English In The Real World

Learn English with Music! How to talk about music in English

Music is all around us. It’s on the radio, on TV, in the background in department stores and restaurants, and even on our smartphones! Music is important in our everyday lives and it’s a common discussion topic in English, too. Learn to talk about the music you like in English using these key words and expressions.

To describe music, you will need a few key words. Firstly, we can use the word tempo to talk about whether music is fast or slow and the word melody to talk about the tune of the music. Harmony is the word we use to talk about the sound we make when we play several musical notes at the same time. If someone asks what genre of music you like, they just mean what style or type you prefer.

When you listen to a record in english, pay attention to the lyrics (words) and you might learn some new English expressions. If it’s a hit (successful or popular song) you will hear it a lot and if it’s a song you and your boyfriend/girlfriend both love, you might say “It’s our song”.

If you go to a gig (concert), you might hear a band playing original songs or covers (other people’s songs). If you are on the subway in some large cities, you might hear musicians busking (playing in public places) and give them a donation if you like their music.

Songs that are easy to remember can be described as catchy and a song that’s so catchy you can’t stop singing it is called an earworm. If you love music, you might want to take up (start learning to play) an instrument and learn to play your favourite tunes or you could learn to DJ and make a mixtape (collection of your favourite tunes) for your friends.

So what’s your favourite song and can you describe it in English?

Wil is a writer, teacher, learning technologist and keen language learner. He’s taught English in classrooms and online for nearly 10 years, trained teachers in using classroom and web technology, and written e-learning materials for several major websites. He speaks four languages and is currently looking for another one to start learning.


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