Be honest – who doesn’t wants to know more about the wonderful world of classical music? But sometimes we can feel intimidated by the enormity of the repertoire, especially if we don’t have much prior knowledge. Some people are already familiar with the concert hall through a lifetime of listening and performing but would like to know more about the background and structure of what they’re hearing and to stretch their experiences into an ever-widening net of composers and pieces. Either way, I can help.
I run a number of Music Appreciation Groups throughout the year in two alternative formats in order to meet you where you are in your listening journey and to help you take the next steps in furthering your knowledge.
The Discover classes run twice a month on Saturdays via Zoom. These classes are suitable for anyone who is starting their exploration of classical music and absolutely no previous knowledge is required. But the classes also cater to those with a history of listening and concert-going as there is always plenty of information to deepen your understanding and appreciation of the work. We will focus on a single short piece (or movement) each time and I will unpack the overall structure as well as some of the aural signposts to help you find your way through it. The classes last around 40 minutes and there is no pressure to contribute, although there is always a chance for questions at the end. And if you ever have to miss a session because of a clash of commitments, you can catch up via an audio recording in the days afterwards.
The Explore classes are smaller and run just once a month on weekday evenings. These classes are suitable for people who are comfortable reading a musical score and have some ease in the vocabulary of music theory and analysis (approx Grade 5 theory level.) The classes last 90 minutes and provide the opportunity to listen to much longer works such as symphonies and operas. Because the classes are smaller we are able to be more informal and everyone is invited to share their individual responses and insights. The conversation goes where it will, led by the music and the group on the night.
Both types of class are intentionally varied in content and the choices of music encompass as wide a range as possible. We jump around through history from renaissance polyphony to works by living composers, from full symphony orchestras to a capella choirs and from opera to string quartets. In each case we discuss the historical context of the piece and its composer, the genre and the instruments involved.
There is no homework or preparation required for either class – all you need is enthusiasm and curiosity to learn more and expand your musical horizons in the company of like-minded music-lovers. The evening groups generally have a glass of wine on hand as well…