09. Music


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 …

  • classical music: music that is regarded as part of a long, formal tradition
  • taste in music: the music someone likes
  • a rock band: a group of musicians that play rock music

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 …

  • to take up a musical instrument: to begin learning a musical instrument
  • to be tone deaf: to be unable to distinguish the different notes in music

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 …

  • live music: music that is listened to while it is performed (not recorded)
  • live performance: (see live music)
  • a music festival: music performances at a venue often over several days


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 …

  • a piece of music: an item of music
  • a pop group: a small group of people who play or sing pop music together
  • a huge following: a large number of fans
  • a massive hit: a record that sells lots of copies
  • a catchy tune: a song that is easy to remember and makes you want to sing it
  • a slow number: a song with a slow tempo
  • to sing along to: to join in singing
  • a sing-song: to sing informally, often with other people




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 …

  • musical talent: skilled at music
  • to download tracks: to obtain music from the Internet

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 …

  • to read music: to understand and follow written musical notes
  • to play by ear: to play without reading the musical notes

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 …

  • to go on tour: to go on a planned series of performances around a region or country
  • background music: music that is played while something else is happening



  • adoring fans: people who love a particular band or singer
  • to have a great voice: to sing well
  • to be/sing out of tune: to not be in harmony/to sing the wrong notes

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