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Friday, April 7, 2017

Play it by ear

Play it by ear: (1) Play music without reading from a score; (2) To do something instinctively; to do something without planning based on the circumstances.

Context #1 – Friends talking about an upcoming trip

Hanna: So what are we going to do when we get to London?
Leslie: Well, we said we would go to the major attractions during the day.
Hanna: Yeah, but I want to go out at night too.  Should I do some research?
Leslie: Let’s just play it by ear.  I mean, we don’t even know what it will feel like until we arrive.
Hanna: Yeah, that’s not a bad idea.  Let’s just play it by ear then. I’m sure we’ll figure something out.

Context #2 – Two traveling musicians.

Jason:  I can’t wait for our concert this Sunday.  I can’t believe we’re opening for Black Violin.
Jose: I know.  I heard they always invite their opening act to play on stage with them impromptu.  What should we do if that happens?
Jason: We’ll just play it by ear man.  That’s the best way to approach something like that.
Jose: I guess we have no choice.  Awesome!  Wyld Stallyns!!!

Explanation: “Play it by ear” means to do something without any planning.  It could apply to music or any situation where there are no instructions.  Many people use it when they feel confused about life. 

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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Get your act together

Get your act together: to organize in ways necessary to achieve a goal, necessity, or responsibility.

 Context #1 – Friends talking about relationships

Don: Are you seriously considering marrying your girlfriend.  I thought you said you had no job or plans for the future.
Jerrad: Well, she’s pretty great and she makes me want to be a better person.
Don: Well then, you better get your act together before her parents or friends disapprove of you.
Jerrad: I’m really trying to get my act together.  I don’t want to lose her.
Don: I hope so.  Otherwise, some other guy is going to take her from you.

Context #2 – Brother and sister talking about responsibilities in college

Kelly:  I’m glad you’re home for spring break. How’s college?
Devin: I’m not doing so well.  All the partying is keeping me from being focused.
Kelly: Hey, mom and dad are paying a lot of money for you to go to school.  You better get your act together.
Devin: I know.  I don’t want to disappoint them and I want to make sure I get a good education.

Explanation: “Get your act together” means to become responsible by taking steps in a positive/productive direction.  It means that your ideas are in many separate direction and you have to sit down, focus and complete the tasks necessary to succeed.

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