IELTS Cue Card Sample 27 - Describe a musical event in your country

IELTS Speaking Part 2: IELTS Cue Card/ Candidate Task Card.

Describe a musical event in your country.

You should say

  • What the event it is
  • Where it takes place
  • What kind of music is played

And explain why you enjoy it.

Follow-up Questions:

  • What type music is famous in your country?
  • What are influences of western music in teenagers in your country?
  • Why is music important?
  • Which one is more important: traditional music or western music?

Model Answer 1:
I’m going to tell you today about a major musical event in my Country, which is England in the UK. I’ll tell you what it is, where and when it takes place, the sort of music and why I think it is so significant… even though I’m not sure I’d really say I personally enjoy it!

The event I want to talk about is the BBC Proms. This is an annual summer festival that has been taking place since 1895 so is a well-established fixture in the UK. The festival is of orchestral classical music, the main focus of the festival is the impressive Royal Albert Hall in London, which is a huge domed venue that seats over 5,500 people. As well as the daily concerts there are lots of satellite events in schools and parks, over the eight week period there are probably more than 100 concerts. Some dedicated ‘Prommers’ will get season tickets and attend as many of these as they can.

I’m not entirely sure why this concert season is known as ‘The ‘Proms’. I know Prom is short for Promenade concert, and I suppose originally these were outside events where people could stroll around (promenade) whilst the music was playing.  Now, within the hall itself, I don’t think strolling around is approved of! However, unusually for classical concerts, at the BBC Proms, there are lots of extra tickets made available for standing only. These are comparatively cheap tickets allowing concert-goers to stand in the arena and gallery areas of the hall. Consequently, the concerts are always packed and accessible to far wider audiences than is usual for classical music which is often too expensive for ordinary people to afford to attend.

Although The Proms go on for eight weeks, the really famous event is the closing concert or ‘Last Night of the Proms’. This is always televised and sometimes big screens are put up in parks across London so people who couldn’t get tickets to the event can still watch and join in with the atmosphere. Traditionally this closing concert is quite raucous! People will dress up in patriotic costumes and wave union jack flags. This last concert in the series is usually quite light in tone, with popular classics in the first half, followed by rousing British Patriotic pieces in the second half which many audience members will join in singing with gusto! The sequence traditionally includes pieces by English composers such as Elgar’s ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ and Arne’s ‘Rule Britannia’ and usually concludes with a rendition of ‘Jerusalem’ and the British National Anthem. Informally, post-concert, audiences often spontaneously break out and sing ‘Auld Lang Syne’ but it isn’t a formal part of the program, rather a newly emerged tradition.

For many, the Last Night of the Proms is quintessentially English. A display of patriotism and a celebration of English Music and traditions. Tickets are extremely hard to come by and although the preceding eight weeks of concerts are really aimed at classical music aficionados, the last night is certainly widely watched and enjoyed.

For my own part, I have to admit a little sheepishly it isn’t really my thing. I sometimes feel uncomfortable with all the displays of patriotic fervour and think some of the sentiments expressed are rather old-fashioned and inappropriate. Even so, it is an impressive tradition, and if you were a visitor from overseas who happened to be in London in the second week in September I’d definitely encourage you to get along and experience it if you could. You will see English pomp and ceremony, hear British composers and be amazed at how even the stereotypically reserved British, can indeed sometimes be persuaded to come out to play!

[By- Lucy Marris: Careers Adviser (UK), TEFL teacher (Vietnam)]

 

Sample Answer 2:
There are several occasions and places in our country when musical events take place in my country. I'd like to talk about a particular music event that takes place in my hometown and this takes place at the beginning of the spring. The event runs through 3-4 days and in 2-3 phases. In the first phase, the local music bands and individuals perform and complete in the event. At the end of the competition, three bands/ individuals are selected and are awarded. This is an important event as it makes the participants famous in the country. This event is broadcasted in local TV channel and in Radio. This event takes place in the city hall auditorium. Thousands of music lovers and people attend the event to enjoy the music and the competition. Several kinds of music are played and among them classic, rock, folk and contemporary songs are most famous. 

In the second phase, some famous singers and musicians perform their own songs and people enjoy this very much. Lots of people from different parts of the country come to attend the show and enjoy the music.  
 
