music genre: a distinc type of music. Famous music genres include:

   classical music: music that is thought to be a part of a long, formal tradition.
      | My dad is fond of classical music. He listens to Mozart and Beethoven every day.

   pop music: a genre of popular music.
      | One of the most famous pop-singers in the history are Michael Jackson and Madonna.

   rock music: music that is based around amplified instruments, especially the electric guitar and electric bass, and is characterized by driving rhythms.
      | My favourite music genre is rock. I adore such rock bands as Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Beatles.

catchy tune: a tune or a song that’s easy to remember and that you enjoy singing.
   | I heard a catchy song the other day and now it’s stuck in my head.

elevator music: music that is played in places like supermaket or family restaurant. Almost always is very repetitive and annoying.
   | Yesterday I heard a very annoying elevetor music in the local supermarket.

live music: music performance in front of an audience.
   | I prefer listening to a live music than to a recording. It’s much more emotional and energetic.

music to one’s ears: something (often information) very pleasant and enjoyable to someone.
   | When my teacher told me that I got the highest mark in the class for the assignment, it was like music to my ears.

opera: a kind of performance in which actors sing during their play with music performed by an orchestra.
   | I often listen to classical music and go to opera.

ringtone: sound that a cell phone makes when someone is calling.
   | I set my favourite song as a ringtone on my cell phone.

rock band: musicians that play rock music.
   | Last week I was on my favourite rock band’s concert.

tone deaf: not able to discern the notes properly.
   | Alhough I’m tone deaf, I’d like to learn to sing properly in the furture.

tuneful: pleasant and melodious music or sound.
   | I heard a tuneful choir of birds yesterday morning.

Useful idioms:

to face the music: to have to accept the unpleasant consequences of your actions.
   | If you commit a crime, eventually, you’ll have to face the music.

to ring a bell: to sound familiar.
   | I think I heard this song somewhere. It definitely rings a bell.

to sound like a broken record: to repeat yourself again and again.
   | Little children often sound like a broken record and it annoys most people.

to strike (hit) a false note: to do something wrong.
   | I realised that I hit a false note on the exam when I received a 0 mark afterwards.



IELTS Speaking sample about Music


Part 1    

Do you like listening to the music on a regular basis?

Yes, without a doubt. I like different music genres and I listen to various tunes almost every day… I do not like elevator music, though… It makes me bored and annoyed.

Have you ever been interested in singing?

No, not really… I took singing classes when I was younger, but, unfortunately, I am tone deaf, so I can’t sing very well…

Can you say that music is a very important part of your life?

No, I can’t… Although I enjoy music and listen to classical music every now and then, I’m not obsessed with it…


Part 2    

Now, have a look at the card and prepare a monologue.

Describe a band you enjoy listening to. You should say:
How did you find them
What kind of music do they play
When do you listen to them
And say why you like them so much

I really enjoy listening to Maroon 5… I found this music band a few years ago, when I was looking for some pop music on the Internet… And, immediately after listening to the few of their songs, I fell in love with this awesome band… Their music is very catchy and tuneful at the same time. I especially like this band for their driving rhythmsAs of today, I have gone to a few of their concerts and have their posters all over my wall. I listen to their songs when I’m upset or stressed out… They always cheer me up… Also, one of their songs, namely “Payphone”, is set as a ringtone on my phone.


Part 3   

Do you think music is getting better as time goes on?

No, quite the opposite. In my opinion, music was a lot better back in the day… I love music from 60s and 70s… There are myriads of famous rock bands of that time that I really like… And nowadays almost every pop-song sounds boring and dull to me…

Where do you think people enjoy listening to music the most?

I my point of view, it all depends on a person… As for me, I enjoy listening to the music in my room, where nobody can bother me… But a lot of my friends would prefer listening to the music while travelling in public transport… This way their journey becomes more pleasant.

Is it better to go to a live concert or to listen to a CD?

I think that nothing compares to a live concert! It’s just magical to be on a concert in a large group of people like you, listening to the songs you know being played right in front of you… It’s empowering, and completely unlike listening to recordedmusic.

Do you like the same music as your parents?

Um… When I was a child I used to listen to the same music as my parents did… Probably, that was because we were often driving in the same car … and my parents always turned on some jazz on the radio. So I thought I was fond of jazz… But eventually I discovered other music genres and understood that I like rock music and techno much more…

IELTS Music Vocabulary

Part 1-style questions      

Examiner: What kind of music do you listen to?

Katherine: I’m a big fan of classical music … it doesn’t make me very popular with my children … their taste in music is completely different … they always want to listen to their favourite rock bands

Examiner: Do you play any instruments?

Jamie: No I don’t … I’ve always wished I’d taken up a musical instrument … I’d love to be able to play the guitar … but I think I’m a bit tone deaf so perhaps I’d find it hard …

Examiner: Have you got any hobbies or interests?

Marco: I’m really into live music … I go to a lot of music festivals … I think a live performance always sounds more exciting than a recorded version … as long as the performers can sing and play well of course …  

Part 2 -style task     

Describe a song you like to listen to. You should say
   – what the piece of music is called
   – how long you have liked it
   – when you like to listen to it
and say why you like it so much

Millie: Well … I’m a little older than most students and when I was young Abba the Swedish pop group were very famous … I don’t think it was cool to like them even though they had a huge following but I think now people have realised what wonderful songs they wrote … one piece of music in particular is called ‘Slipping through my fingers’ … it wasn’t a massive hit but I love it … it’s a song for parents and it’s all about how quickly our children grow up … it’s a slow number and like a lot of their songs it’s a very catchy tune … the two women in Abba had great voices and it’s the kind of music you can also sing along to easily … even if you don’t have a great voice … I listen to Abba when I feel like a sing-song … and I especially like to listen when I’m doing the housework … it stops me thinking about the hard work …  


Part 3 -style questions   

Examiner: Is the Internet a good or bad thing for the music industry?

Thomas: On the one hand it’s good for marketing new musical talent or particular bands but it’s so easy to share and download tracks for free I think it is costing the industry a lot of money …

Examiner: Should music be treated as seriously as subjects like maths or sciences at school?

Carla: I think it should … I don’t think it should be taught in a boring way … I mean making children read music … but I do think they should be encouraged to play instruments and to play things by ear perhaps … to keep the lessons fun …

Examiner: Where do people usually enjoy listening to music?

Sally: In lots of ways or places … as background music when they are doing something else … at concerts when a band goes on tour … or in clubs or discos …  


adoring fans: people who love a particular band or singer

background music: music that is played while something else is happening

a catchy tune: a song that is easy to remember and makes you want to sing it

classical music: music that is regarded as part of a long, formal tradition

to download tracks: to obtain music from the Internet

to have a great voice: to sing well

to go on tour: to go on a planned series of performances around a region or country

a huge following: a large number of fans

live music: music that is listened to while it is performed (not recorded)

live performance: (see live music)

a massive hit: a record that sells lots of copies

a music festival: music performances at a venue often over several days

musical talent: skilled at music

to be/sing out of tune: to not be in harmony/to sing the wrong notes

a piece of music: an item of music

to play by ear: to play without reading the musical notes

a pop group: a small group of people who play or sing pop music together

to read music: to understand and follow written musical notes

a rock band: a group of musicians that play rock music

to sing along to: to join in singing

a sing-song: to sing informally, often with other people

a slow number: a song with a slow tempo

to take up a musical instrument: to begin learning a musical instrument

taste in music: the music someone likes

to be tone deaf: to be unable to distinguish the different notes in music  

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