Music Appreciation: Music in Context

Ref: C3843935

This course will encourage students to enjoy and engage critically and actively with new and more familiar classical music through centred listening and by thinking about its artistic, social and cultural contexts. Each session will revolve around pieces drawn from traditional concert repertoire, newer or maybe unfamiliar classical works and music from other genres. The classical music we will hear will be drawn from the early period, the common practice period and the 20th and 21st Centuries; we will explore well-known composers as well as more neglected figures from each of these. We will consider such issues as style, form, history, geography, aesthetics, tradition/progress, and the lives of composers. Classes will include time for listening and friendly but critical discussion built around that. Topics may include compositional schools, folk music and nationalism, modernism and post-modernism, impressionism, classical music and literature, jazz and its sub-genres, and world music.

Course aim

To explore classical music history and repertoire through issues such as style, culture, politics, form and aesthetics; students will enjoy a wide range of music and be encouraged to expand their knowledge and understanding of its development.

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:

  • Recognise some of the important artistic, social and cultural forces that have shaped classical music
  • Critically engage with different kinds of music and composers, broadly and specifically
  • Actively explore music through issues such as gender, accessibility, identity, metaphor, nationalism and interdisciplinarity
  • Use a range of skills relating to researching, thinking and writing about music and its artistic, cultural and social contexts
  • Demonstrate confidence to progress to further study in the fields of musicology and history of 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • A file of work will be kept which will help to record your progress

What else do I need to know?

  • A selection of materials and basic equipment will be provided but you are welcome to bring additional materials with you
  • 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
  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful
  • You may wish to consult books and online resources concerning music history, terminology, theory, or guides to classical music, individual composers and style. Listening, reading and research for learning, intellectual cultivation and pleasure around all aspects of music are very much encouraged

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • You could progress to Higher Education courses. Follow link to the PEARL website for information
  • Study of an instrument or of music theory

Download full course information sheet

Music Appreciation: Music in Context

Is this course right for me? Request more information

This course is not available for online enrolment.


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

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