Free Stanford Online Course Classical Music Enthusiasts


Learning classical music is now just at the tips of the fingers of any musicians and of those who are vying to be one.

Stanford Online has recently named its latest and entirely free online course, Defining the String Quartet: Haydn,which goal sets on exploring classical music.

In fact, the course has begun on May 17 of this year and is now still open for enrollment.

The classical music course is specifically designed to explore the origins of the string quartet – using the lens of Joseph Haydn, the prominent proponent of such.

The course has been conceptualized for a year and has originated through the efforts of Stephen Hinton and some students of Stanford Continuing Studies.

Course Instructors

The students of this course are privileged to be under the instruction of Stephen Hinton, a German classical music expert and Avalon Foundation professor in the Humanities as well as a music history professor at Stanford.

The members of the renowned St. Lawrence String Quartet, Stanford’s resident ensemble, will also work hand-in-hand with Hinton in this endeavor.

The university’s ensemble has been known to be playing works of Haydn more than any other composer. Each of the quartet’s players is, additionally, a faculty member in Stanford’s Department of Music.

These individuals continue to grow in the field of music pedagogy through experiences in seminars, master classes and interdisciplinary collaborations. More so, they are at an advantage by teaching students coming from several different backgrounds and interests.

Online Course Covers Two Areas of Music

Hinton elaborates that the course primarily covers two main areas of study and is divided into six lessons only. The first area basically tackles the origins of the medium going back to the 17th and 18th century.

The second focuses on the contributions of Haydn, the ‘father of the string quarter’ who has helped shaped classical music history.

Knowledge of Haydn’s compositions will also allow the students to grasp a bigger picture of the formal conventions and aesthetic values that have secured the string quartet a special significance in Western musical culture.

Teaching online, however, is a new experience for both professors and musicians. According to Hinton, it is an entirely different task than just teaching in the four corners of the classroom. Not only does it involve a large team of people, it also requires extensive coordination of workforce.

Music Course Uses New Technology

What is more interesting about this course is the utilization of new technology. A technology developed by Craig Sapp at Stanford’s Center for Computer Assisted Research in the Humanities, proposes a dynamic musical notation that lights up as it plays.

A Stanford musicology doctoral student Victoria Chang, also has developed significant features such as quizzes which test comprehension and knowledge of participants.

The professors and musicians do look forward to producing students who are classical music enthusiasts while making sure that these students are able to learn in their own chosen pace, at their most convenient time, whenever they like it to be.

Not only will the students gain learning, they are also bound to receive a certain statement of accomplishment from Stanford Online, with a citation of entry-level or advanced, dependent on their level of participation and achievement according to the sequence of lessons.

Rob Clark admin staff managing editor

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