Music Appreciation: Learn more about the music you love

The Royal Conservatory offers a diverse variety of Music Appreciation sessions with world class leading musical experts. Join our students and explore many musical genres in a fun and engaging environment. Select sessions include live performances and special ticket offers. For additional information and to register, click the links below or call (416) 408-2824 x363.

To receive email updates about special ticket offers, discounts on upcoming sessions, and free music appreciation events, join the Music Appreciation Email List (music.appreciation@rcmusic.ca).

Winter Sessions | Spring Sessions


Winter 2017 Music Appreciation Sessions

 

Staging Myth and Mayhem in Wagner's RingStaging Myth and Mayhem in Wagner's Ring
4-week series
Instructor: Wayne Gooding
Tuesdays, 10:00am -12:00pm
Jan. 10 to Jan. 31
Fee: $215

Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen is unique in opera for the scale of its musical, vocal and theatrical ambitions. In this four-session introduction, we explore the musical and theatrical demands of the Ring cycle through the lens of performance practice from Wagner’s own time to the present day. This course will examine the circumstances of the Ring’s composition, the way it embodies Wagner’s own ideas about music theatre, and how his concept of opera as a “total work of art” has played out right into the age of digital media.

Course fee includes a ticket to the Canadian Opera Company Dress Rehearsal of Gotterdammerung on Monday January 30th at 5 pm.

More info or to register.


 

How Music Works: Part 1 How Music Works: Part 1
10-week series
Instructor: James Stager
Fridays, 12:00pm -1:30pm
Jan 13 - Mar. 31
Fee: $375

If you've always wanted to understand how music "works," this practical series combining guided listening and active participation in basic musicianship exercises is for you. Explore the building blocks of music and how they create the magic of the music you love! For those who have taken this course, check out How Music Works: Part 2 !
More info or to register.


 

How Music Works: Part 2 How Music Works: Part 2
10-week series
Instructor: James Stager
Fridays, 10:00am -11:30am
Jan. 13 - Mar. 31
Fee: $375

A continuation of How Music Works, this series will explore a wide variety of musical genres spanning the centuries. This course will draw connections between these diverse genres by looking at works by an eclectic list of composers and groups from Monteverdi, Bach and Mozart to Duke Ellington, Leonard Bernstein and Radiohead.
More info or to register.


 

I Play As I Feel: The Music of Oscar Peterson "I Play As I Feel": The Music of Oscar Peterson
6-week series
Instructor: Mark Micklethwaite
Wednesdays, 7:00pm -9:00pm
Feb. 1 - Mar. 8
Fee: $295

Join instructor Mark Micklethwaite as he uncovers the creative life of Canadian music legend, Oscar Peterson. One lesson will be comprised of a concert featuring Micklethwaite and other Canadian jazz artists.
More info or to register.


 

The Great North American Popular Songbook The Great North American Popular Songbook
4-week series
Instructor: Peteris Zarins
Thursdays, 10:00am -12:00pm
Feb.2 - Feb.23
Fee: $245

What constitutes a great song? And what then constitutes a Great North American Popular Song? Learn about the influences from the remarkable tunesmiths and witty lyricists of Tin Pan Alley and Broadway in this fascinating series on the history of popular music and song.
More info or to register.


 

The Franco-Flemish Golden AgeThe Franco-Flemish Golden Age: The History and Art of Polyphony
4-week series
Instructor: Katherine Hill
Tuesdays, 10:00am -12:00pm
Feb. 7 - Feb. 28
Fee: $195

In collaboration with The Toronto Consort, this four-week series will explore the origins and development of part-music, or polyphony, in western Europe, allowing participants to gain deeper insight into the forms, functions and undeniable glories of the Franco-Flemish style. Fee includes a ticket to the Toronto Consort's production of Triptych on March 3rd and 4th, 2017. This concert will uncover the musical world of Hieronymous Bosch and it features guest ensemble, Capella Pratensis from Belgium.
More info or to register.


 

The Music of the Russian BalletThe Music of the Russian Ballet
4-week series
Instructor: Rick Phillips
Wednesdays, 10:00am -12:00pm
Feb. 8 - Mar. 1
Fee: $195

When we think of great ballet music, Swan Lake, Romeo & Juliet and the Firebird come easily to mind. These masterpieces are often staged by major ballet companies around the world. Join Rick Phillips as he explores the artistry and composition behind some of the greatest ballet music written by Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev and Stravinsky.
More info or to register.


 

The Piano Sonatas By Beethoven The Piano Sonatas by Beethoven
10-week series
Instructor: Rick Phillips
Wednesdays, 1:00pm -3:00pm
Feb. 8 to Apr. 19
Fee: $445

Join Rick Phillips on a detailed guide through Beethoven's 32 Piano Sonatas. Discover how Beethoven used his compositional skills to push the limits and boundaries of the instrument.
More info or to register.


