Welcome to SPACE, our adult continuing education program which offers interactive monthly courses for personal enrichment! Learn more here.

Music Portal

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A Brief Intro to Opera

This is a brief introduction to a centuries-old art that has been throughout history vulgar and epic, scandalous and high-brow, cultured, and plebeian. Experience the funniest and most ridiculous stories you’ve ever heard, or wallow in the blood and horror of the dark and dramatic. Spend an hour enjoying light entertainment, or have your view of the world changed forever by the deepest human sympathies. If you’ve always wondered about opera, or wanted to try and like it, if you still remember Bugs Bunny in a Valkyrie dress and want to see the source material, come encounter opera in its many forms and journey through this whirlwind of music, lights, glamor, and extravagance.
Precepted by Sarah Monnier

African Musicology for Beginners

There are a lot of misconceptions and misrepresentations about African music. This module analyzes the complex linkages between the art of African music and its connections with culture, heritage, politics, and the environment. In this module you will learn about the different rhythms, multiple instruments used, their meaning, and the impact they have on social relations, identity, and politics. The course also touches on the use of song in folktales, meaning, and impact.
Precepted by Ishmael Bhila

Bach’s Goldberg Variations

The Goldberg Variations is a keyboard work by J. S. Bach considered by many to be one of the greatest musical compositions of all time. In this module, we will listen, analyze and discuss our way through the piece. We will begin with the background to the composition, and study the initial aria and the ground bass that underlies the entire piece. We will then work our way through each of the thirty variations, listening to a couple of performances of each and studying the score. Along the way we will discuss the basics of harmony and counterpoint. Our goal is that you come away with a deeper understanding of this remarkable piece of music and a greater appreciation of the genius of Bach.

Note: Ability to read music is not required for this module!
Precepted by James Tauber

Creative Writing: Tools of the Song Writer

What are the songs that stick in your memory? Are they catchy earworms that have you humming their melodies all day? Are they complicated jazz numbers, where lyrics give place to musical elaboration? Are they ballads, where the story is the thing?

The answer varies from listener to listener, but the great songs of whatever sort have some things in common. We're going to look for these things together, considering the conventions of different genres, poetic styles and their interaction with musical choices, a bit of music theory (that won't hurt a bit, I promise) and arrangement.

Each class session, we will listen to and talk about two or three songs. we'll discuss the choices the song writer(s) made, and how they affect your experience as a listener. We'll also look at how a single song might be interpreted differently by different artists, because performance is an inseparable element of how a song lands.

Students need have no grounding in music theory, or be musicians. All that is required is a love of music, and the desire to learn a little about the song writer's craft, whether that's in aid of becoming a more discerning listener, or because there's a song buried in your soul that you've not yet written.

Note: For more information about the Collaborative Feedback Method in SPACE, please check out our video here.
Precepted by Christopher Bartlett

Japanese Through Lyrics

The goal of this course is to study Japanese by analyzing song lyrics. While there will be an initial list of songs, students will be invited to either choose or vote on songs they would like to analyze (depending on number of students), and then we will spend each class studying the vocabulary and grammar contained in those songs.
Precepted by Sam Roche

Music Theory for the Mathematically-Inclined

Music is often described as mathematical but music theory is rarely taught from this perspective. This course will cover traditional basic music theory but will explore some of the underlying mathematical reasons why music works the way it does. Nothing beyond high school math is required.
Precepted by James Tauber and Sarah Monnier

Scottish Gaelic Song

Using Scottish Gaelic songs to gain a deeper understanding of the language and culture. Covering mouth music, religious music, working music, and ballads.

This course does not require any past experience with Scottish Gaelic. Open to all.

The History of the Symphony: After Beethoven

This module will be a chronological listening tour of the history of the symphony after Beethoven. We will explore the symphony’s subsequent development in the romantic era, and its rethinking in the 20th century. We will listen to some key works together and discuss some of the innovations introduced in those particular works.
Precepted by James Tauber

The History of the Symphony: Beginnings to Beethoven

This module will be a chronological listening tour from the precursors of the symphony in the baroque era to the birth of the symphony in the classical era culminating in the works of Beethoven. We will listen to some key works together and discuss some of the innovations introduced in those particular works.
Precepted by James Tauber

Video Game Studies

Inviting students to share their delight in, and deepen their appreciation of, video games, we will discuss examples of the art, music, gameplay, and story from a range of influential titles. We will introduce and experiment with some of the theoretical frameworks that have been applied to video games as media objects and cultural artifacts. But mostly, we will enjoy learning more about the medium and the games we already love. Aside from links and selections shared throughout the module, Gabrielle Zevin's novel Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow. will be the only required reading.
Precepted by Wesley Schantz
If you have any questions about the SPACE program, please reach out to [email protected].