Vaughan Williams (1872-1958): The Man and Musician

Ref: C3742691

The aim and purpose of this 10-week course will be to explore the life and compositions of Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958), this most quintessential of 20th century English composers. This course will focus upon his musical roots (English folksong; Anglican church music; the late 19thc. English musical "renaissance") which impinged greatly upon his own particular vocal, instrumental and choral style; and, equally, will focus upon his development as one of the more important contributors to the 20th century symphony. His life and music will also be placed within the context of the upheavals of European history that encompassed his long life.

Course aim

This 10-week course will explore the life and compositions of this most quintessential of English composers, focusing on the influence of English folksong and church music on his own style.

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:

  • Identify the degree to which Vaughan Williams' characteristic style can be described as 'English pastoral'.
  • Identify the works that most encapsulate Vaughan Williams' unique compositional 'voice'.
  • Appreciate more and enjoy listening to Vaughan Williams' music with a more discerning 'ear'; and discuss its features in class utilising the knowledge gained on this course.

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
  • WEA classes are friendly and supportive. You will be encouraged to work together with your fellow students and tutor.

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • 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

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 is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful
  • Online Reference Library resources (see: Kent Libraries online website: "Online Reference Library" > "Arts and Music"): Naxos Music Library (an extensive online collection of music recordings)

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

Vaughan Williams (1872-1958): The Man and Musician


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • 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 2018
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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