Maine Educators use French Music Competition to Increase Student Engagement, Cultural Knowledge, and French Skills

Manie Musicale Logo

In its 6th year, “Manie Musicale” has spread nationally and internationally with 950 schools from 47 states and six countries (and counting) participating to select the best French song and music video of the year.

“Manie Musicale” is a yearly competition of songs modeled after the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament in the U.S. Students fill out brackets to try to predict which of sixteen songs will win the “championship.” Once the tournament starts, students vote for their favorite songs in daily matchups to see who wins. Songs include a variety of contemporary Francophone artists from around the world. “Manie Musicale” was inspired by a Spanish version that came first – Señor Ashby’s “Locura de Marzo.”

Stephanie Carbonneau, a middle school French teacher in York and Michelle Fournier, a middle school teacher in Falmouth, started with just their two schools in 2017. Once they realized there was not a national-level competition like this for French, they collaborated to bring one to life, at least on the state level. Carbonneau and Fournier presented at FLAME the following year and opened it up to other schools.

“Manie Musicale” has really exploded in the last 2-3 years especially with the help of Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. A website was also created by Carbonneau and Fournier to assist the voting process as well as to house resources to bring “Manie Musicale” to life in their classrooms. Teachers from around the country now collaborate in the Facebook group with over 1000 members and online to create activities to support using the songs in class as a linguistic and cultural teaching tool.

Students in Carbonneau and Fournier’s classes are encouraged to submit song nominations, but they also consult colleagues in the American Association for Teachers of French (AATF) and social media groups for input. Carbonneau and Fournier carefully screen song lyrics and videos for age- and school-appropriateness, with a focus on promote diversity, inclusion, and tolerance. Last year they partnered with FluentKey, an educational media company out of California, who created interactive quizzes and games based on the “Manie Musicale” video playlist to add even more fun and competition to the event. This year they added a logo designed by a fan and fellow French teacher who uses “Manie Musicale” in her own classes.

There are many teachers who do “Manie Musicale” on their own, but the impact made by this duo and the collaborative following is music to many students’ and teachers’ ears.