Centre for Continuing Education

Exploring Music Course: Understanding the Concerto

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.

What is a concerto? Since the 17th century, the concerto has been one of the most popular genres of classical music, combining the virtuosity of a soloist with the glorious power of an orchestra. Learning more about concertos can enrich and deepen your enjoyment of some very exciting and beautiful music.

This music course aims to enhance your understanding and appreciation of great concertos, by guiding you through the structure and experience of the genre, and familiarising you with its history and development. We will listen to music by Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, Tchaikovsky and others.


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

  • describe the basic structure of a concerto
  • list some great concertos
  • describe briefly the development of the concerto.


Topics we will cover:

  • what is a concerto
  • what is a concerto for
  • the structure of a concerto
  • the origins of the concerto
  • the Baroque concerto: three types of concerto
  • the Orchestral Concerto
  • the Solo Concerto
  • the Concerto Grosso
  • Ritornello Form
  • the Classical concerto: Haydn and Mozart
  • variations on the concerto form: the Romance and the Sinfonia Concertante
  • Beethoven’s concertos
  • the Romantic concerto: Mendelssohn, Schumann, Chopin, Liszt, Tchaikovsky
  • the Twentieth Century concerto: Rakhmaninov, Elgar, Ravel, Schoenberg, Stravinsky
  • the First Movement: Concerto Sonata Form
  • the Second Movement: Ternary or Song Form
  • the Third Movement: Sonata-Rondo Form.

Music we will listen to:

  • Bach: Brandenburg Concertos
  • Beethoven: Piano Concertos, Violin Concerto
  • Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 2
  • Elgar: Cello Concerto
  • Gershwin: Piano Concerto in F
  • Grieg: Piano Concerto in A Minor
  • Haydn: Trumpet Concerto in E Flat
  • Liszt: Piano Concerto No. 1
  • Mozart: Various concertos for clarinet, bassoon, horn, oboe and piano
  • Rakhmaninov: Piano Concertos
  • Schumann: Cello Concerto
  • Tchaikovsky: Piano Concertos, Violin Concerto
  • Vaughan Williams: Romance for Harmonica and Strings
  • Vivaldi: Piccolo Concerto.

Intended audience

Designed for fans of classical music, beginners and experienced listeners alike. No prior musical knowledge is required.

Delivery style

This course is richly illustrated with musical examples, illustrations and video clips. The tutor 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.


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

What others say.

  • The Tutor is very professional and has a great knowledge of the subject. Importantly, is able to address the learning needs of people who have varying levels of knowledge of the subject. The use of relevant additional resources to aid the process is most effective. I have attended several of these courses and look forward to attending further courses in the future.

  • The Exploring Music lectures are excellent. The presenter knows the subject thoroughly and imparts that knowledge in a manner that is easily understood – at all times being pleasant and professional. I have enjoyed every class and my knowledge of classical music has been enhanced.

  • The tutor was, as always, informative, interesting and fun – making learning a pleasure.

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