As many students can tell you, listening is one of the more difficult skills to improve for IELTS. Particularly, to do well on Section 4, it’s not enough to listen to casual conversations or chat with your friends in English. You must do your best to expose yourself to academic English on a number of subjects whenever possible. Watching movies and especially documentaries (without subtitles!) is one great way to hear a variety of English.
The most common subjects for IELTS listening Section 4 are: History, Nature and The Environment, Music and Art, Linguistics and Cognitive Development, International Issues, and Economics.
Below you will find an interesting academic talk on the relationship between language and music in the brain. You should listen carefully and answer the questions posted below. Listen as many times as necessary to answer the questions.
For full understanding, please familiarise yourselves with the following vocabulary and idioms before listening:
- Broca’s area
- Moonlight (verb)
- Do I suck or am I great?
- You got me beat
- Tone deaf
- Off the hook
- Two-way street
- Tune out
During the first few minutes, the speaker reads letters from listeners to the show. One listener states that he likes the speaker’s voice so much that he could listen to him read the ingredients in processed food. The speaker then proceeds to do so!
Click the orange button to begin!
Skip to minute 3:40 to begin academic content. Also, please note that there is a brief advertisement at minute 13:50.
According to the expert speaker, in what ways are music and language similar?
When you undergo musical training, what kind of changes occur in your brain?
Why might Cantonese speakers have an advantage when learning music?
The speaker gave an example of why saying the wrong tone might cause trouble. What was it?
What three groups of people were used for the Bidelman experiment?
In your own words, summarise the results of Bidelman’s experiment.
Aside from musical tests, what two tests were the subjects of the experiment given? What were the results of those tests?
(Correct answers will be posted in the comments section in the near future!)