AE 291 – Expression: To Face The Music

Learn Australian English in this Expression episode of Aussie English where I teach you how to use the expression TO FACE THE MUSIC like a native.

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AE 291 – Expression: To Face The Music

G’day guys. Welcome to this episode of Aussie English.

I’m your host Pete, and this is The Aussie English Podcast.

The number one podcast that teaches you Australian English, whether you want to understand how people speak Down Under, you just want to be able to understand what they’re saying when they’re talking to you, or whether you want to speak just like us native Aussies, this is the podcast for you.

Today is another expression episode, and the expression for today is “to face the music”, “to face the music”.

This is one that I hear quite a bit.

This is one that my parents would use a little bit on me when I was younger.

As usual, let’s go through and define the words in the expression, “to face the music”, guys.

So, “face”. This is obviously used as a verb in this phrase, but it’s also a noun.

So, “a face” or “the face” of something is the front of something.

Usually, if we’re talking about people it’s the front of your head.

So, where your eyes are, your mouth is, where your nose is. That’s your face.

When it’s used as a verb, however, so if you face something, to face something, it is to take your face and look toward something.

So, to confront something, figuratively, or to literally point yourself towards that thing.

So, to address something, to confront something, when we’re talking about facing something in a figurative sense, or in a literal sense, if we point our face towards something, we’re facing it.

The last word we’ll go through is “music”, the music or some music.

“Music” is a vocal or instrumental set of sounds, a song or singing or pleasant noise.

I’m sure you guys will know what “music” is.

So, as usual, let’s dive in and define the expression itself, “to face the music”.

What does it mean if you face the music or if you’re forced to face the music.

“To face the music” means to be confronted with the unpleasant consequences of your actions, or to receive punishment for your actions.

So, most often you going to hear this said like, “it’s time for you to face the music”.

“It’s time to face the music”. You need to face the music. To face the music.

So, let’s go into the origin of this expression. I looked this up. It is unknown.

We’re not 100% sure where this expression originates from, but there are two likely possible origins.

Firstly, the expression could have originated from disgraced officers.

So, people in the army or some kind of military force that had to literally face the music, that is they point themselves towards the music, when they were being drummed out of their regiment.

So, if they’re being drummed out that would be like the drums were playing as they were kicked out, as they were removed, from their regiment, from the group that they were in.

So, they would have to stand there and literally face the music that was being played on the drums as they were thrown out, as they were disgraced and chucked out of the regiment, of the military.

That’s the first possible origin of this expression.

The second one could have been when actors had to face the music on stage.

When they came out on stage if they were facing the audience they were also facing the orchestra pit.

So, this is where everyone in the orchestra was sitting below the stage in front of the stage, actors would have to face the orchestra, the orchestra pit, where the music was coming from.

So, when they were on stage they could have said, you know, as they were about to go on stage that it’s time to go out on stage and face the music.

So, it’s time to face the music. It’s time to get out there and have to do this stuff.

We have to face the music. We have to face the consequences of what it is to be an actor.

So, as usual, guys let’s jump through a few examples of how I would use this expression in everyday life.

So, a few everyday life examples or situations where you might hear this kind of expression being used.



Number one, imagine that you are a student at school.

And this is probably mostly the case for male students.

But imagine you’re misbehaving in class and the teacher decides to give you detention.

So, this is where you have to go and stay in a classroom during lunchtime or recess.

So, those periods where you have time to go outside.

If you get detention during those periods as a punishment you have to go and sit in a classroom and do homework or do work.

And it can also happen after school.

So, I didn’t get this too much at school, although I’m sure I did a few times, probably during lunchtime.

But imagine you’re a student who misbehaves. You get given detention.

When the bell goes at the end of the day, or say it goes just before lunch or recess, your friends might say, “Oh, don’t forget you’ve got detention. Time to face the music”.

You’re going to have to go sit in the class all lunch or for a certain period after school and do homework.

It’s time to face the music. You’ve got to go have to do your detention now.

You’re going to have to face up to the consequences of misbehaving in class.

It’s time to face the music.


Example number two.

Imagine that you are a criminal who’s stolen say a million dollars from your business.

So, you’ve taken all this money from your business and fled overseas. You’ve run off.