 

The Music of Gustav Mahler "My Time Will Come": The Music of Gustav Mahler
10-week series
Instructor: Rick Phillips
Tuesdays, 1:00pm -3:00pm
Feb. 14 - Apr. 25
Fee: $445

The music of Gustav Mahler was not appreciated during his lifetime, causing him to remark "My time will come." This series will serve as an introduction to Mahler's musical world.
More info or to register.


 

Score to Sound: The Brandenburg Concertos Score to Sound: The Brandenburg Concertos
6-week series
Instructor: Dr. Hannah French
Tuesdays, 7:00pm -9:00pm
Mar. 7 - Apr. 11
Fee: $295

Each week of this series will focus on a specific concerto introducing basic elements of the score (whether you read music or not), recorded performances, and discussion on both the historical context and the challenges they pose for performers and listeners today.
More info or to register.


Spring 2017 Music Appreciation Sessions

 

The 10-Minute Musical The Ten Minute Musical
8-week series
Instructors: Kyra Millan & Cathy Nosaty
Mondays, 7:00pm-9:00pm
Mar. 20 - May 8
Fee: $395

Learn how to create, rehearse, and perform an original musical! In this series, participants will work to make their own production of approximately 10 minutes with 3 -6 original songs. This series will contain all of the aspects of the creative process including drama exercises, improvisation exercises, vocal warm-ups, story creation, character development and music composition techniques.
More info or to register.


 

Harry Somers: Louis Riel Canadian Composers: Harry Somers' Louis Riel
4-week series
Instructor: Dr. Rea Beaumont
Thursdays, 6:30pm-8:30pm
Mar 23 - Apr 13
Fee: $215

Gain insight into Canada's most important opera Louis Riel, written by twentieth-century Canadian composer Harry Somers with libretto by Mavor Moore and Jacques Languirand. Discover the composer's unusual approach to the opera idiom, the structure and purpose of the work, its history, and the controversies surrounding it. This series includes a ticket to the Canadian Opera Company dress rehearsal of Louis Riel on Monday April 17th at 7:30pm at The Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.
More info or to register.


 

How Music Works: Beatles How Music Works: The Beatles
8-week series
Instructor: James Stager
Tuesdays, 7:30pm-9:00pm
Mar. 28 - May 16
Fee: $300

The Beatles were perhaps the most influential popular music group of the twentieth century, providing not only the soundtrack to the 1960s but producing an output that continued to reverberate long after their final work in 1970. From Please Please Me to Let It Be, this series will examine iconic songs from throughout the group's career from the standpoint of melody, harmony, arrangement, lyrical content and studio production.
More info or to register.


 

Mozart: Mass in C Minor Mozart: The Mass in C Minor - Unfinished but not Incomplete
2-week series plus concert
Instructor: Rick Phillips
Thursdays, 1:00-3:00pm
Apr. 13 - Apr. 20
Fee: $150

Although the Mass in C Minor by Mozart was left unfinished, it remains a frequently-performed choral work, containing a wide range, variety and depth of musical expression, and illustrating the skill and craft of Mozart at the peak of his creative powers. This 2-week series, uncovering this masterpiece, is linked with Tafelmusik's production of the Mozart Mass in C Minor conducted by Ivars Taurins in Koerner Hall from May 4 - 7, 2017.
More info or to register.


 

Keys Composers Choose: An Exploration Keys Composers Choose: An Exploration
5-week series
Instructor: Clayton Scott
Thursdays, 10:00am-12:00pm
Apr. 13 -May 11
Fee: $245

Have you ever wondered why composers choose the keys they do, or why they continually return to the same keys? What do composers want to express by using their favourite keys? What does it mean when Beethoven writes in E flat major, C minor or C major? Or Mozart in G minor? This series will immerse you in the sound and meaning of individual keys. You will learn to "tune" your ears to the sparkle of G major, the tenderness of D flat major, and the sorrow of F minor. Each week will be an exploration and celebration of a particular key or keys, and of the composers who loved to use them.
More info or to register.


 

Simply Brill Simply Brill': Great Songs of the 1960s
8-week series
Instructor: Jordan Klapman
Thursdays, 7:00pm -9:00pm
Apr. 13 - Jun. 1
Fee: $395

Simply Brill' is an eight-week musical lecture series celebrating the popular hit songs created by young Jewish-American songwriters working in and around Manhattan's famous Brill building. We will enjoy listening to dozens of their hit recordings, and learn about the fascinating background of many of the great Brill songwriters of the Sixties: Carole King, Neil Sedaka, Burt Bacharach, Leiber and Stoller, Phil Spector, Doc Pomus, Barry Mann, Ellie Greenwich... and many others who launched stellar careers from the cramped cubicles of the Brill Building.
More info or to register.


