Music history - Keeley Street

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Music History Courses in London and Online

City Lit offers an extensive programme of online music history and music appreciation courses with a focus on Western classical music, Folk, Jazz, Rock and Pop. There are new topics each year across a growing range of music styles and traditions.

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 our 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.

Our staff are all professional musicians who teach, write, broadcast, lecture and perform widely. In recent years they have worked with BBC Radio 3, Gramophone magazine, Birkbeck (University of London), The Open University, Oxford and Cambridge University Press, Early Music, The Orchestra of the age of Enlightenment, The Wigmore Hall and the Aldeburgh Festival.

Many of our students learn for pleasure but some also come to enhance their careers: recent examples include board members of music charities, marketing and administration professionals from orchestras and gap-year students considering university entrance.

Feel free to browse our programme and do email us at music@citylit.ac.uk with any questions.

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  1. Great works: White Christmas
    Course start date:  Mon 12 Dec 2022

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Pauline Greene
    How did we all become so obsessed with snow in December? From Irving Berlin’s song to its use in several films and on stage, we look at the huge impact of this little ditty which has become the defining image of Christmas for many.
    Full fee £29.00 Senior fee £29.00 Concession £29.00
  2. Great composers: Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Course start date:  Tue 13 Dec 2022

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Trish Shaw
    Explore the musical world of one of England's most important composers, Ralph Vaughan Williams, on the 150th anniversary of his birth.
    Full fee £39.00 Senior fee £39.00 Concession £39.00
  3. Exploring opera 2
    Course start date:  Mon 16 Jan 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Pauline Greene
    Join us to explore the history of opera over three enjoyable terms. In this second term we’ll explore the innovations of Mozart, the impact of the French Revolution and the early Romantics. This course has a scheduled break week: 13 February 2023.
    Full fee £219.00 Senior fee £175.00 Concession £142.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  4. Introduction to musicals
    Course start date:  Mon 16 Jan 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  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.
    Full fee £119.00 Senior fee £95.00 Concession £77.00
    Rating:
    87% of 100
  5. Bach: instrumental works
    Course start date:  Tue 17 Jan 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Karen Betley
    From the Brandenburg Concertos to the Partitas for solo violin, instrumental music played an important role in the output of J.S.Bach. Come and explore these extraordinary works by this late Baroque master. This course has a scheduled break week: 21 Feb 2023.
    Full fee £219.00 Senior fee £175.00 Concession £142.00
    Rating:
    95% of 100
  6. Exploring classical music: module 4
    Course start date:  Tue 17 Jan 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Edward Henderson
    This course offers a (very) brief history of Western art music during the 20th century. Suitable for classical music enthusiasts as well as near beginners. Each week we will look at a key work of classical music from the twentieth century and use it as a jumping off point to discuss the important historical and aesthetic developments that affected composition in the modern era. Break week: 21 Feb 2023.
    Full fee £219.00 Senior fee £175.00 Concession £142.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  7. Exploring classical music: module 2
    Course start date:  Tue 17 Jan 2023 (and 2 other dates)

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street (other locations are available)

    Tutors:  Karen Betley
    Do you want to know more about classical music history? Explore selected topics and key works in Baroque to Classical music on this highly informative 10 week course. Ideal for people with no specialist knowledge. This course has a scheduled break week: 21 February 2023.
    Full fee £169.00 Senior fee £135.00 Concession £110.00
    Rating:
    93% of 100
  8. Exploring classical music: module 1
    Course start date:  Tue 20 Sep 2022 (and 2 other dates)

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street (other locations are available)

    Tutors:  Neil Luck
    Do you want to know more about classical music? Explore selected topics and key works in Medieval to (early) Baroque music on this highly informative 10 week course. Ideal for people with no specialist knowledge. Break week: 25 Oct 2022.
    Full fee £169.00 Senior fee £135.00 Concession £110.00
    Rating:
    98% of 100
  9. Introduction to film music
    Course start date:  Mon 27 Feb 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Pauline Greene
    Music has always been an important part of film-going, filling the silence and creating sometimes startling effects. We will look at the way directors have used music to enhance, enrich and enthral audiences from cinema’s earliest days.
    Full fee £119.00 Senior fee £95.00 Concession £77.00
    Rating:
    97% of 100
  10. Amy Beach: an introduction
    Course start date:  Thu 2 Mar 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Katy Hamilton




    In the last few decades of the nineteenth century, as American composers were starting to determine their own nationalist approach to art music, the brilliant pianist and composer Amy Beach was a hugely popular figure in US musical life – in defiance of her family and husband. Come and learn about this symphonist who offered her own ‘reply’ to Dvorák’s Symphony ‘From the New World’.
    Full fee £119.00 Senior fee £95.00 Concession £77.00
  11. Great works: The Beggar's Opera
    Course start date:  Mon 3 Apr 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Pauline Greene
    Was this the first musical? Using popular song and opera tunes of the day, new satirical words poked fun at serious opera in this everyday tale of skulduggery among the criminal classes, with a charismatic but murderous hero.
    Full fee £29.00 Senior fee £29.00 Concession £29.00
  12. Great works: Brahms's Clarinet Quintet
    Course start date:  Tue 4 Apr 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Karen Betley
    Explore this much-loved work by Brahms and learn about the performer and the instrument it was originally written for.
    Full fee £29.00 Senior fee £29.00 Concession £29.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  13. Great works: Grieg's Piano Concerto
    Course start date:  Thu 6 Apr 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Katy Hamilton
    Grieg was just 24 years old when he wrote this, one of his best-loved works. We explore its genesis, early performances, and why it has remained such a popular work within the vast repertoire of nineteenth-century piano concertos.
    Full fee £29.00 Senior fee £29.00 Concession £29.00
    Rating:
    93% of 100
  14. Exploring opera 3
    Course start date:  Mon 24 Apr 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Pauline Greene
    Join us to explore the history of opera over three enjoyable terms. In this third term we’ll explore Verdi, Wagner and the early 20th century. Break weeks: 01, 06 & 29 May 2023 (Bank holidays).
    Full fee £219.00 Senior fee £175.00 Concession £142.00
    Rating:
    95% of 100
  15. Introduction to musical analysis
    Course start date:  Mon 24 Apr 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Pauline Greene
    An introduction to the major building blocks of music. Learn about melody, harmony, texture, rhythm, form and performance directions, and how to recognise these facets within further areas of study. Break weeks: 1 May, 6 May, 29 May 2023.
    Full fee £219.00 Senior fee £175.00 Concession £142.00

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