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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 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.

Tuesday morning sessions from 16th January to 26th March 2024 (half term break on 13th February)
10am until 12 noon online using Zoom (short comfort break in the middle). Option to arrive early or stay later to interact with other participants

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 £280 full price (£255 early bird if booked and paid by 22nd December 2023)
Access: please get in touch if finances are an obstacle to paying the full cost – a limited number of bursary places / concessions are available, and there’s also the option to pay in instalments 

You can book for the course by clicking the link here:

Some links to explore


Related books (optional)

The Heart of a Woman: The Life and Music of Florence B. Price by Rae Linda Brown
Wade in the Water by Arthur Jones https://archive.org/details/wadeinwater00arth
Joy Unspeakable: Contemplative Practices of the Black Church by Barbara Holmes
African Roots of the Jazz Evolution by Karlton Hester 

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

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!

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

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

  • 26th January 2024 – Mahler’s Symphony no. 4 
  • 23rd March 2024 – Faure’s Requiem

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