do ba be

Ee da ba ba ba

Um bo bo

Be lap

People on streets – dee da de da de

People on streets – dee da de da de da de da

It’s the terror of knowing/glowing what this world is about

Watching/catching some good friends screaming, ‘Let me out’

Pray tomorrow – gets me higher high high

Pressure on people – people on streets

Turned away from it all like a blind (unable to see) man

(not supporting one side or another; being neutral) but it don’t work

Keep coming/ becoming up with love but it’s so slashed (cut into pieces with a knife) and torn

Why – why – why ?

Love love love love love

(craziness; mental illness) laughs under pressure – we’re cracking (breaking into small pieces; becoming emotionally unstable)

Can’t we give ourselves one more chance

Why can’t we give love that one more chance

Why can’t we give love give love give love give love

give love give love give love give love give love

(because) love’s such an __________________ (traditional; not modern) word

And love dares
you (asks that you have courage) to care for the people on the _______________

And love dares you to change our way of caring about ourselves

This is our last dance

This is our last dance

This is ourselves

Under pressure

Under pressure


It never rains, but it pours: We say this when we talk about a series of bad things happening one after another. For example: Jim was working on the website, and it crashed. Then he got locked out of the office this morning, and his boss caught him coming in late. It never rains, but it pours!

What is stress?

  1. ESL Stress Discussion questionsWhat causes stress?
  2. How do you recognize stress in your life?
  3. Have you been under stress recently?
  4. How does stress affect you?
  5. Do you have a kind of red warning flag that indicates too much stress?
  6. When you are stressed, how do you feel physically?
  7. Have you ever cracked under pressure? Have you ever seen anybody else crack?

Healthy Stress

  1. Do you think stress is ever good, useful, or necessary?
  2. Why or why not?

Some doctors say that stress is all about perception. How can you change your perception of the following things to make it not stressful?

  • You have a long train ride
  • It is raining
  • You argue with your boss
  • You have a difficult project to complete

Your Stress Vulnerability

In another study, doctors realized that if we had good habits or support systems, we could handle stress better than others.

  1. What kind of things might help you fight off stress? I’ll let you know that one of them is that you have at least one hot meal per day. What are some other ways you can be stronger against stress?
  2. When you have stress, what are some ways you relax or calm down?

I Hope that Was a Stress-Free Class

For the music, going over the answers and meanings, I suggest having the class together as a whole. After have students break down into groups of 3 or 4 for the rest of the discussion questions. I used to have an excellent class on stress, but it was lost at my last school. I will have to see what I can remember and write a new one for an upcoming class.

As for yourself, try not to let class or students stress you out. Remember you are getting paid to teach English! And as we all know by now Teaching English is Fun!



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