Music history - Keeley Street

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 with any questions.


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  1. Score reading: interpreting styles and composers
    Course start date:  Wed 12 Jul 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Edward Breen, Trish Shaw
    Learn to navigate music scores and analyse basic structures. Learn to identify stylistic characteristics of music from different periods of music history, suitable for developing your understanding of music in its historical context, and to support the style identification elements of grade 5+ ABRSM exams.
    Full fee £89.00 Senior fee £89.00 Concession £0.00
  2. Great works: Stravinsky's Les Noces
    Course start date:  Wed 19 Jul 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Trish Shaw
    Why is Stravinsky's Les Noces still considered such an important work a century after its first performance by the Ballets Russes in Paris in June 1923? Come and discover how this work was conceived and created, and its impact on music and dance in the 20th century.
    Full fee £29.00 Senior fee £29.00 Concession £29.00
  3. Exploring Samuel and Avril Coleridge-Taylor
    Course start date:  Wed 20 Sep 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Katy Hamilton
    Come and discover the music of a brilliant father and daughter writing in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries: Samuel and Avril Coleridge-Taylor. These two conductor-composers enjoyed prestigious careers in the UK and America. We explore their lives and works.
    Full fee £119.00 Senior fee £95.00 Concession £77.00
  4. Exploring Brahms’s symphonies
    Course start date:  Wed 1 Nov 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Katy Hamilton
    Brahms wrote just four symphonies over the course of his career and found the genre a difficult one to engage with. We investigate the ways in which Brahms constructed his symphonies: the debt they owe the past, and their innovative and unusual characteristics.
    Full fee £119.00 Senior fee £95.00 Concession £77.00
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