Music Quiz


Using icebreaker activities and re-energizers in the classroom effectively help to “break the ice” in various ways: Adult learners get acquainted, start conversations, build trust, and relieve tensions. They encourage participation and help creating a sense of connection and shared common understanding. They help to clear the mind, vitalize, and create enthusiasm (Chlup & Collins, 2010). 


What is this technique about

The Music Quiz method is an icebreaker or a “mind-freer” where the students are divided in equal sized teams and will then compete against each other by guessing the name or artist of a song. The songs should be a popular or familiar so everybody can participate in the guessing game. There are several ways to do a Music Quiz as an icebreaker in a workshop setting, which makes it easy to customize it as wanted.  

Where does it come from

Music Quizzes are en vogue as trivia games latest since BBC launched its Pop Quiz at 4 July 1981 (see IMDb, online).  These quizzes can also be used as fun icebreakers in the classroom.

For which purposes it is used (why in your engineering teaching)

When facilitating a workshop where students are deeply concentrated in solving a problem or develop a use case or future scenario, it is ideal to have an ice breaker or “mind freer”. The purpose of the ice breaker is to get the students to stop thinking about the workshop for a moment and do a completely different activity so the brain can process all the information obtained so far. Here, the music quiz can be implemented because it is a fun and simple game that everybody knows and participate in. Furthermore, it will draw the students’ attention to the workshop completely away can affect the outcome of the workshop positively in the end. 

How to use it

As previous mentioned, the Music Quiz offers many opportunities. This section will describe the most common way to conduct the music quiz. Depending on the preferred music platform, find three popular songs that everybody might be familiar with and pick a 10-20 second section of each song that are going to be played for the students. During the session, the teacher will play the predetermined section of the first song and see which team will provide the right guess of the songs name, artist, or both. This is repeated for all other songs. Make sure to have unequal number of songs to find a winner.

How to implement this techniques online

Preparation, what do before the session

  1. Find three popular songs on (e.g., or Spotify)
  2. Chose a short section of the song (e.g., 10-20 seconds)
  3. Write down the exact timing of the sections in each song so that you will find them again.
  4. Make sure that you have the sound on so that the students will be able to hear the song.
  5. Make sure to have the songs open but NOT to share your screen.

During application, i.e., while giving the session

  1. Divide the students into two groups.
  2. Introduce the students to the purpose and rules of the exercise. Tell them that 
    • they must write their guesses in the chat.
    • that to get a point for their group, they must be the first one to write down their correct guess in the chat. 
    • if they guess wrong, the other group can make a guess.
    • to turn up the volume on their computer.
  3. Ask if the two groups are ready and define which group will be allowed to guess first.
  4. Play the predetermined section of the first song. Keep the chat open to see their guesses.
  5. Tell the students who won this round once they guessed correctly. If none of the teams guessed right, play the same section again and until the correct answer pops up in the chat.
  6. Repeat steps 3-5 for all other songs.
  7. Announce the overall winner.

Follow-up, about what to do after the session

  1. Give the students a approx. 15 minutes break.

Examples and/or testimonials

The below is an example of how the method was prepared and facilitated in February 2021 by a student group during the course “Megatrends and Technological Innovation” held at the University of Southern Denmark by Prof. Dr. Patricia Wolf. 

Example of the Music Quiz- point sheet – “SDG Challenge” Group 9, 2021

Music Quiz - 1

Tools needed



IMDb, Pop Quizz 1981-1984, online at

Youtube, online at


Guess the Popular Song from 2010 – 2020 Music Quiz. (2021, February 26). [Video]. YouTube.


Chlup, D. T., & Collins, T. E. (2010). Breaking the ice: using ice-breakers and re-energizers with adult learners. Adult Learning, 21(3-4), 34-39.