I have attended the event several times and enjoyed every time to be there. The event attracts lots of people and a festivity goes on surrounding this event. I enjoy the music, the gathering and the festivity of this event. 
 

Tips for answering this Cue card topic:

Talk about a ceremony or festival in your country when music is played. This can be a national program, religious program, a local or traditional program or can be a theatre or seasonal program when some kind of music is played and people sing. Tell the program name, type of program, time of the year or season when it is performed and where it is performed. If this is a local program, it held on your locality and if this is a religious or country wide program, then you should mention the significance of this program.

After you tell about the program name, type and time, you should then talk about the reasons you know this program and why you enjoy it. Since this is a music program, you do enjoy it because of your love for the music and festival. If the musical program is rooted to the religious or patriotic reasons, you should mention that as well.

You should avoid describing a stage program or a concert that can occur any time of the year and has no great deal of importance nationally or locally. But think about any program which takes place in your locality in every summer and people enjoys it or any national program which takes place in every year and a lot of people participates in the musical program there. 

Follow-up Questions:

Q. What type music is famous in your country?
A. In my country almost all types of music are popular. I would say that although pop is a little more renowned, it doesn't mean that other kinds of music like rock, jazz and metal aren't rife as well. International music constitutes a big part of people's entertainment, especially at bars and night clubs. In addition, in Greece which is the country I was born, traditional music plays a really essential role as at the majority of music events, the country music has the predominant role and makes everyone's time exciting and hilarious.

Tip: Each country has different types of music. For example, you can say that in your country traditional or international music is well-known and dominant rather than the conventional kinds, such as pop, rock and so on.

Q. What are influences of western music in teenagers in your country?
A. The truth is that western music isn't that popular among the teenagers in my country and only a few people, especially grown up tend to prefer western music. I think this is happening because that kind of music is a form of American folk music which was created by those who inhabited in the Western United States and Canada and celebrated the life of cowboys there. Because of its special and unique characteristics, it isn't enjoyed by many in Greece and this could be justified by the fact that its popularity has declined in the last 40 years in my country. As far as teenagers are concerned in my country, most of them are not  influenced by it.

Tip: The answer given is totally subjective and concerns my country of birth. If you come from or live in a country that western music is really popular just mention it and try to give some details. It is really pleasant when someone learns something useful that they were not aware of before in a conversation.

Q. Why is music important?
A. Music is the food and vitamins for our soul. It can heal our wounds, remind us our good time, help forget our misery, inspire us and represent our cultural identity to the world. I strongly support the idea that music is indispensable in people's life and it produces extremely beneficial implications.

Music can touch our heart and mind and some melody can arouse different emotions in us. Whenever people are in love, face a crisis, make or break a relationship there are songs that can describe the whole situation and motivate people. Hence, music helps people interpret and understand things from different perspectives and heals any existing mental wounds. In addition, via music, people can relax and have their mood elevated after busy days of a massive amount of duties and obligations. Last but not the least, music encourages and promotes tolerance as it can connect people regardless their country, culture and religion.

Q. Which one is more important: traditional music or western music?
A. This is quite difficult to exactly answer this because I don't listen to either type. But I would try and say that both of them are equally important, at last in some countries. The former, traditional music, describes and depicts every country's tradition, customs and views in life and is the brand ambassador for each country. The latter, the international music, concerns a very particular type and location. Traditional music may have different forms depending on the country or even a city, while western music is something more fixed as it deals with western lifestyle, appeal and stories. So, I would infer that the answer to this question is subjective and has to do with people's origins, nationality and preference, but there is no case that I would say that any of them is more significant than the other.

Tip: It is my personal opinion but it does not mean that this is the only way to answer this question. You can choose one of the types above and clarify you preference. For example, for traditional music, you can say that it is pretty important as it describes local cultures and is unique in each place. Western music refers to a completely specific kind and has a singular background.

[Part 3 answers were prepared by Mary, Economist & Business Consultant, UK]

 

Your preparation for this cue card would also help you answering the following cue cards:

1. Describe an event you attended and enjoyed.
2. Describe a musical program which you attended.
3. Describe an important event of your locality that you know about.

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