 

Score to Sound: The British Proms Score to Sound: Discovering the BBC Proms
6-week series
Instructor: Dr. Hannah French
Tuesdays, 7:00pm- 9:00pm
Apr. 18 - May 23
Fee: $295

Explore the colourful history of "The World's Greatest Classical Music Festival" with BBC Proms TV presenter, Dr Hannah French. How did the Proms start, and why is it still going strong more than 120 years later? From the premieres of new works, to iconic conductors, and of course the famous Last Night of the Proms, this six-week series will delve into the social and musical history of the institution through objects, photographs, eyewitness accounts, programmes, scores, and recordings.
More info or to register.


 

Canada's Music Mosaic Canada's Music Mosaic
6-week series
Instructor: Members of the New Canadian Global Music Orchestra
Thursdays, 1:00pm - 3:00pm
Apr. 20 - May 25
Fee: $295

What is Canadian music in 2017? Who are the musicians who create and perform it? In collaboration with The New Canadian Global Music Orchestra, this series aims to explore and celebrate the cultural diversity of musicians in Toronto, and the challenges they face in today’s world. The New Canadian Global Music Orchestra is an ensemble of 12 musicians. Eleven members of the ensemble have immigrated to Canada from various parts of the world, and one member is a Metis artist, who represents the bridge honoring the Indigenous Canadian musical traditions and welcoming new ones. Together they are creating brand new works for their unique assortment of traditional instruments from their countries of origin, and on June 2nd they will be performing in Koerner Hall. This six-week series will include an interview of two musicians from the ensemble each week, along with musical demonstrations. Tuition includes a ticket to the New Canadian Global Music Orchestra concert on June 2, 2017.
More info or to register.


 

Joyful Noise: The Sacred Choral Works of Antonin Dvorak Joyful Noise: The Sacred Choral Works of Antonin Dvorak
5-week series
Instructor: John Holland
Fridays, 10:00am-12:00pm
Apr. 21 - May 19
Fee: $245

The music of Antonín Dvorák contains some of the most beautiful melodies of all time within works such as the Slavonic Dances, New World Symphony, and Cello Concerto, but the melodies of his vocal, choral, and operatic works are virtually unknown to North American listeners. As a founding composer in the Czech Nationalist movement, Dvorák was instrumental in helping to establish the Czech National Opera program. Join instructor John Holland as you look beyond the "Song to the Silver Moon", and explore the sacred choral works of Dvorák. Discover these musical gems through recordings, score examples, and live performances.
More info or to register.


 

The Roots of Venetian Opera The Roots of Venetian Opera
4-week series
Instructor: Katherine Hill
Tuesdays, 10:00am-12:00pm
May 2 -May 23
Fee: $195

This four-week course will first trace the initial conditions and innovations that brought opera into being, including the influence of the Florentine Camerata and the genius of Claudio Monteverdi. This background will permit a more in-depth look at the artists (particularly composer Francesco Cavalli), impresarios, sub-cultures and politics which contributed to the grandeur and immense popularity of mid-seventeenth-century Venetian opera.
More info or to register.


 

Frederic Chopin Frederic Chopin: Polish Patriot, Passionate Pianist
3-week series
Instructor: Rick Phillips
Wednesdays, 10:00am-12:00pm
May 10 - May 24
Fee: $150

Composing and performing just as the piano was coming of age, the piano music by Chopin clearly expressed the ideals of the burgeoning 19th century Romantic period - passionate, dramatic, emotional and virtuosic. Join Rick Phillips for an in-depth study of Chopin's greatest works for piano.
More info or to register.


* A 10% discount will be applied automatically at checkout for students who are enrolled concurrently in any of the following Royal Conservatory School music classes: Individual Instruction, Group Classes, Learn to Play/Sing, Small Ensemble, Theory and History.

Photo credits:  The Unknown Vivaldi: Scott Rettberg; The Music of The Russian Ballet: Public Domain; The Art of Opera: Wagner: Josef Hoffmann; The Nuts and Bolts of Music Theory: Rachel Johnson; How Music Works Part 1: Stuart Lowe; How Music Works Part 2: Stuart Lowe; The Music of Oscar Peterson:Public Domain; The Great North American Popular Songbook: Ellgaard Holger; The Franco-Flemish Golden Age: WGA; The Piano Sonatas by Beethoven: Elliott Billings; The Music of Mahler: Walter Anton; Score to Sound: The Brandenburg Concertos: Nobbi P.;The Ten Minute Musical: Randy Lemoine; Harry Somers' Louis Riel: Public Domain; How Music Works-The Beatles: Public Domain; Mozart- The Mass in C Minor: Pedro Sanchez; Keys Composers Choose: Rachel Johnson; Simply Brill- Great Songs of the 1960s: American Studio, 1960; Score to Sound-Discovering the BBC Proms: Amanda Slater; Canada's Music Mosaic: Nicola Betts; Joyful Noise: The Sacred Choral Works of Antonin Dvorak: Public Domain; Roots of Venetian Opera: Public Domain; Frederic Chopin- Polish Patriot, Passionate Pianist: Elliot Billings