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Introduction to Music Appreciation

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  • 16
  • 42
    Exams &
  • 10
    average time
  • 1.0
  • 1,163
    have taken this course

Course Description

Music shapes and is shaped by our lives. Learn and appreciate the history of music.

A well-rounded study of music appreciation begins with basic elements of music.  Knowing the basic elements of music will aid any music listener in developing a working vocabulary for discussing music, determining different qualities of music, and evaluating a composer or performer's choices with a composition.  These elements can then be applied when presented with a new piece or even genre of music.  Jazz, for example, is a genre of music started in the United States within the African-American culture, using syncopated rhythms of African music, call-and-response forms used in slave songs and spirituals, and European musical influences.  This unique blend of music origins still accounts for new developments and experiments in jazz music today.

We will also study how Classical music has changed since the days of Beethoven and Brahms.  The twentieth century contained a rich tradition of new styles and brilliant new composers from Europe and the United States.  Visionaries such as Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel set the stage for the early twentieth century with new ideas, and Arnold Schoenberg ushered in the Modern era in 1945 with his revolutionary sound. 

Finally, we will review the myriad contributions to the musical repertoire from non-Western regions, including Sub-Saharan Africa, India, and Japan.  Both European and American music have been greatly influenced by these regions and the history of these musical styles are both diverse and enlightening. 

Students in this course will have the opportunity to sample many kinds of music, from the Gregorian Chants of the Middle Ages to the song that currently occupies the #1 spot on Billboard's Hot 100 Chart. You will learn such things as:

  • Who wrote the heart-stopping movie music that accompanies the teenage girl going into the dark basement at midnight?


  • Who thought of the call-and-response cadences that keep the infantry marching?


  • Who developed the Big Band beat that makes us want to get up and dance?


  • How did the sailors on tall ships use music to work together as they hauled the long lines?


  • What songs helped escaping slaves find their way north?


  • How did 16th century music find its way to the top of the popularity charts in the 1980s?


  • How did a fire bring about the first Broadway musical?


  • How did singing together change people's hearts and minds during the Civil Rights movement?


Join today and learn about the composers and performers whose music has provided the soundtrack for our lives.

  • Completely Online
  • Self-Paced
  • 6 Months to Complete
  • 24/7 Availability
  • Start Anytime
  • PC & Mac Compatible
  • Android & iOS Friendly
  • Accredited CEUs
Universal Class is an IACET Accredited Provider

Course Lessons

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"Extraordinarily Helpful"
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Lesson 1: Basic Elements of Music

Sound characteristics of music help the brain determine that what it hears is music, but elements of music can also be analyzed by the brain to evaluate its quality and experiences. 39 Total Points
  • Complete Assignment: An Introduction
  • Complete: Lesson 1 Assignment
  • Complete: Lesson 1 Exam

Lesson 2 : Medieval Music

At the end of this lesson, you will recognize some of the key characteristics, instruments, and composers of medieval music. 39 Total Points
  • Review Article: Introduction to Medieval Music
  • Review Video: Medieval Instruments
  • Take Poll: Music
  • Complete: Lesson 2 Assignment
  • Complete: Lesson 2 Exam

Lesson 3: Renaissance Music

At the end of this lesson, you will recognize some of the key characteristics, instruments, and composers of Renaissance music. 35 Total Points
  • Review 2 Articles: Renaissance Music; The Music of the Renaissance
  • Complete: Lesson 3 Assignment
  • Complete: Lesson 3 Exam

Lesson 4: Baroque Music

At the end of this lesson, you will recognize some of the key characteristics and composers of Baroque music. 140 Total Points
  • Review 2 Articles: Bach; Baroque Music
  • Complete Assignment: Bach Music
  • Complete: Lesson 4 Assignment
  • Complete: Lesson 4 Exam

Lesson 5: Classical Music

At the end of this lesson, you will recognize some of the characteristics and composers of the Classical period in music. 39 Total Points
  • Review 4 Articles: Joseph Haydn; Ludwig van Beethoven; The Classical Period; The Mozart Project
  • Take Poll: Composer
  • Complete: Lesson 5 Assignment
  • Complete: Lesson 5 Exam

Lesson 6: The Romantic Period

By the end of this lesson, you will recognize some of the composers and musical styles of the Romantic Period. 140 Total Points
  • Review 2 Articles: Romantic Period Music; The Romantic Era
  • Complete Assignment: Listening to Music
  • Complete: Lesson 6 Assignment
  • Complete: Lesson 6 Exam