If the country that you’ve run off in to… so you’ve escaped Australia and you’ve gone into somewhere, say, like the Philippines.

Say that that country has allowed the Australian Government and the police force to come to their country and take you home.

So, they’re extraditing you back to Australia to be punished.

When that happens, you could say that you’re having to go back to Australia to face the music.

So, the police and the Aussie government have come to get you in the Philippines, and they’re forcing you to face the music.

It’s time to face the music.

It’s time to accept the consequences of what you’ve done wrong and receive the punishment for it.

You’re going to have to come back to Australia, go to court, and face the music.


Example number three, the last example.

Say, you’ve had a fight with your wife or your husband, so your partner.

And you’ve gone out with your mates to a local pub.

So, okay, imagine you’re a guy who likes to drink.

You’ve gone out to a pub, which is sort of an establishment that sells beer, usually, on the corner of streets that you’ll go to in Australia, especially out in country towns.

There’ll be lots of pubs.

So, they’re out there hanging with your mates, and you’re kind of avoiding having to deal with the situation, with the fight that you had with your partner.

You don’t want to go home and you don’t really want to face the consequences of that fight.

When you finally accept that it is time to go home though and to confront this issue with your partner.

So, you know, maybe after a few hours, after a few drinks, and you’ve cooled down.

You’ve calmed down. You’re in a better state of mind.

You might say, “Look, it’s time for me to go home. It’s time to face the music. I’m going to have to go home and sort this out with my partner. And it’s time to face the music. I guess it’s time to head home guys. Time to face the music. Time to get this all sorted out. I have to face the music.”

So that’s it for the examples guys.

Hopefully by now you get what the expression “to face the music” means.

As usual, we’ll go through a listen and repeat exercise, guys.

And I’m going to say this just as I would as a native speaker.

So, listen and repeat guys, and practice your pronunciation.

Listen & Repeat:

I’ve got to face the music.
You’ve got to face the music.
He’s got to face the music.
She’s got to face the music.
We’ve got to face the music.
They’ve got to face the music.
It’s got to face the music.

So, for this exercise, obviously, you’ve heard me use “got to”, but I’ve actually contracted it together into “gotta”, which I actually pronounce as more of a “godda” kind of sound “godda”, “godda”.

So, it’s using that T-flap that we’ve gone over previously.

So, if you have got to do something it means you have to do something, you need to do something, you must do something.

And we often use “got” when we’ve contracted “have” onto the pronoun.

So, if I say “I’ve gotta”, I use “got” because it sounds weird to say “I’ve to face the music.”, “You’ve to face the music.”.

We wouldn’t say that is native. So, if we contract “have” we have to use “got”.

Anyway, pronunciation and connected speech tip wise, as I said I used “got to” and I contracted this to “gotta”.

So, “to” often gets turned into a “ta” or an “a” kind of sound when it joins the verb before it.

So, when there’s a verb that’s in the infinitive form with “to” before it.

So, in the case of “I have got to face the music”, the “to” before “face” will often get contracted on to the word before it.

So, you’re going to hear examples, most commonly in English, such as:

Going to = gonna
Need to = needa
Have to = havda
Want to = wanna
Plan to = plan’a
Hope to = hopeta

So, hopefully that makes sense, guys.

If you want to practice this pronunciation and connected speech tip I really recommend signing up to the Aussie English Supporter Pack or the Aussie English Membership that’s on the website at the moment.

You can try it for a dollar.

This episode we’re going to go through a lot of different exercises learning how to use “to have to” and “to have got to”, as well as contracting “have” onto the pronouns.

We’re going to practice substituting in and out of “have to” and “have got to”. We’re also going to practice these pronunciation and connected speech parts where we contract “to” onto different verbs.

So, we’re going to practice things like, gotta, wanna, gonna, havta, hopesta, etc.

So, if you want to get access to all that guys sign up to the Aussie English Supporter Pack and give it a go.

Anyway, I hope you guys are having a killer week. I am currently freezing my butt off in my room.

It is the middle of winter and it is absolutely freezing.

Last night was the most cold night to date this year. I think it got down to zero degrees.

So, I’m going to go and watch some TV, and do some more language learning, and I hope you guys have an absolutely killer week.

So, I will chat to you all soon. I wish you all the best.

Thank you so much for listening guys, and enjoy your week.

See ya.

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