Songs of Christmas

Ref: C2345835

We have all sung Christmas Carols or heard them performed in the festive period, but where did these pieces of music and poetry come from? Over the centuries, many pieces of poetry and rhyme have been set to music to celebrate the festive period. Many composers, including Anderson, Bach, Brahms, Britten; Schubert, Chopin, Haydn, Handel, Holst, Mendelsohn, Penderecki, Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky, have written music to celebrate the Christmas period. Even Henry VIII is supposed to have written music that is used at Christmas! In this series of talks, I intend to talk about many of these pieces including some of the history surrounding why each of them was written. During our sessions, we will uncover some of the secret stories and hidden meanings of many of the most well-loved pieces of Christmas music that we play each year.

Course aim

To uncover some of the stories that surround some popular pieces of Christmas music. To listen to examples of Christmas music and to appreciate the different ways that musicians have represented the season of Christmas in their compositions.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is for beginners and improvers

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

  • recognise a range of Christmas music from different eras.
  • understand where some of the traditional music that we listen to at Christmas originally came from.
  • listen to, and appreciate, the music of different composers who wrote about the Christmas season.
  • compare different pieces of Christmas music and identify some ways that they differ from each other.
  • Identify pieces of music that follow a similar theme and identify similarities between different pieces of music.

How will I be taught?

What kind of feedback can I expect?

What else do I need to know?

As this is an online course, you will need to have an internet connection and appropriate equipment to be able to take part in a Zoom meeting.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

What can I do next?

View full course information sheet

Songs of Christmas

Is this course right for me? Request more information

This course has been cancelled.


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 2021
  • 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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