'Listen to Music' or 'Listen to the Music': Which is Correct?

By Carly Forsaith, updated on February 28, 2023

If you're wondering which of the two you should use between 'listen to music' or 'listen to the music,' look no further. This article will reveal all.

  • In short, the difference between the two phrases is that 'listen to music' refers to music in general, while 'listen to the music' refers to specific music.

Should You Say 'Listen to Music' or 'Listen to the Music'?

'Listen to music' and 'listen to the music' are both correct. Which one you use will depend on the context and whether or not you're referring to a specific piece of music.

In this article, I'll explain the meaning of listening to music and the difference between a noun preceded by the article 'the' and one that isn't. I'll also give some examples of each phrase so you can see them used in context.

Definite Article Usage

There's only one definite article in English, and that's 'the.' When you use this article, you tell the listener or reader that you're referring to something specific. This is as opposed to using an indefinite article ('a'/' an') or no article.

And that's the difference between 'listening to music' and 'listening to the music.' If you say that you're 'listening to music,' it's pretty general. You're not giving any indication as to which music you'll listen to.

Whereas if you say that you're going to 'listen to the music,' then you're referring to something specific.

Top tip! You can never say 'listening to a music' because 'music' is an uncountable noun.

What Does It Mean to Listen to Music?

You listen with your ears. When you listen to music, you activate one of your five senses (hearing) to perceive the music.

There's a certain sense of being active when you say 'listen' instead of 'hear.' You can also combine the word 'hear' with music, but it changes the meaning slightly. 'Listening' implies paying attention instead of passively hearing something playing in the background.

When to Use 'Listen to Music' or 'Listen to the Music'

I will show you some examples of both phrases used in a sentence, so you can see how they work in context.

'Listen' is a verb; you'll notice I've used different tenses.

Examples of 'Listen to Music'

She has a habit of listening to music a little too loud.

We were listening to music when suddenly, the power shut off.

Do you feel peaceful when you're listening to music?

Examples of 'Listen to the Music'

It's our first time at an orchestra; can we just be quiet and listen to the music?

Listen to the music I picked for us to walk down the aisle.

We lay in bed and listened to the music coming from the radio.

Concluding Thoughts

That concludes this article about the difference between 'listen to music' and 'listen to the music.' I hope you feel more confident in using both phrases.

Here's what we've learned:

  • The article 'the' makes a general thing specific
  • 'Listen to music' refers to music in general
  • 'Listen to the music' refers to specific music

If you found this article helpful, why not visit our blog and read more articles about confusing words like these?

We encourage you to share this article on Twitter and Facebook. Just click those two links - you'll see why.

It's important to share the news to spread the truth. Most people won't.

Written By:
Carly Forsaith
Carly Forsaith is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. Carly is a copywriter who has been writing about the English language for over 3 years. Before that, she was a teacher in Thailand, helping people learn English as a second language. She is a total grammar nerd and spends her time spotting language errors on signs and on the internet.

Add new comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

WritingTips.org Newsletter
Receive information on
new articles posted, important topics, and tips.
Join Now
We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.