American Music - Traditions and Innovations

Ref: C2342464

American music has absorbed influences from all over the world, and we shall explore some of this extraordinary variety, from the music of the Native Indians and the early settlers, to the European-influenced music of the 19th century onwards. At the same time as paying its dues to its European inheritance, American music developed an independent readiness to experiment, with sometimes startlingly radical results. 'Concert' and 'popular' music maintained closer links than their European counterparts. African influence, originating with the slave population, gave rise to ragtime and jazz, Jewish and Latin-American styles, and the music of the Pacific rim, have also had an impact, and the development of minimalism has had far-reaching effects. The course aims to explore how all these influences fed into the the development of American music.

Course aim

With its European, African, Jewish, Native and Pacific roots, American music is astonishingly varied in character. Join us to explore some of this broad range, focusing on concerts works, but also including a look at jazz and Broadway musicals.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

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

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

  • Identify six major American composers of the 19th-21st centuries, and assess their contributions to American music.
  • Identify and assess some of the influences which American concert music has absorbed from European sources.
  • Identify and assess some of the influences which American concert music has absorbed from non-European sources.
  • Identify and assess some of the influences from various kinds of popular music on American concert music.

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

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

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • You may wish to bring a folder for handouts, a notepad and pen.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required
  • Suggestions for further reading and the addresses of relevant websites will be included on the handout for each session. Relevant broadcasts and related live performances in the area will be brought to students' attention at each session.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course

Download full course information sheet

American Music - Traditions and Innovations

Enrolment Conditions

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 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact courseenquiries@wea.org.uk

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