Music Appreciation

Ref: C2224542

This course provides an opportunity for comparison of major composers, their work, their strengths and their general approach to composition. Schubert and Brahms both composed wonderful songs and beautiful piano music, but neither made a great impact on opera (Schubert's are great rarities). Chopin and Liszt pushed the boundaries of piano music and piano playing, but whereas Chopin specialised mostly in piano miniatures, Liszt's style developed to include symphonic poems, sacred music and conducting other composers' music. In comparison, Mendelssohn's approach demonstrates a refined, more 'classical' approach. The course is also an opportunity to hear familiar and less familiar music in a wide variety of genres.

Course aim

A comparison of five major nineteenth-century composers - Brahms, Chopin, Liszt, Mendelssohn and Schubert - their music, their approaches and their achievements.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

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

  • compare the approaches to composition of the featured composers
  • evaluate the extent to which these composers may be considered 'traditional' or 'progressive'
  • discuss the difference in this period between classicism and romanticism.

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
  • Music examples will be introduced and played on recordings followed by class discussion.

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
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • You will be encouraged to consider other students work and give your opinions and suggestions

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Students might also wish to adapt the procedures used in this course to composers of other centuries. It might even be possible to consider a comparison of writers, poets, artists and others!

Download full Course information sheet

Music Appreciation


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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