Appreciating Music for Christmas

Ref: C3531893

We are delivering this Christmas Lecture using Zoom. We will email, a few days before, the link to join the lecture with details of how to access Zoom if you should need it. Students on this lecture will be able to learn to appreciate and identify a variety of musical styles and compositions of Christmas music of different composers. We will listen to, explore and appreciate a range of musical compositions which represent the development of musical styles in the history of western art music. Students will have the opportunity to engage with the music of composers who have tried to express the Christmas story in music.

Course aim

This lecture will be a historical and chronological overview of music for Christmas from its origins in the medieval period up to the present day, including the compositions of a variety of composers and listening to musical examples.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • You will need to be able to follow links to join our WEA live video learning platform: WEA Zoom. If you’d like to understand more about our video learning platform, Zoom please visit: and
  • This is a live lecture delivered by a subject specialist in an online webinar video learning platform. You will need to be able to access the internet on a device with speakers or earphones. There will be opportunities to take part in discussions and chats. If you’d like to know how to use Zoom please visit:
  • No skills or experience needed
  • Everyone welcome - participants will want to listen to, embrace and learn about a variety of styles of Christmas music from early days to modern times. The lecture is presented, and the music played, online via Zoom. A handout for the lecture will be available on Canvas.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • - use my knowledge and learning to identify at least 3 key features of music for Christmas
  • - identify at least 6 pieces of music in different styles and by different composers
  • - develop my listening skills to recognise with perception and understanding, different elements and features of music
  • - identify the different types of pieces of music used by composers to express the Christmas story: for example, plainsong, carols, motets, cantatas, etc
  • - demonstrate an ability to embrace and evaluate musical compositions and recognize their historical context

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • The tutor will present a lecture over Zoom on the history of music for Christmas and explain the developments in styles over the course of music history from medieval times to the present day. Students may want to use their learning to explore and listen to music over the Christmas season.

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • Students will be able to listen to a variety of musical examples on Zoom during the lecture and form their own responses and opinions.

What else do I need to know?

  • What you need: You will need an internet connection, speakers, a microphone and a webcam so that you can use our video learning platform, Zoom. If you’d like to understand more Zoom please visit:
  • A selection of materials and basic equipment will be provided but you are welcome to bring additional materials with you
  • Students are encouraged to embrace a wide range of musical styles from ancient to modern. A handout and module will be available on Canvas.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • Students may want to research a general history of music via books or websites on the internet; some topics for study would be - Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, 20th Century, and Contemporary styles in the history of music.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation
  • Access the WEA What Next? booklet here

Download full course information sheet

Appreciating Music for Christmas


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you enrol. Please check the details below to ensure you meet the basic eligibility critiera:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2020
  • You declare that the address you provide is correct and that you will provide evidence of this and your eligibility to live and work in the UK
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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