An Introduction to Understanding Classical Music: Baroque to 20th Century

237 TUTOR: Wendy Taylor

Have you ever sat in a classical music concert and been surprised? Do you listen to classical music and really do not understand what you are listening too? If you answered yes, then this is the course for you. Your tutor will enlighten you on Baroque, Classical, Romantic and 20th century music, as well as genres, composers, instruments and what to listen for. This is very much a beginner's course and no previous knowledge or ability to read music is necessary.

4 AM
AM course

Course Notes


This course offers an insight into understanding classical music from the baroque era to the 20th century. The course is not intended for music specialists, but is aimed at those who would like to know a bit more about what they are listening too. It is a very much a beginner's course and the ability to read music is not necessary.

By the end of session five everyone would have listened to a wide range of music and be able to understand what to listen out for. It is intended that by the end of the five sessions you should be able to look at a concert brochure and decide whether to attend, or have the confidence to attend a concert with unknown pieces, and apply what you have learnt.

Throughout each of the sessions you will listen to a wide range of music, discuss features and learn about the history of music and the elements of music.

Monday: Session 1

  • Introduction to the difference between hearing and listening.
  • Focus on the elements of music to aid understanding.
  • Discuss, listen and learn about the music, composers and features of the baroque period.
  • The string section and harpsichord.

Tuesday: Session 2

  • The classical period - main genres and composers.
  • Further investigation into the elements of music in particular structure and form.
  • The growth of the orchestra, publishing, concert going and the musical canon.
  • The woodwind and brass sections of the orchestra.

Wednesday: Session 3

  • The romantic period
  • Investigate genres and composers.
  • New developments, influences and features
  • The piano

Thursday: Session 4

  • The 20th century
  • Investigate primitivism, impressionism, serialism, minimalism and experimental.
  • We will listen to these styles by applying and developing our recognition of the elements of music learnt in sessions 1-3.

Friday: Session 5

  • Specific genres the focus, including opera and concerto.

Course Tutor

Wendy Taylor

About Wendy

Dr Wendy Taylor holds degrees in Music, English Literature, Educational Management, and a Ph.D. in 'English Pantomime in London from 1779 to 1786' (Cardiff University). She is a trained music teacher, and worked for many years as a Head of Music in a number of large comprehensive schools in England and Wales. She is now concentrating on writing and lecturing on her subjects. She is a published writer having located a number of unknown 19th-century theatres in South Wales. Her writing covers the full range performing arts including theatre, music and dance histories. Her hobbies are playing the piano, singing in a choir and watercolour painting.

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All courses run for 5 days

WK 1 11 Jul - 15 Jul

WK 2 18 Jul - 22 Jul

WK 3 25 Jul - 29 Jul

WK 4 1 Aug - 5 Aug

Morning Courses

9.15AM to 12.15PM

Afternoon Courses

1.45PM to 4.30PM

All Day Courses

9.15AM to 4.30PM