What kinds of music do you like to listen to? When did you start listening to that type of music? How much time do you spend listening to music every day? When do you listen to music? How do you feel when you listen to music?
  • Playlist (noun) - a list of pieces of music chosen by someone to listen to on their computer, phone, etc.
  • To encompass (verb) - to include different types of things.
  • Range (noun) - a set of similar things.
  • Genre (noun) - a particular subject or style of literature, art, or music.
  • To pin down (ph. verb) - to discover exact details about something.
  • To throw (someone) a curve (ball) (idiom) - to surprise someone with something that is difficult or unpleasant to deal with.
  • To wind up (ph. verb) - to find yourself in an unexpected and usually unpleasant situation, especially as a result of what you do.
  • To go down the rabbit hole (idiom) - To enter into a situation or begin a process or journey that is particularly strange, problematic, difficult, complex, or chaotic.
  • Beat (noun) - in music, a regular emphasis, or a place in the music where such an emphasis is expected.
  • To ramp sth up (ph. verb) - to increase activity or the level of something.
  • Tune (noun) - a series of musical notes, especially one that is pleasant and easy to remember.
  • To sound like a broken record (idiom) - to say the same thing over and over again.
  • Interval (noun) - a period between two events or times.
  • To pump someone up (ph. verb) - to make someone feel more confident or excited.
  • To enhance (verb) - to improve the quality, amount, or strength of something.
Get exclusive episodes on IELTS Speaking parts 1, 2, and 3
Get exclusive episodes on IELTS Speaking parts 1, 2, and 3
Questions and answers
M: What kind of music do you like to listen to?

R: Well, it would be easier to talk about the kind of music I don't listen to, to be honest with you. You just need to look at my playlist on YouTube and you can see it, it encompasses like the full range of genres right now. Although, at the moment it's like... It's remixes of old pop songs, mostly, now that I think about it.

M: When did you start listening to that type of music?

R: Well, it's hard to pin down exactly when. Like what? Since the algorithm occasionally throws me a curveball and I wind up going down a bit of a rabbit hole. Although I would say it would be around about the time I started going to the gym properly. When I needed music with like a good beat and lyrics that I could listen along to while I work out.

M: How much time do you spend listening to music every day?

R: I have absolutely no idea. I would say at least an hour or so. I mean, sometimes more than that, if I'm at the gym and I ramp the volume up on a tune.

M: When do you listen to music?

R: Well, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, whenever I go to the gym, really. Or when I go for a walk. I also like it when my friends share music with me as well. I suppose, when my friends share music that happens at random intervals, the gym's more frequent. I don't do it whenever I work or read, though. I don't... I have no idea how people can do that kind of thing. It's very distracting.

M: How do you feel when you listen to music?

R: I think it depends on the activity I'm doing. So for example, when I'm at the gym, it leaves me feeling pumped up and ready to do whatever the routine requires of me. It enhances the feeling of relaxation whenever I'm out walking. And whenever I'm with friends, it can add to the general humour. Actually, if we make up our own lyrics to the songs as well.

M: So music. We listen to music, right? Don't forget this to, not two like two, but listen to something. Listen to us, listen to Rory, don't listen to Rory, don't listen to anything but our premium episodes. So listen to music. And Rory, you told us something about your playlist on YouTube. So it's on YouTube?

R: Yeah. A playlist is just a collection of music that's been put together. Usually by you or in my case, by the YouTube algorithm, because I'm far too lazy to do it myself.

M: And your playlist encompasses the full range of genres.

R: There's everything on there. Like it was pop from the 90s the other day and today it was classical music. So yeah, there's a lot.

M: But if I say something encompasses something. So it kind of it includes different things or types, right?

R: Yeah.

M: So for example, I can say that this festival encompasses everything from music to food, for example, yeah? It kind of, it includes. So this is a nice one. You can say like, okay, I listen to different genres, genres, like musical genres. And my playlist encompasses the full range of genres, like different genres. And Rory prefers remixes of popular songs, yeah?

R: Well, right now I do. Or rather right now the algorithm thinks I prefer remixes of popular songs. But a remix is just someone modifying the original music to add a new beat or to add in a new sound or to bring together elements of other songs.

M: It's hard to pin down when exactly. So to pin down is a nice phrasal verb, okay? So it's hard to say, it's hard to kind of, you know, to pin down. When you have a pin and you kind of like pin, pin. Rory, help me out with the explanations. I'm running out of ideas.

