Music is the heart beat of the world, and a type of art that transcends all cultural differences. People from all walks of life come together to enjoy music during concerts, festivals and works of art. On a regular basis, music is the backdrop of activity. Students hoping to learn about music will enjoy gaining information on the history, cultural effects, genres and notable contributions to music. These contributions are continuous, but going back to the beginning provides a foundation to learning music.
The Open University offers music courses
, and on this page you can find various resource links to external websites.
The creation of music dates back to prehistoric times, as archaeologists have unearthed drums, pipes and other instruments that set the tone for instruments still used today. The history of music has been divided into significant eras, including ancient music, medieval music, the renaissance, classical era and romantic era. Each era is noted for its style of music, which commonly reflects the tone of society at that time. Music has always reflected life, and a glance at its history exemplifies that point.
Without question, eras are defined by the musicians who paved the way. Regardless of era or genre, music history students can point to an influential artist who set trends that were followed. One cannot study music without studying the lives of famous musicians. Some contributed with instruments, while others lent their voice.
Classical music is widely considered the foundation for modern music. Classical composers are revered as some of the best ever to lay hands to an instrument, and people who take voice and piano lessons typically receive a strong base in classical music. Classical composers stem back to the Renaissance era, which ranged from 1400 to 1600, and include contemporary classical artists, who gained notoriety in the 20th century and beyond. These composers have played a large role in shaping the history of music.
The Greatest – The New York Times offers a list of the 10 greatest classical composers of all time.
Introduction to Composers and Their Works – This classical music site features chronological lists, composer timelines and bios of the best musicians.
52 Composers – Music students can browse profiles, music samples and information from the greatest classical composers.
Teaching children about music
Studies indicate that children involved in music test higher and have an easier time learning. Playing classical music while studying has also been shown to improve focus and clarity. Parents should strive to introduce their children to music from an early age, so that they gain an appreciation for it. Whether the child hopes to play an instrument or just learn more about the art form, these resources are valuable.
No matter what type of music a person enjoys, there is something for everybody. Genres tend to give birth to other genres, and continuously progress throughout the years. Each genre features stark characteristics and traits that make them unique. Students should become familiar with the popular genres which have been mainstays over the course of music history.
When discussing musical genres, one must look at the instruments used. Certain music genres are noteworthy because of their heavy use of a certain instrument. Instruments are broken into certain categories, including percussion, brass, woodwind and string. When studying music history, gaining an understanding of the instruments is essential.