Music Idioms in English

Music Idioms in English (Part 1)

Music is a vital part of every culture. It connects people, saves lives and unifies us. Without a doubt, there are countless idioms created around the theme of music in any language. The English language is not an exception. It is full of such idioms and they are certainly a part of our every day speech.

Here is a list of the most commonly used English music idioms that will be music to your teacher’s ear:

1) Play it by ear

Meaning: to handle things in an impromptu manner, without any rules. This idiom refers to playing a musical instrument without using a musical notation.


 My friend decided to play it by ear when he went for his job interview.

I don’t have any time to prepare for the meeting, so I’ll have to play it by ear.

My dad doesn’t like to make any plans. He prefers to play it by ear.

2) Face the music

Meaning: to deal with consequences, to accept punishment


He’d better tell her the truth and face the music.

You made your choice, now you have to face the music.

She had to face the music after being caught with stolen goods.

3) Change your tune

Meaning: to change the opinion or to react in a different way after something has happened


My mom was against moving to the city, but later she changed her tune and decided to go to New York.

He was very rude to me at first, but he changed his tune after someone mentioned how rich I was.

4) Blow the whistle

Meaning: to report an unacceptable or illegal activity to the authorities


People who tried to blow the whistle on the corruption were threatened after.

It wouldn’t make any difference if she tried to blow the whistle.

5) Music to someone’s ears

Meaning: to hear something that you want to hear, good news


My daughter’s decision to move out from that house was like music to my ears.

You’ve got a new job? That’s like music to my ears.

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