Music History & Appreciation Courses & Classes in London and Online

City Lit offers an extensive programme of music history courses with a focus on Western classical music, Folk, Jazz, Rock and Pop. There are new topics each year and some are designed to coincide with anniversaries, festivals and events. This year we celebrate 250 years since the birth of Beethoven.
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.

You can now study in the comfort of your home with our online courses.

For a limited time new students can get 20% off their first online course using code CITYLIT20. (Terms & Conditions apply )

To participate in online classes you will need an email address, a reliable internet connection, a computer/laptop/tablet with fully updated browser (preferably Google Chrome). Your device will need a microphone, and preferably a camera. Many classes use Google Classroom.

  1. Album history 1: Highway 61 Revisited (1965)

    Course Date: Mon 6 Jul 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    Learn the history of Bob Dylan’s hugely influential sixth album. Chart Dylan’s change from acoustic to rock – “going electric” and discuss the reception history and enduring appeal of his work. Tutor: Dr Toby Manning [external website].

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘How will I be taught’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee: £29.00
    Senior fee: £23.00
    Concession: £18.00

  2. Great works: Strauss's Also sprach Zarathustra

    Course Date: Thu 9 Jul 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    ‘Freely after Nietzsche’ is the subtitle Strauss gave to his tone poem of 1896. Come along and explore the links in this work between philosophy and music.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘How will I be taught’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee: £39.00
    Senior fee: £31.00
    Concession: £24.00

  3. Great musicians: Noël Coward

    Course Date: Fri 10 Jul 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    Wit, performer, actor, writer, director and composer Noël Coward epitomised elegance and was the epitome of sophisticated Englishness for his generation. We investigate his life, work, successes and legacy. Prepare to be amused!

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘How will I be taught’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee: £39.00
    Senior fee: £31.00
    Concession: £24.00

  4. Great Works: Verdi's Requiem

    Course Date: Mon 13 Jul 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    Verdi’s skills as an opera composer are strikingly deployed in the dramatic and emotional way he interprets the words of the funeral Mass, in 1874. Its power still resonates today.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘How will I be taught’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee: £39.00
    Senior fee: £31.00
    Concession: £24.00

  5. Album history 2: Abbey Road (1969)

    Course Date: Mon 13 Jul 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    Learn the history of The Beatles hugely influential eleventh album. The Beatles’ last recorded album, we will chart and discuss Abbey Road’s recording, reception, its context – the end of the 60s - and its enduring appeal. Tutor: Dr Toby Manning [external website].

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘How will I be taught’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee: £29.00
    Senior fee: £23.00
    Concession: £18.00

  6. Music history book club: The Cello Suites

    Course Date: Wed 15 Jul 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    The music history book club meets towards the end of each term to discuss novels and biography with musical themes and references relevant to the music history programme. This term’s book focusses on Bach.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘How will I be taught’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee: £19.00
    Senior fee: £15.00
    Concession: £12.00

  7. Introduction to the music of Claude Debussy

    Course Date: Wed 15 Jul 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    Debussy is one of the most recognisable early 20th century composers. His influence was far reaching. Come and explore several key works to find out what makes his style so distinctive, and his music so intoxicating.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘How will I be taught’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee: £79.00
    Senior fee: £63.00
    Concession: £48.00

  8. Album history 3: The Dark Side of the Moon (1973)

    Course Date: Mon 20 Jul 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    Learn the history of Pink Floyd’s hugely successful and influential eighth album. Chart the commercialisation of progressive rock in this album and discuss the reception history and enduring appeal of this work. Tutor: Dr Toby Manning [external website].

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘How will I be taught’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee: £29.00
    Senior fee: £23.00
    Concession: £18.00

  9. Opera appreciation: an introduction

    Course Date: Mon 27 Jul 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    What is opera? And how do you approach it? Explore the ostentatious, sometimes overwhelming, world of opera through study of two major works and styles. Tutor: Pauline Greene [external website].

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘How will I be taught’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee: £49.00
    Senior fee: £39.00
    Concession: £30.00

  10. Classical music: an introduction

    Course Date: Tue 28 Jul 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    Are you interested in finding out more about classical music but not sure where to start? This taster course will introduce you to the history of music through a careful choice of works.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘How will I be taught’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee: £29.00
    Senior fee: £23.00
    Concession: £18.00

  11. Wagner's Ring Cycle: an overview

    Course Date: Tue 4 Aug 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    Wagner’s Ring Cycle is a mighty epic lasting many hours, full of armies of characters and multiple plot twists, not to mention the musical labels, or ‘leitmotifs,’ that Wagner assigns to various people and ideas throughout. This course is intended for those keen to learn about Wagner and the Ring, and navigate the action across its four constituent operas.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘How will I be taught’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee: £29.00
    Senior fee: £23.00
    Concession: £18.00

  12. Exploring classical music online

    Course Date: Tue 11 Aug 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    A world of music is available to you from the comfort of your own home, thanks to online platforms that both offer high-quality recordings of works – and provide you with information about composers and performers from the distant past to the present day. Come and discover how to access this wealth of material, and explore the musical insights it can provide, whether you are undertaking detailed research into a topic, or would simply like to find out a little more about the music you love.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘How will I be taught’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee: £29.00
    Senior fee: £23.00
    Concession: £18.00

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