What differentiates a ‘musician’ from other professions? Most musicians will probably answer without hesitation: a course of studies that may last more than 15 years. Even after graduating from a university and receiving a degree, a musician has to dedicate a few hours every day to practicing. And it is not only about playing a music instrument but about the need to extend personal horizons in the spheres of music, art, technologies and music industry in general.
Luckily, today there are a lot of opportunities to obtain the necessary information. One of such opportunities is the initiative of a group of universities aimed at making music education free and accessible to as many people as possible. Within this initiative, the universities have prepared a number of online courses that allow the necessary knowledge from various spheres of music art to be learned within a short period of time. The courses are available in English. To participate, one needs an Internet-connected computer and, of course, dedication and spare time.
The world-known Berklee College of Music is among the educational establishments supporting this idea. (By the way, some of the modern show-biz stars who graduated from Berklee include Alan Silvestri, Diana Krall, Al Di Meola and PSY, whose video “Gangnam Style” was the first to receive over 1 000 000 000 YouTube views). Among the up-coming online courses from Berklee are “Songwriting” and “Introduction to Music Production”. College teachers will prepare a set of video-lectures and quizzes and will reply to all the questions that interest you. Participants have the opportunity to create music works and receive gradings.
The University of Rochester organizes an online course “History of Rock, Part Two”. This is the second part of the same-named course, which focuses on the period 1970 – end of the last century. The course consists of 8-12-minute video-lectures, tests and a final exam. Participants who have successfully completed the course will receive a confirmation certificate signed by a professor.
August will see a course prepared by the University of North Carolina, dedicated to organizing rehearsals for a music ensemble – “Fundamentals of Rehearsing Music Ensembles”. Among the topics planned: choice of repertoire, studying and analyzing music pieces, rehearsals planning, developing a musical ear, ensemble guiding, musicians’ coordination.
Those who are interested in applying modern technologies in music should turn their attention to the topics of “Music Technology Overview” (Georgia Institute of Technology) and “Introduction to Programming for Musicians and Digital Artists” (California Institute of the Arts). The latter is interesting as it is using the programming language ChucK created in 2003. Among its features are the possibility of music synthesis and real-time device managing. The video-lectures will involve material from the language creator Dr. Perry R. Cook (Princeton University) and Dr. Ge Wang (Stanford University).
At the beginning of September, one of the most prestigious USA conservatories – Curtis Institute of Music – invites you to take part in the course “Exploring Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas”. In its course, 32 sonatas by the great composer will be analyzed from the point of view of performer. The course’s creators are inviting everyone who is interested in Beethoven’s music, regardless of the educational level.
As a conclusion to this overview, we’d like to add that all the courses are FREE and are organized by the portal coursera.org.