Music Appreciation

Music lovers who want to deepen their enjoyment of music can greatly benefit from taking a course in Music Appreciation. Private classes are available under Music Appreciation Talks for Small Groups.
See Individual Instruction for information on classes for small groups and CD annotation

Previous Courses at UBC, SFU and other institutions
Fall 2016 — The Chamber Music Companion
In that series, we looked at five masterpieces of the chamber music repertoire by Mozart, Beethoven (2 string quartets by him), Brahms and Dvorak. Those works were performed live as part of the Friends of Chamber Music series and the Vetta Chamber Music series soon after the class in which I previewed them. We examined some movements in detail and in the process, became acquainted with the most important and prevalent musical forms of the Classical and Romantic periods and helped the student to develop the skill of conscious listening which enriched their musical experience at home and in the concert hall.
Spring 2013 — The Chamber Music Companion and Concert Series
This series of five lectures and three related concerts examined renowned piano quartets of Brahms, Mozart and Schumann. By developing a greater understanding of the constructions employed by these masters, the listener gains a deeper appreciation and enjoyment of the music.
Fall 2011 and Winter 2012 — Masterpieces of the Chamber Music Repertoire
Chamber music is the genre in which great composers throughout music history have written music of great beauty, transparency and intimacy. In this series, we will look at five masterpieces of the chamber music repertoire by Beethoven, Mozart, Mendelssohn, Schumann and Brahms. Keith teaching at Simon Fraser UniversityWe will examine some movements in detail and in the process, become acquainted with the most important and prevalent musical forms of the Classical and Romantic periods. In so doing, you will develop the skill of conscious listening, the application of which can greatly enhance your listening enjoyment at home as well as in the concert hall.
June 2010 — The Music & Life of Robert Schumann, Herald of a New Romantic Age
The year 2010 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of this great composer. In his short and eventful life (only 46 years) he achieved mastery in composition in all genres of music of his time (and created some new ones).In this series of lectures we will hear examples of his work in the genres of symphony, concerto, lied, solo piano music, opera, oratorio, sacred music and chamber music.

His life intersected that of many of the great musicians of his time. He championed the music of many of them (including Mendelssohn, Berlioz and Chopin) through his work as a music critic and editor of a very important music magazine of the time; he was married to the great pianist Clara Schumann and was mentor to the young Johannes Brahms to whose career he gave a most important early boost.

In short, he was a vitally important figure of the early Romantic period in music.
Spring 2010 — Conscious Listening to Classical Music: 4 Easy Pieces in 5 Days
Conscious listening can be a vehicle for a deeper understanding and enjoyment of Classical Music. In this series of lecture/recitals featuring violinist Keith Lawrence and pianist Sarah Bowker (Duo Arcturus) we will develop your conscious listening skills through an exploration of the important musical forms of the Classical and Romantic periods (Ternary form, Sonata [aka SMEDRC] form, Rondo form and Theme and Variations form) using movements from Violin/Piano Sonatas of Schubert, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms and Franck.
Sept 2008 — The Glory of the Violin Concerto
The violin is known as the "King of Instruments." Learn about the history and form of the violin concerto and listen to excerpts from well-known violin concertos by Vivaldi, Bach, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky and Brahms and some lesser-known but very beautiful ones by Wieniawski, Bruch and Shostakovich.
June 2007 — Not Three Pianos! Masterpieces of the Piano Trio Literature
Many of the greatest composers wrote music in this genre (for piano, violin and ‘cello). In this series of lecture/recitals we will play and examine trio movements by Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn and Brahms.
February 2007 — The Violin and Piano Sonata - from Mozart to Cesar Franck
This series of lecture/recitals explores the development of the violin and piano sonata through 100 years of music history. We will examine and play sonata movements by Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Faure’ and Cesar Franck for you.
June 2006 — The Violin and Piano Sonata: Baroque to Romantic
This series of lecture/recitals explores the development of the violin and piano sonata through three eras of music history: the Baroque (Bach), the Classical (Mozart and Beethoven) and the Romantic (Brahms and Cesar Franck). In the process, we learn about the styles and musical forms of each period and have an opportunity to learn how to listen consciously.
June 2004 — Johannes Brahms: Life and Work
Brahms’ symphonies and concertos are well known to lovers of classical music. In this series of talks, we learn about his life and the role played therein by his dear friends Robert and Clara Schumann and the great violin virtuoso Joseph Joachim. We also listen to excerpts from both his famous works and some very beautiful but lesser-known chamber, vocal and choral music.
June 2003 — Masterpieces of Chamber Music
In this series of talks, we explore four great masterpieces of 19th century chamber music: Schubert’s String Quintet in C major, Schumann’s Piano Quintet in E flat major, Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio in D minor and Brahms’ Piano Quartet in C minor. We look at each composer’s life, a couple of movements from each work and their themes and musical forms. A live lunchtime concert on June 4th features the Brahms Piano Quartet.
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Books to Read
The best books, in my opinion are:
"All You Have to Do is Listen", (2008), by Rob Kapilow. Very well-written. It features a website on which you can listen to the musical examples in the text. Knowing how to read music is useful but not essential in using this book. VPL call #780.1 K17a.

"What Makes It Great?: Short Masterpieces, Great Composers", (2011), also by Rob Kapilow. It focuses on short masterpieces by major composers to help you understand the essence of each composer's genius and how each piece-which can be heard on the book's website-transformed the musical language of its time. VPL call #:780.1 K17w.

"What to Listen for in Music", by Aaron Copland, (1957). Very clear and well-written. Lacks recorded musical examples like the two books by Kapilow mentioned above. Paperback available from, Chapters, Amazon, Hager Books etc. VPL call#; 780.1 C78W1.
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This guide is designed to help you find resources for your journey in Music. Includes sections on: books (both about Music Appreciation and specific composers), DVD's, CD-ROMs, on-line resources, library resources, places to buy CD's and scores, etc. Resource Guide PDF

from 2011 lecture/recital series entitled "Masterpieces of the Chamber Music Repertoire"
Simon Fraser University Seniors Program
"This was a very joyful learning class. Mr. Lawrence was an excellent presenter - very well-organized, thoughtful, knowledgeable and very passionate. He inspired me to continue to learn more and practice conscious listening. Keith teaching at Simon Fraser UniversityHis notes contain information that will enable me to continue to learn. I have taken several classes here and his has been the most impressive. Thank you.".

from 2006 lecture/recital series entitled "The Violin and Piano Sonata: Baroque to Romantic"
UBC Continuing Studies
"The lectures were excellently planned with a balance between [lecturing and playing]…Mr. Lawrence has an excellent sense of humour, gave excellent examples for the points he was making. [He] answered questions well…Sarah is a skilled and very musical accompanist - a very important part of the series".

"Enjoyed learning the theory and was astounded to find I enjoyed the listening so much more".

"Beautiful, beautiful music before mid-day! Clear presentation to encourage critical and appreciative listening".

from 2003 course "Masterpieces of Chamber Music"
UBC Continuing Studies
"Keith’s knowledge and enthusiasm were wonderful and infectious. The passion for music [was] obvious. I learned much and enjoyed the class a great deal. Keith was well-organized, had his material well planned and was, as a result, able to cover a great deal of material".

"Mr. Lawrence’s knowledge shone thru the week, also his great love of music. He went to a great deal of work putting this week together for us fortunate enough to attend".
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