Centre for Continuing Education

Exploring Music Course: The Classical Period

Music. Learn, enjoy, appreciate.

COVID-19 update: arrangement of our courses

We are now delivering courses both online and in-person. Please check the delivery format for each class before you enrol.

Please note that course materials for all classes (excluding prescribed textbooks) are shared electronically within 48 hours of a course starting. Printing is not available.

18th century composers believed that music should be understood and appreciated by all, regardless of class or education. It’s little wonder then that the music of this period, composed by such greats as Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, is so popular. This day examines the music of the classical period, its structures and forms, its historical and social context, and its principal composers.

This course is the second of a series of four one-day music courses that will guide you through the main periods of classical music history. Over four Saturdays throughout the year you we will see the progression of music from the richness of the Baroque, through the elegant simplicity of the classical period, the passion and drama of the Romantic period to the mysterious beauty of the Impressionist period.


By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  • list some of the main composers of the Classical period
  • list some music from the Classical period
  • describe some of the musical characteristics of the Classical period.


This course covers the following topics:

  • what is wonderful about music of the Classical period
  • classes and classics: origins of the term 'Classical'
  • social, cultural and historical background: Europe, 1750-1820
  • the art of the Classical period: we look at art and architecture of the times, and see parallel tastes in art and music
  • music genres: of the Classical period: the rise of the concert tradition
  • the beginnings of piano music
  • Mozart’s Rondo Alla Turca
  • Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven
  • compositional techniques: what classical composers were trying to achieve, and how they achieved it
  • Musical characteristics: what to listen for, and how to get more out of music of the Classical period
  • the birth of the symphony
  • Mozart’s Symphony No. 41 'Jupiter'
  • classical concertos: variety and form
  • Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto
  • Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5
  • chamber music of the Classical period: a social occasion
  • Opera in the Classical period: Mozart’s genius
  • Mozart’s Don Giovanni and The Marriage of Figaro
  • choral music in the Classical period
  • Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis
  • Mozart’s Requiem
  • Haydn’s Creation.

Delivery style

This course is richly illustrated with musical examples, artworks and portraits of the times, video clips, and readings from letters and historical documents. The presenter will use the piano to demonstrate musical concepts to the everyday listener. Questions will be encouraged and there will be room for discussion throughout the course.


Handouts are provided in class.


  • Expert trainers
  • Central locations
  • Course materials – yours to keep
  • CCE Statement of Completion

What others say.

  • The tutor is well prepared, well organised and has a wide knowledge of the subject. Congratulations on a very useful and desirable course.

  • The course presenter handled the task of a very varied audience (complete beginners to fairly experienced people) extremely well. Content very interesting and excellent preparation of both notes, sound and slides. I think we came out of the course with much more superior course outcomes than suggested. A very enjoyable day.

What others say.

  • Good mix of information, illustration and allowing for questions. Good structure.
  • The tutor is well prepared, well organised and has a wide knowledge of the subject. Congratulations on a very useful and desirable course.
  • The tutor was excellent and the course handouts were exceptional.
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