Lesson 7: Classical (Pre-modern) Music, 1900-1945

The 20th century ushered in some of the most important and exciting changes in music. 35 Total Points
  • Complete: Lesson 7 Assignment
  • Complete: Lesson 7 Exam

Lesson 8: Classical (Modern) Music, 1945 to Present

The second half of the 20th century saw an even more varied style of classical music, incorporating many styles, such as serialism and minimalism. 35 Total Points
  • Complete: Lesson 8 Assignment
  • Complete: Lesson 8 Exam

Lesson 9: Jazz, 1890 to 1945

Jazz has an honorary place in American music as being one of the first forms of music to be developed in the United States. 135 Total Points
  • Complete Assignment: Jazz Music
  • Complete: Lesson 9 Assignment
  • Complete: Lesson 9 Exam

Lesson 10: Jazz, 1945 to Present

Individual jazz musicians continued to push the boundaries of jazz, and a new style of jazz developed called bebop. 35 Total Points
  • Complete: Lesson 10 Assignment
  • Complete: Lesson 10 Exam

Lesson 11: Opera Part One

At the end of this lesson, you will recognize some of the forms and composers of opera. 40 Total Points
  • Review 2 Articles: Ballad Operas; The History of Opera
  • Complete: Lesson 11 Assignment
  • Complete: Lesson 11 Exam

Lesson 12: Opera: Part Two

At the end of this lesson, you will recognize some of the voice classifications, performers, and venues of opera. 140 Total Points
  • Review 2 Articles: Opera Composers; Pavarotti
  • Take Poll: Opera
  • Complete Assignment: Your Favorites
  • Complete: Lesson 12 Assignment
  • Complete: Lesson 12 Exam

Lesson 13: Broadway Musical Theatre

At the end of this lesson, you will be familiar with some of the composers and performers who made Broadway music part of our collective culture. 140 Total Points
  • Review 2 Articles: Broadway History; Vaudeville
  • Complete Assignment: Broadway Music
  • Complete: Lesson 13 Assignment
  • Complete: Lesson 13 Exam

Lesson 14: Pop Music

At the end of this lesson, participants will be familiar with some early iconic composers and performers of popular music in America. 140 Total Points
  • Review Article: 50 Moments that Shaped Pop
  • Complete Assignment: Pop Music
  • Complete: Lesson 14 Assignment
  • Complete: Lesson 14 Exam

Lesson 15: Folk Music

At the end of this lesson, participants will be familiar with some of the origins, formats, and performers of American folk music. 138 Total Points
  • Review 2 Articles: Folk Music; Shanties and Sea Songs
  • Complete Assignment: Music Choice
  • Complete: Lesson 15 Assignment
  • Complete: Lesson 15 Exam

Lesson 16: Non-Western Music

Non-Western music is a diverse tradition that reflects the history, development, and characteristics of some of the world's most populous nations. 255 Total Points
  • Take Poll: What is your opinion of this course?
  • Take Survey: Program Evaluation Follow-up Survey (End of Course)
  • Complete Assignment: Final Thoughts
  • Complete Assignment: New Things
  • Complete: Lesson 16 Exam
  • Complete: The Final Exam
Total Course Points

Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  • Describe basic elements of music.
  • Identify medieval music.
  • Identify renaissance music.
  • Identify baroque music.
  • Identify classical music.
  • Know the romantic period in music.
  • Know classical (pre-modern) music, 1900-1945 and modern classic music (1945-present).
  • Identify, recognize and describe jazz music.
  • Recognize opera music.
  • Recognize and identify pop music, folk music, and non-western music, and
  • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.

Additional Course Information

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Document Your CEUs on Your Resume
Course Title: Introduction to Music Appreciation
Course Number: 8900277
Languages: English - United States, Canada and other English speaking countries
Course Type: General Education (Self-Paced, Online Class)
CEU Value: 1.0 IACET CEUs (Continuing Education Units)
CE Accreditation: Universal Class, Inc. has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).
Grading Policy: Earn a final grade of 70% or higher to receive an online/downloadable CEU Certification documenting CEUs earned.
Assessment Method: Lesson assignments and review exams
Instructor: Nancy Fillip
Syllabus: View Syllabus
Duration: Continuous: Enroll anytime!
Course Fee: $50.00 (no CEU Certification) || with Online CEU Certification: $75.00

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Student Testimonials

  • "Great course. Great instructor. Assignments and quizzes/tests were all graded in a timely manner with helpful feedback." -- Faith L.
  • "The instructor was very helpful to complete the course. Thank you very much." -- Toru H.
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