How to Listen to Music: A Free Course from Yale University

Taught by Yale pro­fes­sor Craig Wright, this course, Lis­ten­ing to Music, oper­ates on the assump­tion that lis­ten­ing to music is “not sim­ply a pas­sive activ­i­ty one can use to relax, but rather, an active and reward­ing process.” When we under­stand the basic ele­ments of West­ern music (e.g., rhythm, melody, and form), we can appre­ci­ate music in entire­ly new ways. That includes every­thing from clas­si­cal music, rock and tech­no, to Gre­go­ri­an chant and the blues.

You can watch the 23 lec­tures above, on YouTube, or Yale’s web­site, where you’ll also find a syl­labus and infor­ma­tion on each class ses­sion. The main text used in the course is Lis­ten­ing to Music, writ­ten by the pro­fes­sor him­self.

Lis­ten­ing to Music will be added to the Music sec­tion of our ever-grow­ing col­lec­tion, 1,700 Free Online Cours­es from Top Uni­ver­si­ties.

It’s also worth not­ing that Prof. Wright has cre­at­ed an inter­ac­tive MOOC called Intro­duc­tion to Clas­si­cal Music. You might want to check it out.

If you would like to sign up for Open Culture’s free email newslet­ter, please find it here. Or fol­low our posts on Threads, Face­book, BlueSky or Mastodon. If you would like to sup­port the mis­sion of Open Cul­ture, con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your con­tri­bu­tions will help us con­tin­ue pro­vid­ing the best free cul­tur­al and edu­ca­tion­al mate­ri­als to learn­ers every­where. You can con­tribute through Pay­Pal, Patre­on, and Ven­mo (@openculture). Thanks!

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Eve­lyn Glen­nie (a Musi­cian Who Hap­pens to Be Deaf) Shows How We Can Lis­ten to Music with Our Entire Bod­ies

Down­load 400,000 Free Clas­si­cal Musi­cal Scores & 46,000 Free Clas­si­cal Record­ings from the Inter­na­tion­al Music Score Library Project

Play­ing an Instru­ment Is a Great Work­out For Your Brain: New Ani­ma­tion Explains Why

1200 Years of Women Com­posers: A Free 78-Hour Music Playlist That Takes You From Medieval Times to Now

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.