Music History

General Knowledge Workshops for Teenagers

Fresco by Simone Martini showing musicians

An understanding of the history of music unlocks a true understanding of its origins and influences. In this workshop we explore the history of western music, focussing on the Baroque Period through to the present day. For each period, we learn how the music relates to the art, social, and historical events of its time.

For high school students, aged 12 to 18

Course Outline

Session 1: The Baroque Period

  • Discussion: changing fashions
  • Major historical events of the Baroque period
  • Social aspects of the Baroque Period
  • The art of the Baroque period (and how it parallels the music)
  • Composers of the Baroque period
  • The Baroque style: Musical characteristics
  • Listening tips
  • Summing up

Session 2: The Classical Period

  • Major historical events of the Classical period
  • Social aspects of the Classical period
  • The art of the Classical period (and how it parallels the music)
  • Composers of the Classical period
  • The Classical style: Musical characteristics
  • Listening tips
  • Summing up

Session 3: The Romantic Period

  • Discussion: music as self-expression
  • Major historical events of the Romantic period
  • Social aspects of the Romantic Period
  • The art of the Romantic period (and how it parallels the music)
  • Composers of the Romantic period
  • The Romantic style: Musical characteristics
  • Listening tips
  • Summing up

Session 4: Impressionism and the Twentieth Century

  • The Post-Romantic Period and Impressionism
  • Late or Post-Romanticism: Musical characteristics
  • The Impressionist style
  • The Twentieth Century
  • Major historical events of the Twentieth Century
  • Social aspects of the Twentieth Century
  • The art of the Twentieth Century and its relationship to music
  • Composers of the Twentieth Century
  • The Twentieth Century: musical trends
  • Listening tips
  • Summing up

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Comments

“The idea of associating historic events, architecture and paintings with periods of music was quite helpful”

“What I learned most was the overall ‘feel’ of each era”

“I enjoyed this session particularly because of the examples incorporated, the use of audience involvement, and I found the relation to other events in history very interesting”

“It was fun and educational at the same time. It was also fun working in a group and hearing other people's opinions”

“The session was great at teaching music and art history, and how to approach new music. The session taught this in a way that was fun”

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.

More about Susan's qualifications

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Susan's other music courses