Introduction to musicals

Course Dates: 13/01/20 - 10/02/20
Time: 10:30 - 12:30
Location: KS - Keeley Street
Pauline Greene

From Showboat to Hamilton, this course surveys some key examples from the history of the modern musical and examines the way different styles of music, dance and words work on stage.


What is the course about?

Singing, dancing, acting, comedy, tragedy and sentiment: musicals have all these elements wrapped up in the popular styles of their time. Starting in the 1920s and focusing on stage musicals, we will look at representative shows defined by their stylistic innovations and lasting appeal. We will discover how various famous writing partnerships worked, and how some shows transcend being ‘just’ glorious entertainment and provide a touch of humanity and morality in their narrative and outcome. Tutor: Pauline Greene [external website].

What will we cover?

- a brief overview of stage musicals from the 1920s
- different ways of gaining effect from music and lyrics
- musicals as escapist entertainment in their time
- changing intentions in the mid-C20th with more serious topics
- popular culture and its impact.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- identify several key musicals as examples of their age
- discuss the use of music, lyrics, staging and singing style and how they create an effect
- compare several key musicals from different periods
- reflect on the place of the stage musical in popular culture.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This is a beginners’ course. No prior knowledge of music is assumed or expected.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

You will be taught using a range of techniques including short lectures, slide shows and discussions, practical demonstrations on the piano and guided listening sessions. Courses use a variety of materials including YouTube clips. Links to these are given on handouts so that further exploration may take place between classes if you wish.

Occasional short preparation tasks, such as listening to a piece or reading a review, may be set from time to time. Listening and reading outside class is encouraged and once enrolled, further online resources will be available via Google Classroom.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

- Please bring a notebook and pen.
- You may wish to buy some of the music, books or DVDs recommended in class.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

City Lit offers a wide range of music history classes, as well as related courses in history, art history and philosophy.

Later this term Pauline will be teaching Introduction to Film Music. introductory courses on arts administration and management. In the summer term she will teach MD506 Music for film: a history, as well as MD999 Opera Studies 3: Operas in Production, MR008 Arts management: an introduction, and other music history and appreciation courses.

To find out more about music history classes and to read our year-long selection of courses, please see the blog post Music history: your guide to the 2019/20 programme which lists our full programme of classes ordered by term, and by day of the week. You may then click on each title to read the full course outline.


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Reviews below are by students who have attended this course, regardless of the course teacher. Please be aware you may not be booking onto a course with the same teacher.

Good general summary of Musicals over the period covered
Course Rating
Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 21/11/2018)
Tutor Biographies
We’re sorry. We don’t have a bio ready for the tutor of this class at the moment, but we’re working on it! Watch this space.

Book your place

Course Code: MD026

Mon, day, 13 Jan - 10 Feb '20

Duration: 5 sessions (over 5 weeks)

Full fee: £99.00
Senior fee: £79.00
Concession: £60.00

Or call to enrol: 020 7831 7831

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Any questions?
or call 020 7492 2630

Please note: we offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. For more information visit our online Help Center. You can also visit the Information, Advice and Guidance drop-in service, open from 12 – 6.45, Monday to Friday.