The Great British Song Book

Ref: C2337908

A course which maps over 100 years of marvellous popular music from Gilbert and Sullivan to Lennon and McCartney. Along the way we will listen to the work of (amongst others) Ivor Novello, Noel Coward, Eric Maschwitz, Ray Noble, Sandy Wilson and Lionel Bart. Their songs will be placed in their cultural and historic contexts and we will also listen to differing performing styles and be reminded of some now all but forgotten British vocalists. The accent will be on enjoyment and a splendid time is guaranteed for all

Course aim

The course will provide an overview of British popular song from Gilbert and Sullivan to Lennon and McCartney. The emphasis will be on enjoyment and the (re)discovery of some great popular music.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

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

  • Discuss a variety of popular British song writers in terms of their styles of music and their influence.
  • Know about the British musical, especially in its post-war manifestation.
  • Understand the significant influence of the Savoy Operas and the music of Lennon and McCartney.
  • Appreciate the musical humour of (variously) Coward, Gilbert, Jake Thackray and Flanders and Swann.
  • Be able to discuss the cultural context of the songs and composers dealt with.

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
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning

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

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • All materials will be provided
  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider

Download full course outline

The Great British Song Book Course Outline

Is this course right for me? Request more information

This course is not available for online enrolment.

Please call 0300 303 3464 to enquire about enrolling on this course.


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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