A Beginner's Guide to Classical Music

2 hours a week for 8 weeks, or 2 weekend days

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Interested in classical music but don’t know how to start? Been listening for a while but need some guidance? This course provides a framework for understanding classical music, examining the major periods of music history, the music of the great composers, and the main classical genres. Each week we will listen to some works and examine their historical, social and musical context. You will be able to explore your own taste in music and learn how to find more of what you like. No musical knowledge is necessary.

Course Outline

Session 1

  • Introduction
  • The Elements of Music

Session 2

  • The Symphony Orchestra
  • The Middle Ages

Session 3

  • Symphonies and Concertos
  • The Renaissance

Session 4

  • Choral Music
  • The Baroque Period

Session 5

  • Chamber Music
  • The Classical Period

Session 6

  • Opera
  • The Romantic Period

Session 7

  • Vocal Music
  • The Late-Romantic Period

Session 8

  • The Twentieth Century
  • Outside the Boundaries


“Susan has a deep knowledge of classical music and she presented the course with great love and enthusiasm. The music was a pleasure to listen to. A wonderful experience which I highly recommend”

“Was simple, clear, well thought out. Loved handout. The level – assuming no prior knowledge was great. Pace – great – enough time to reflect and think about things. Encouragement to be open and accepting – great. Really good”

“I enjoyed every aspect of the course and looked forward to each lecture”

“Susan is an exceptional teacher. She made the course extremely interesting and covered a vast amount of info in a short time in an extremely interesting way. 10/10 for Susan!”

”Excellent, informative, enjoyable”

“The course was exactly what I hoped it would be. Susan was an excellent educator for the content and I would highly recommend this course to anyone interested in an introduction to classical music”

More about Susan Deas

Susan Deas is a professional musician, lecturer and teacher. She has been teaching music appreciation courses for more than twenty years, through Sydney University's Centre for Continuing Education, WEA Sydney and at other venues. Her training includes a Bachelor of Music with a major in Performance (Piano) and Musicology, a Master of Music Studies (Studio Pedagogy), a Bachelor of Arts (Communications), and an A.Mus.A in Musicianship. Susan teaches piano and music theory to adults and children, and plays piano and organ at various venues around Sydney.

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