James Bennett II is a staff writer for WQXR.
Listen to Music Like an Expert With Juilliard's Open Courses
Tuesday, March 14, 2017 - 08:10 AM
In recent years, platforms like Coursera, Udacity and Khan Academy have given curious minds access to comprehensive courses without setting foot in a classroom. You can learn about everything from genetics to game theory, earning credit from institutions including MIT and Yale. Now Juilliard has joined in, partnering with edX to launch their own open source system for the musically inclined.
Currently, they are offering four courses. While you’d expect them to cater to the kind of world class musicians they already serve — which some certainly do — there are opportunities for the casual or novice music fan to deepen their appreciation. Music Theory 101 is ideal for those of us who have a favorite piece of music, style or composer, but can’t exactly pinpoint why. A basic grasp on how exactly music works can be mind-blowing; once you figure out what’s going on, a whole new world of music exploration opens up before you.
If you’re not exactly looking to dive into the structured world of theory, you might find some enjoyment in How to Listen to Great Music for Orchestra. Thankfully, the Juilliard powers that be left no ambiguity in the course title; you know exactly what you’re signing up for. In this course, you’ll get to sharpen your ability to identify stylistic markers of orchestral music, instruments and — perhaps most importantly — know what to listen for. Orchestral music can be a massive and intimidating beast (hello there, Bruckner), but we’d imagine a course like this can make your music listening so much more pleasurable.
There are two other courses offered up as well, both approaching music from a performance aspect. For “advanced beginner and intermediate” piano players, Sharpen Your Piano Artistry will assist you in developing skills at the instrument, while Conquering Performance Anxiety teaches the psychological techniques one should use to quell those pre-show jitters.
Enrollment has already begun, and classes start in May and June 2017. While these are the only courses offered at the moment, Juilliard says that more will come in the following years.