Music history

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. Introduction to contemporary classical music
    Course start date:  Mon 31 Oct 2022

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Pauline Greene
    Discover key works of contemporary classical music, considering how they function as artworks and also the political and social context in which they were written.
    Full fee £119.00 Senior fee £95.00 Concession £77.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  2. Miles Davis: from Bebop to Hip-hop
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Wed 2 Nov 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Albi Gravener
    An in depth exploration of the music, life and times of this frequently innovative, often controversial but always influential artist. There is so much more to explore than “Kind of Blue” and “Sketches of Spain”.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £89.00 Senior fee £89.00 Concession £58.00
  3. Great works: White Christmas
    Course start date:  Mon 5 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
  4. Christmas Carols: a brief history
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Thu 8 Dec 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Edward Breen
    Discover the rich heritage of Christmas carols. Learn about traditional forms of the carol and the history behind selected examples from the medieval to twentieth century.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £29.00 Senior fee £29.00 Concession £29.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  5. Great works: Mozart's Eine kleine Nachtmusik
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Thu 8 Dec 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Karen Betley
    Explore this much-loved work by Mozart and learn about the performers and the instruments it was originally written for.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £29.00 Senior fee £29.00 Concession £29.00
  6. Music history book club
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Mon 12 Dec 2022 (and 2 other dates)

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Edward Breen
    The music history book club meets towards the end of each term to discuss novels and biographies with musical themes and references relevant to the music history programme. This term’s book is a new novel about Handel.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £19.00 Senior fee £19.00 Concession £19.00
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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:
    80% of 100
  10. 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 effected 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. The long 19th century II: Salons and symphonies
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Wed 18 Jan 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Katy Hamilton
    We continue our journey through the music of the 1800s with Chopin, Liszt, Berlioz, Brahms, Mendelssohn and Donizetti, and the world of performance in private homes and ever grander public spaces. ** This course has a scheduled break week: 22 February 2023.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £219.00 Senior fee £175.00 Concession £142.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  14. Monteverdi and the musical Baroque
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Thu 19 Jan 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Karen Betley
    From Orfeo to the Vespers, Monteverdi injected into his music new expressive ideas helping to create the Baroque style. Spend the term delving into the life and work of this musical master! No previous musical knowledge necessary. This course has a scheduled break week on 23 Feb 2023.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £219.00 Senior fee £175.00 Concession £142.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  15. Topics in Renaissance music 2
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Thu 19 Jan 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Patrick Allies
    Explore Italian renaissance music in the second part of our 3-term survey course. Break week: 23 Feb 2023.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £219.00 Senior fee £175.00 Concession £142.00

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