R: When you pin something down, if something is hard to pin down, then it's hard to say any... Now, I don't know. Actually, now we're struggling to pin down the meaning of the phrase to pin down. No, to pin down means to give the exact definition or description of something. If something is hard to pin down, then it's difficult to give an exact definition or exact information about it. There! I pined it down.

M: Rory, we need more examples. Come on, native speaker.

R: What? Well, it's difficult to pin down the origins of... Oh, God, I don't know... Social media, because I know nothing about it. Or it's hard to pin down where the word glass comes from. I'm just looking at the glass there. I don't know where the word glass comes from. Again, because I know nothing about it. So if something is vague or mysterious, then it's difficult to pin down.
M: When the examiner asks you such questions as like, when did you start? When was the last time you did something? You go like, I don't know when exactly. So it's hard to pin down when exactly I started listening to this kind of music. And then, Rory, you said something about the algorithm which throws occasional curveball at me. What is this?

R: Yes, like some... The occasional curve ball is when something random happened. So, for example, one day I'll be listening to music on the algorithm and it'll be nice like beats from the early 2000s when I was a child. And then I'll get something modern randomly, because that's what the algorithm does. And that's a curveball. Because it's something unexpected. It's from American baseball terminology, apparently, but it's difficult to pin down.

M: Could you give us another example, another sentence?

R: Well, what? Sometimes IELTS questions can give you the occasional curveball with random questions like, do you like chocolate? Did you like chocolate yesterday? That's a curveball. It's totally unexpected. Who asks that kind of question?

M: So, for example, every so often life will throw you a curveball, okay? So life throws a curveball at us. Something like unexpected, difficult to deal with, right?

R: Why is this so difficult? A curveball, it's really easy to understand.

M: Well, it might be easy to understand, but how would you use it in a sentence, you know? How do use it accurately?

R: Maria's question about the correct use of, using curveball in questions was quite the curveball for me, because I didn't know how to answer it.

M: And then Rory used a very nice structure. Go down the rabbit hole. No, is it the rabbit hole? Or a rabbit hole?

R: It doesn't matter. You just wind up going off on a bit of an adventure in order to find out about something. Like when you go on Wikipedia and you start off looking at one thing and then before you know it, like you have 300 tabs about a million different subjects on the go.

M: And a rabbit hole is a difficult or complicated situation that is difficult to get out of.

R: An adventure.

M: Rory prefers music with a good beat. Beat is like... It's the same as rhythm? Not like beat?

R: Well, they're different things, but they overlap.

M: And if you listen to a song, the song has lyrics. We don't say the song has words. The song has nice lyrics. And what do you call these, you know, lyrics, these part of a song that is repeated?

R: I don't know. The chorus?
M: Yeah, the chorus. Right? So the chorus is this... Usually catchy words that they repeat, the chorus.

R: What do you call the parts they don't repeat then?

M: Verses.

R: Oh, okay. What song do you like the chorus to?

M: Having a ball, don't stop me now... Having a ball, yeah. Queen, Queen, yes. I like Queen. Not the queen, queen.

R: Yeah, we talked about that before. That's coming out on our bloopers.

M: How much time do you listen to music? And you say, like, I have absolutely no idea. So this is a nice phrase and you should say it with this intonation and like, really mean it. Like, I have absolutely no idea.

R: That's like saying, how much time do you spend breathing every day? I don't know. Most of it? Okay, maybe not. Like you should be spending most of your time breathing. Bad example.

M: And then you say at least an hour or at least 30 minutes, like minimum 30 minutes. And then if I'm at the gym or when I commute to work, right? When I travel to work, when I go home, I usually listen to music. And then you said, something like, I ramp up the volume. Ramp up the volume.

R: But if you ramp it up, that just means that you make it louder very quickly. This is the international symbol for making the volume louder.

M: So if I listen to my favourite song, I kind of, I ramp up the volume and it's just...

R: Yeah, like I can ramp up the volume on my loudspeaker by just pressing and holding the plus button.

M: And then the question was like, when do you listen to music? And Rory said something like, at the risk of sounding like a broken record.

R: I had to get in an idiom there, for music. And so, at the risk of sounding like a broken record just means I don't want to repeat myself, but here I am repeating myself, talking about the gym. Again. But why do you think that I used the idiom, Maria? Could it be because we are working on a course to do with idioms? Oh, yes, you heard it here first.

M: We have a course on phrasal verbs and we will have a course on idioms soon, so stay tuned.

R: I haven't actually shield for the phrasal verbs course in quite some time. There we go, I've done it now.
M: If something happens at random intervals. It happens just like when it happens. So not like regularly, but at random intervals. So what happens at random intervals?

