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Appreciating Music

Sessions to explore and deepen our connection with music. No previous experience or musical knowledge needed – all are welcome. To include listening, cultural and historical background, discussion and sharing time.

Exploring ‘classic’ music beyond genres

Once upon a time, there was no such thing as classical music. Initially used in the 19th century to describe earlier (18th century) music, the term has been used very differently since then in different contexts. Does it still have a useful meaning today, and if so what? This term will be an opportunity for me to share with you music that I experience as soulful, beautiful, moving, uplifting, or just worth listening to, with a particular focus on music from the last 65 years. As always, the space is intended for you to explore what you like or do not like about each piece we hear. We will have a chance to talk about what we may mean when we call something ‘classic’. Some of what we hear may fit into the genre called ‘classical music’ including Arvo Part, John Tavener and others, but we will also be exploring music that doesn’t fit neatly into categories like classical or pop. Along the way, we will have a chance to consider what is helpful or unhelpful about labels. We’ll likely touch on labels such as post-classical, ambient, minimalist, trip hop, folk, world, and more. Come with your curiosity – I’m excited to be able to share some wonderful music that may or may not be on our radar. How does it speak to you and why? As always you are welcome whether newcomer or expert – the sessions will be experiential and listening-based seeking to create space for the many ways we appreciate and enjoy music.

Tuesday morning sessions from 16th April to 2nd July 2024 (half term break on 28th May)

These are online sessions using Zoom (hi-fi sound at my end to maximise sound quality). Audio recordings will be shared after each session so that you can catch up if you miss one – or listen again. You will also receive Youtube playlist suggestions for further listening and to explore more deeply what we hear in the sessions

Cost £295 full price / £270 early bird if booked and paid by 5th April 2024) / concessionary early bird rate £255 until 5th April 2024 if you would struggle to afford the full rate. 

Please get in touch if finances are an obstacle to paying £255 – a limited number of bursary places are available, and there’s also the option to pay in instalments – I would like this to be accessible to those who would benefit from this

If you have any questions you can Contact me Once you book, you will receive an email with the join link before the session.

You can book for this here or click the green button below) – let me know if you have any questions! 

Pictured: Miles Davis, Mary Lou Williams, the Spirituals Choir

Previous courses

Termly sessions have been running continuously since 2009. You can read what previous participants have said about the sessions here or read about me here and elsewhere on this website. Previous themes have included: Exploring Harmony, Chopin, Beethoven, Brahms, Exploring music from Eastern Europe and many more…

Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions

Exploring African American music

A term to explore some of the many musical traditions of African American music. We’ll trace ways that musical threads were carried from the continent to Africa and took new forms across the Atlantic as well as how the soulful spirituals have been brought alive in different ways through the decades, as well as how they have influenced so many different styles of music. Our term will look at how central these threads were to the way that spirituals, ragtime, ‘jazz’ and blues, gospel, soul and more thrive, as well as exploring the work of black composers and performers in the field of classical music. As always you are welcome whether newcomer or expert – the sessions will be experiential and listening-based seeking to create space for the many ways we appreciate and enjoy music.

Exploring Music and Nature

How have composers been inspired by the natural world? How do the patterns in nature mirror the way music works? Howe does music shape  our experience of the natural world and how does nature shape our experience of music? We will explore a varied themed selection of music that for me evokes the beauty and power of nature.
We’ll examine how the music touches us, and ask the question of whether we need to know what the composer had in mind for it to speak to us.

Our playlist will include music inspired by flowers, trees, times of day, forests, mountains, rivers, the sea. The course is conceived as suitable for all, whatever your previous knowledge of music.(For those who have been coming for a while, the course is not an exact repeat of the 2018 course I offered on a similar theme but a new perspective with a different choice of music.) As always, you are equally welcome whether you are a total newcomer to music or an experienced musician. Our time will include listening, group discussion and exploration of the cultural and musical framework of what we hear. Come and join us!

In person sessions at Stoke Lodge, Bristol

Come and listen to and talk about a selection of music. Explore what makes a good performance and the links between music past and present.

Open to everyone whether you are an experienced listener or have no previous knowledge.

Book here or pop into the Stoke Lodge office

Let me know if you would like me to keep you posted. Contact me