8 New English Idioms for Your Vocabulary [Music Idioms]

May 20, 2020 | Advanced Vocabulary, Idioms & Figurative Language

In English we say, “Music makes the world go round.” A fantastic music idiom in English that shows the importance of music in our society and culture. To make the world go round means that normal, ordinary things cannot happen without music. (Note: We also say, “Love makes the world go round.”)

Music can be magical and powerful. It can touch our soul, it can move us emotionally. And music can connect us to each other, to our culture, and to our language. It gives us something to share together and talk about.

For a light, fun topic in this week’s Confident English, I’d like to share with you some of the most common idioms we have in English related to music.

These are wonderful idioms to know so you can use them in everyday conversation. Whether you’re talking to peers at work, long-distance friends online, or tourists in your city, here are 8 of the most common music idioms for your daily English.

8 New Music Idioms in English for Your Daily Conversations

Elevator music:

Soft, pleasant but boring music often played quietly in public spaces (such as elevators)


“I wish they would stop playing this boring elevator music. It’s putting me to sleep! Why can’t they play something fun like jazz or rock?”

Sound like a broken record:

Someone who repeats the same thing again and again


“Mom, I know! I heard you the first time… you sound like a broken record. I’ll clean my room after dinner.”

“I hate to sound like a broken record but I’m going to say it again: context is everything when learning new vocabulary!”

Jam session:

Improvised music in an informal setting


“The band has an amazing jam session right in the middle of the concert. You know they are true musicians when they can improvise like that!”

“Hey, there’s a great jam session happening on the other side of the park. Let’s go check it out.”

Blow your own trumpet:

Proudly boasting about your own achievements, talents, or successes


“That’s an interesting question. I don’t want to blow my own trumpet but I think one of my unique talents is my ability to understand other’s, even if I don’t have the same opinion or if I don’t agree. It makes it easy for me to find common ground with others.”

“Bill is always blowing his own trumpet. I’m kind of tired of hearing how “great” he is.”

Music to my ears:

Good news; information that makes someone happy


“I passed??? Oh, that’s music to my ears!!! I was so nervous about the exam!”

Face the music:

To accept unpleasant consequences or an unpleasant reality


“I know you’re upset about losing this client. It’s a very big client to lose but it’s time for us to face the music and go forward. We’ll have to work hard for a while until we can sign on someone new.”

Play by ear:

To perform (or play an instrument) without practice or preparation; indicate uncertainty in a situation


“My brother has never taken a piano lesson in his life but he can play anything. He just plays by ear.”

“We’re not as prepared as we should be for this presentation, so we’ll just have to play it by ear.”

As fit as a fiddle:

To be in good health


“We just got all the medical reports back and you’re as fit as a fiddle. Keep exercising regularly, eat well and you’ll stay that way.”

And now it’s your turn! I’d love to have you try using some of these idioms!

Choose 2 or 3 of your favorite words from this list and create your own examples. Be sure to create sentences you can use in your real English life (this will help you remember them!).

Then share your examples below.

Have a great week!

~ Annemarie

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