R: Well, my friends send me music at random intervals. Currently, it's just one friend that sends me music, but occasionally others do as well. So I don't really know when to expect it. But when I do, it's always good.

M: When I'm working out. So when I'm doing exercise, right? And Rory does exercise like this.

R: There's that broken record again.

M: I feel pumped up, right? So Rory does his exercises and he feels pumped up. So he feels, you know, like energised. Yes, Rory?

R: Yes.

M: And then we can say that music enhances the feeling of relaxation. So that's why when people meditate, they can listen to some like...

R: Do they do that?

M: Oh, yeah, personally, I listen to some...

R: I thought you're gonna say, yes, I "om" when I am meditating.

M: Yeah, so music enhances the feeling of relaxation. And you know what? I asked ChatGPT this question. Do you know ChatGPT, dear listener? Everyone is talking about ChatGPT and how to use it in IELTS...

R: You asked ChatGPT how it felt when it listened to music?

M: No, the question is like, how do people usually feel when they listen to music? So just in general. And ChatGPT, so this artificial intelligence. So robot told me, people can have a range of emotional responses when they listen to music. For example, upbeat and cheerful music can often evoke feelings of happiness. So you can say, okay, I usually feel happy when I listen to upbeat and cheerful music. Upbeat is like, hey, I'm having a ball, don't stop me now... Sadness. When we listen to slower melancholic music.

R: Yes, that does sound like the answer that you would get from a robot.

M: Yeah. No, but you can use these words. You know, like, okay, when I listen to slower melancholic music, I feel sad because СhatGPT can't feel anything. But you can just use the words. Okay, okay, one more, one more Rory.
R: I love that. Like, now, I went to all this effort to talk to a robot in order to find the word sad.

M: No, melancholic music. Or upbeat.

R: That would have been better. But like, that's a very specific word to describe a very specific feeling. You probably would put that in your part three answers, but not your part one.

M: No, no. But can I say, for example, when I listen to soothing and calming music, I feel relaxed. Huh? Soothing, calming music. I feel relaxed. And it kind of encourages the feeling of tranquillity. So you listen to our premium episodes and you go like... Relaxation and the feeling of tranquillity. Ooh, and also they... ChatGPT told me about nostalgia. So, Rory, when can I feel nostalgia?

R: When you listen to music that you listened to when you were a child, probably.

M: Yeah. Yeah, and ChatGPT... Listening to music from a certain period of time, can bring these memories. So evoke feelings of nostalgia and sentimental attachment. Hey! Yeah, also inspiration, you get inspired. And also excitement, high energy, fast-paced music, fast-paced... Usually in shops. So high energy music, so like buy, buy, buy, buy, buy all the clothes, all the shoes... All the jewellery. Yeah, I feel excited. Rory, you don't seem to like the answers. What? What? What? What?

R: They're not natural. They sound like they were written by a robot.

M: But why not? Why can't I say, like, okay, how do you feel when you listen to music? Oh, when I listen to upbeat and cheerful music, I usually feel happy. How is it not natural?

R: Okay, that's fine. But maybe they're looking for, like, a specific genre of music here. What kind of music is upbeat and cheerful?

M: Pop music.

R: Pop music.

M: Okay. So when I listen to jazz, I feel what? Relaxed? Or sad?

R: I don't know. Some people absolutely hate jazz. When I listen to jazz, I feel annoyed.

M: When I listen to blues, I feel blue.

R: Oh, no. That's not nice.

M: Anyway, dear listener, so people have been talking how to use ChatGPT. If you don't know what it is, please Google. It's like, you know, a buzzword. Everybody's talking about this. And people talked about how to use ChatGPT in terms of IELTS. How can ChatGPT help you with IELTS. And there are certain ways and, actually, maybe we can talk about it, Rory. Like to have a separate episode about ChatGPT and IELTS.

R: If you want to hear me rage against the machine then... Which is a band. So there you go. That was a musical answer.

M: Yeah, because it's kind of something new, you know, dear listener. ChatGPT can... Write a good IELTS essay or can it help us with speaking, with grammar, like, you know... Anyway, thank you very much for listening, Bye!

R: We'll see you next time!
Get exclusive episodes on IELTS Speaking parts 1, 2, and 3
Get exclusive episodes on IELTS Speaking parts 1, 2, and 3
Did you like this episode?
Make sure to subscribe to our social media to see some of the “behind the scenes” stuff!

Our Instagram:
Our Telegram:
Error get alias
Show more
Study with us