Music Appreciation classes in Bristol and Stroud

Since 2009 I have been running regular weekly classes in Music Appreciation. These classes arise from the conviction that music can and should be accessible to all. I seek to facilitate a deepening in our intuitive response to music as well as to support the group in exploring the cultural and historical background to music in a way that I hope to be approachable and clear. People come to the group from different backgrounds – some are completely new to ‘music appreciation’ while others may sing in choirs or be experienced listeners. What we share is a love of music and a willingness to learn from each other’s perspectives. The sessions will include cultural/ theoretical background, musical examples, group/ paired discussion, and more. Come and join us! You can read some testimonials from previous class members here.


I will be offering classes in Stroud in the near future. Please sign up here to register your interest.


I teach termly Tuesday morning sessions in north-west Bristol, 10.30am to 12.30pm exploring themed aspects of music. Please sign up to receive updates about future classes

Previous classes

Music and Spirituality (spring 2019)

“Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life.” (Beethoven)

This term we will explore the rich interconnection between music and spirituality throughout the ages.

Part of our term will examine some of the changing attitudes to ‘sacred music’ in Europe through the ages and how this has affected the history of music. We will touch on a rich and varied selection of music from this tradition including Gregorian chant, Monteverdi, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, John Tavener and Arvo Pärt, an exploration of what inspired some of the masterpieces of European ‘sacred music’ and an opportunity to notice how it speaks to us today.

Our journey will also explore how important music is in other cultural traditions of spirituality. Does it matter as we listen how rooted we are in a particular culture or belief system? We will have a chance to explore how we experience and respond to it. Can music evoke something awe-inspiring and numinous that takes us beyond ourselves, or deeper into ourselves?


Music and Nature (autumn 2018)

How have composers been inspired by the natural world?  Exploring a themed selection of music that for me evokes the beauty and power of nature. We’ll look at how the music touches us, and ask the question of whether we need to know what the composer had in mind for it to speak to us.

Our play-list will include music inspired by flowers, trees, times of day, forests, mountains, rivers, the sea.

‘A Ringing Sweet Melody Rises on High’
(Heinrich Heine, Evening Song no. 2) – Spring 2018
What makes a melody beautiful and singable? Some composers have a gift for writing
soaring, memorable and touching melodies, both in their songs and in their instrumental
music. This term we will focus on melody as we explore some well ­known pieces including Schubert’s Trout Quintet, Winterreise, Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet, Chopin Nocturnes, as well as music by Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Brahms and Liszt. We will trace how the German lied came into being and blossomed in Schubert and Brahms, how voice and intrument(s) interact with each other, and how composers have brought the soaring expressive lines of song into their chamber and instrumental music.

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