10 English Music idioms
These music idioms are often used in everyday conversational English. An idiom is a fixed phrase that doesn't change. The meaning is metaphorical rather than literal so you cannot usually know the meaning from looking at the individual words. I have created several different lists of idioms and infographics to help you as study English idioms.
More examples of music idioms
Here are a few more examples to help make the meaning of these music idioms even clearer:
Make a song and dance about something: To make a fuss or exaggerate and complain about something that isn't really important.
- We're just going out to dinner, don't make a song and dance about it.
- Don't get frustrated. The boss always makes a song and dance about the year-end report but everything will be just fine.
- I thought your girlfriend was cool but she made such a song and dance about us watching the game at your place.
swan song: The last or final work, effort or performance.
- This game is our swan song so let's win it!
- The singer announced the concert would be her swan song.
- If I had known this play would be my swan song I would have tried to enjoy it more.
sing from the same songsheet: You say the same thing or follow the same plan.
- I love working with this volunteer group because we all sing from the same song sheet.
- I hate group projects at school, most of the time none of us sing from the same song sheet.
fine tune something: To make something more precise or perfect by making repeated small adjustments.
- I need to fine tune my choreography for the school dance.
- We have several products being fine-tuned for production in the next couple of months.
like a broken record: To say something again and again (which becomes annoying to the listener.)
- Ugh! You sound like a broken record! I already said that I would pick up your dry cleaning after work.
- That's the fifth time my new manager bragged like a broken record about going to Harvard.
toot one's horn: To boast or brag about your talents, successes or accomplishments.
- In general, men find it easier to toot their own horns than women.
- If you want to succeed at this firm, you need to actively seek out projects as well as toot your own horn.
fit as a fiddle: To be in great shape or health.
- My 81 year-old grandmother is fit as a fiddle. She can still do cartwheels, pull-ups and push-ups.
- When I ran track in high school I was fit as a fiddle. Now I breathe heavily just walking up the stairs.
play it by ear: To do something without planning, preparation or practice.
- Yes, I'd love to play tennis but I'm not sure what the weather is going to be like this weekend. Let's play it by ear.
- My parents are complete opposites: my mother likes everything planned in detail and my father always wants to play things by ear.
march to the beat of one's own drum: To be unique by doing things in your own way.
- We raised each of our children to be independent, have opinions and march to the beat of their own drums.
- It's very American to march to the beat of your own drum, but life can be very different for people in cultures where community and family are paramount.
for a song: Very cheaply; to buy or sell something at a very low price.
- Check out this watch I got at the flea market. I got it for a song!
- I bought this bag for a song five years ago and it's still stylish and in great condition.
Did you enjoy these music idioms? There are lots more music-related idioms and I've created another infographic here if you want more practice.
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