(Once-off events of one OR two hours)

  1. HOW TO LISTEN TO CLASSICAL MUSIC – to enhance your understanding and appreciation

(With musical illustrations)

Joseph Conrad, in his essay The Conditions of Art, wrote:

The Artist…speaks to our capacity for delight and wonder, to the sense of mystery surrounding our lives; to our sense of pity, and beauty, and pain; to the latent feeling of fellowship with all creation – to the subtle but invincible conviction of solidarity that knits together the loneliness of innumerable hearts, to the solidarity of dreams, in joy, in sorrow, in aspirations, in illusions, in hope, in fear, which binds people to each other, which binds together all humanity – the dead to the living, and the living to the unborn.

Understanding Classical music requires certain perceptual skills – techniques for listening that enable us to understand what the composers wished to communicate. Once acquired, these skills greatly enhance our understanding of, and pleasure in, the great musical works of our Western heritage.

In this interactive workshop we learn how to listen out for key elements in music that will deepen our understanding of this mercurial art form, thereby enhancing our appreciation of it.

The great American composer, Aaron Copland, believed that there are three levels of listening to music: the sensuous plane, the expressive plane, and the musical plane.

I also like to add the aspects of each composer’s era, geographical location, and personal story, and the form of his musical composition and why he or she wrote it.

These are some of the tools we shall use to reveal the hitherto hidden depths in music, and vastly improve our understanding of it.



  1. HOW TO READ A PAINTING – hidden clues and secret messages

(With PowerPoint slide presentation)

The understanding of the art of the past requires certain perceptual skills – techniques for looking and listening that enable us to understand what the artists wished to communicate. Once acquired, these skills greatly enhance our understanding of, and pleasure in, great works of art.

In this workshop we explore the various significant details clearly depicted or partly visible in paintings, including themes and motifs, and come to understand their symbolic significance.


(With musical illustrations)

This interactive workshop is designed to assist and encourage those just becoming familiar with Classical music to make wise choices for their initial collection of CD’s. Lists of the basic Classical music repertoire, and of the lesser-known contemporaries of the great composers, are provided.

We also discuss the issue of interpretation, with respect both to the wise choice of recordings, and the purchasers’ personal preferences, for that is the disc with which they will have to live. We listen to different interpretations of the same work, played by different groups and led by different conductors. Participants are invited to offer their personal opinions thereof, and lively debate is encouraged.



(With musical illustrations)

The purpose of this interactive workshop is to clarify the meaning of music, to demystify, and uncover the MAGIC.

We begin with a lively exploration of the definition of music – the “science of sound.” The participants’ attention is drawn to the issues of aesthetics, acoustics, biography, interpretation, and our different responses to the dramatic and emotional content of music.

We continue with an examination of the elements of music – the “arrangement of sounds”: the melody (“major” and “minor”), harmony, rhythm and texture.

A short explanation of music theory is provided – how it is written down – including a brief history of the fascinating craft of musical notation.

We continue with an explanation of the basic forms in which music is structured, from the smallest figures, motives and phrases, to sonata form, the fugue, the concerto, chamber musical forms and larger choral and orchestral forms.

Lists for these subjects are provided, as well as a comprehensive list of the principal musical terms generally found in concert programmes and on CD covers.



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