I hope this isn't a violation of NS rules, so I apologize in advance if it is.
I recently got in the mail a catalogue for the Great Courses, which are college courses in CD, tape, or video casette that don't count as credits or anything. They are just 'for fun'. They have many subjects including two musical courses, The Symphony, and How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, which is the one I will purchase. Many of you probably know all this stuff, but I think if you can understand great music you can make great music!! And it's only $130 for the set of 48 CDs. They had a demo CD with the into to this lesson, and it looked GOOD!!
the website is: www.TEACH12.com
and the phone #: 1-800-TEACH-12 (1-800-832-2412)
Have any of you ever purchased a course from The Teaching Company before? How are they?
I am in no way connected buisnessly to this company, just thought I'd share a great resource. They have an up to 70% off sale to new customers untill September 1st.
I actually have one of them right now! My library has the "How to Listen to and Understand Great Music" on audio CD and video. I've listened to the first few. Although I think the title is . . . well . . . stupid . . . . . . the lecturer is awesome and I've learned a lot from just the first few (I should really keep listening, they're due back in a few weeks ). He makes some very good points about music and in no way did I ever got the sense I was listening to a snobbish music appreciation course.
I wouldn't say the course teaches how to "understand" music . . . but I'm finding it hard to describe what he actually teaches. He definitely goes through quite a lot of the history of music, which I think is interesting whether you're a composer or not. But he also fills the course with examples and small analysises (however that's spelled) of the examples, and even throws in some music theory here and there.
Overall, I'd say it's a great course. However, $130 is quite a lot. If you don't have a library nearby and you have the money, I know you would learn quite a lot. But if you have a library somewhere, you could try to get them to buy it to save you some money.
I also listened to their course on Einstein and Quantum Physics, but it was too confusing for me. I still don't get relativity. I saw the Symphony one at the library too, but haven't tried it out yet.
My wife and I used to travel regularly to conferences here in the States and Europe (once we went around the world in three months and seven conferences). Anyway, for various reasons we don't travel anymore and one of our sources of intellectual stimulation has been the Teaching Company courses. Sometimes it seems that we have almost all of them.
With respect to the music courses, they are uniformly interesting (to me anyway) but vary in breadth and depth. Greenberg can be outrageously funny and is very knowledgeable -- imagine a combination of Styxx and newmewzikboy (who I hope will smile upon the image since it is kindly and respectfully meant) but whether or not his courses would be your cup of tea depends in part on where you are now and what you would like to get out of them.
He provides historical context (sometimes a little, sometimes a lot), and introduces and illustrates musical concepts, sometimes focusing on particular composers, sometimes on particular musical forms. There are many here who might find his approach too general (his audience does after all include non-musicians and non-composers) but particularly if the topic he is covering is one you are not completely familiar with I think you may find his talks to provide a bridge to deeper works. I like to get a qualitative understanding of the forest before diving into the details of the trees and Greenberg is good at providing that.
Thanks, guys. I think I'll go for it. Since I'm only 14 (15 on the 18th--don't forget) and haven't had many years to acquire nearly as much musical skill as you guys, I think it would be good for me and maybe I'll learn enough to feel like I actually know what I'm talking about sometimes!
I'll check out my local library and see which ones they have.
In addition to the courses on music and the history of language which are excellent (I look forward to Styxx's post regarding the great vowel shift) here are links to two courses that I highly recommend:
European History and European Lives (Steinberg's depth of mind is -- no other word will do -- awesome)