Free Online Music History and Appreciation Courses from Top Universities

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Just about everybody likes music, and taking a college course about a music genre you love can be fun and insightful. But don't pay to appreciate music, try these courses out instead!
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Free Music History and Appreciation Courses

Here are 19 online music history and appreciation courses offered free by two top universities: the Open University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

MIT's Opencourseware contains numerous music courses. Many courses focus either on specific composers or time periods. For example, Early Music explores the 2,000 years of documented music-making before 1680, while Modern Music explores Western concert music for the first 60 years of the 20th century.

The Open University

The Open University offers three courses for music lovers. Schubert's Lieder: Settings of Goethe's Poems teaches students about the Lieder genre of music through German poems set to music by the composer, Schubert. Introduction to Western Music covers modernist, romantic, classical and baroque styles for less familiar students.

Free Online Music History and Appreciation Courses at a Glance

Course & SchoolProgram LevelFormatAssignmentsQuizzes & ExamsDownloadable
Early Music course from MITUndergraduateLecture Notes/Video LecturesYesYesYes
Modern Music: 1900-1960 course from MITUndergraduateText LessonsYesNoYes
Introduction to Western Music course from MITUndergraduateText LessonsYesNoYes
Schubert to Debussy course from MITUndergraduateExternal Reading/Listening ResourcesYesYesYes
Music Since 1960 course from MITUndergraduateExternal Reading/Listening ResourcesYesYesYes
Popular Musics of the World course from MITUndergraduateExternal Reading/Listening ResourcesYesNoYes
Introduction to World Music course from MITUndergraduateExternal Reading/Listening ResourcesYesYesYes
Symphony and Concerto course from MITUndergraduateExternal Reading/Listening ResourcesNoYesYes
Music of India course from MITUndergraduateTextbookYesNoYes
Music of Africa course from MITUndergraduateExternal Reading ResourcesYesNoYes
Gödel, Escher, Bach: A Mental Space Odyssey course from MITHigh School level Videos/Lecture NotesNoNoNo
Issues of Representation: Women, Representation, and Music in Selected Folk Traditions of the British Isles and North America course from MITGraduateExternal Reading ResourcesYesNoYes
History of Media and Technology: Sound, the Minority Report -- Radical Music of the Past 100 Years course from MITGraduateExternal Reading ResourcesYesNoYes
Introduction to Anglo-American Folk Music course from MITUndergraduateExternal Reading ResourcesYesNoYes
Schubert's Lieder: Settings of Goethe's Poems course from Open UniversityIntermediateText LessonsYesNoYes
Reception of Music in Cross-Cultural Perspective course from Open UniversityAdvancedText LessonsYesNoYes
Revolutions in Sound Recording course from Open UniversityBeginnerText LessonsYesNoYes

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Featured Schools

The schools and programs listed below are popular educational options, and tuition varies based on program and location

Full Sail University

  • B.S. - Music Production
  • B.S. - Music Business

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Regent University

  • Master of Arts in Communication - Media & Arts Management and Promotion

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Indiana Wesleyan University

  • B.S. General Studies - Fine Arts
  • A.S. General Studies - Fine Arts

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Penn Foster High School

  • HS Diploma

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