Music History & Appreciation Courses & Classes in London

Build 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.
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  1. Opera appreciation: an introduction

    Course Date: Tue 23 Jul 2019
    Location on this date: KS - Keeley Street
    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: [external website].
    Full fee: £49.00
    Senior fee: £39.00
    Concession: £30.00

  2. Classical music: an introduction

    Course Date: Tue 30 Jul 2019
    Location on this date: KS - Keeley Street
    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. Tutor: [external website].
    Full fee: £29.00
    Senior fee: £23.00
    Concession: £18.00

  3. Introduction to the orchestra

    New
    Course Date: Mon 16 Sep 2019
    Location on this date: KS - Keeley Street
    What’s an orchestra? And why does it need a conductor? We’ll examine orchestral instruments and many works to answer these questions, discovering a blend of exciting sounds which communicates the composer’s intentions to the audience.
    Full fee: £99.00

  4. Opera studies 1: the operatic tenor

    New
    Course Date: Mon 16 Sep 2019
    Location on this date: KS - Keeley Street
    The lyrical tenor voice was used in the earliest operas to charm fair maidens and savage beasts alike. We trace the development of the operatic tenor from simple shepherd to dramatic ‘King of the High Cs’. This course has a scheduled break week: 21 October 2019.
    Full fee: £199.00

  5. A history of piano music

    New
    Course Date: Tue 17 Sep 2019
    Location on this date: KS - Keeley Street
    Trace the development of keyboard instruments and their repertoire from Bach’s Goldberg Variations to the late works of Brahms. Explore the composers and makers who shaped the keyboard into one of the most versatile and popular instruments of all time, and learn about history, style, genre and function through guided listening and score reading. Tutor: Dr Maria Razumovskaya [external website]

    Break week: 22nd October 2019.
    Full fee: £199.00
    Senior fee: £159.00
    Concession: £121.00

  6. The essential history of jazz in 20 cuts

    New Evening
    Course Date: Tue 17 Sep 2019
    Location on this date: International House
    Through a selection of 20 iconic albums, we will study the key figures, the innovators and the star soloists of 20th century jazz, as well as some important artists you might be less familiar with. This course has a scheduled break week: 22nd October.
    Full fee: £199.00

  7. Exploring classical music: module 1

    Exploring classical music: module 1

    New
    Course Date: Tue 17 Sep 2019 (and 1 other date)
    Location on this date: KS - Keeley Street
    Enrich your understanding of music history. This module explores selected topics in Medieval to (early) Baroque music, and leads on to next term's course (MD021B) which covers Baroque to classical. Ideal for people with no specialist knowledge. This course has a scheduled break week: 21st October 2019.
    Full fee: £169.00
    Senior fee: £135.00
    Concession: £103.00

  8. Berlioz: a French romantic

    New
    Course Date: Tue 17 Sep 2019
    Location on this date: KS - Keeley Street
    Berlioz radically revolutionised music for the Romantic age, generating much controversy along the way. Come along and delve into the musical world of this French revolutionary. No previous musical knowledge necessary. This course has a scheduled break week: 22nd October 2019.
    Full fee: £199.00

  9. Music in wartime 1: London during World War II

    New
    Course Date: Tue 17 Sep 2019
    Location on this date: KS - Keeley Street
    Come and learn about the rich variety of musical initiatives that were put into place during the Second World War. From the famous National Gallery concerts to the continuation of the Proms – and plenty of non-classical music besides – the scene remained remarkably lively despite the danger at hand. Tutor: Dr Katy Hamilton [external website]

    This course has a scheduled break week: 22nd October 2019.
    Full fee: £199.00

  10. Mozart: the early operas

    New
    Course Date: Wed 18 Sep 2019
    Location on this date: KS - Keeley Street
    Explore Mozart’s operas from Bastien und Bastienne (1768) to Idomeneo, re di Creta (1780-1). Discover the stories and the music of these youthful works and learn about Mozart’s early biography. Tutor: Dr Edward Breen [external website]

    Scheduled break week 23 Oct.
    Full fee: £199.00
    Senior fee: £159.00
    Concession: £121.00

  11. Minimalism in music

    New
    Course Date: Wed 18 Sep 2019
    Location on this date: KS - Keeley Street
    Explore the aesthetics and repertoire of minimal and minimalist music. We will look at famous examples from Philip Glass and Steve Reich while exploring earlier influences and contemporary examples. This course has a scheduled break week: 23rd October 2019.
    Full fee: £199.00

  12. Richard Strauss: a radical individual

    New
    Course Date: Thu 19 Sep 2019
    Location on this date: KS - Keeley Street
    ‘A composer of talent who once was a genius’ or ‘ the musical man of the hour’. From his symphonic poems to his operas and songs the music of Strauss has always prompted diverse opinions. Come along and find out why. No previous knowledge necessary. Scheduled break week: 24 Oct 2019.
    Full fee: £199.00
    Senior fee: £159.00
    Concession: £121.00

  13. Clara Schumann and her circle

    New
    Course Date: Thu 19 Sep 2019
    Location on this date: KS - Keeley Street
    In 2019 we celebrate the 200th birthday of virtuoso pianist and composer Clara Schumann, née Wieck. This course explores not only her own musical career, but her relationships with other musicians and cultural figures (professional and non-professional) of the time. This course has a scheduled break week: 24th October 2019.
    Full fee: £199.00
    Senior fee: £159.00
    Concession: £121.00

  14. The Beatles: a history through their music

    New
    Course Date: Fri 20 Sep 2019
    Location on this date: KS - Keeley Street
    The Beatles are the most culturally significant and popular pop band in history. Through analysis of their music and a history of the 1960s we will see how four lads from Liverpool came to define the sound of a decade.
    Full fee: £99.00

  15. Beethoven piano sonatas 1

    New
    Course Date: Fri 20 Sep 2019
    Location on this date: KS - Keeley Street
    A history and score-study/analysis class for pianists/musicians of a grade 5+ standard in celebration of Beethoven’s 250th birthday. This course has a scheduled break week: 25th October 2019.
    Full fee: £179.00

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