I’m not a big fan of video courses. I do take them sometimes, but I still think that written text — books and articles — is a superior medium for study. The reasons are numerous. For instance, it is easier to search and highlight important passages; it allows a more natural way to pause and reflect; it is suitable for reuse, composition and annotation. There are a few topics, however, that are not suitable at all for the printing press. This is the case of music.

I’ve enjoyed classical music for many years without any proper introduction to it. I normally buy books on subjects I like but do not master, however music is not so easily conquered. Books on the topic are either too technical, designed for the professional musician, or entirely useless in themselves. To understand sound one must hear, not see. So I was very glad when I found out about online courses on this very topic. In particular, Yale offers a class on listening music, which is exactly what I’ve been searching for years. The whole course is available on YouTube.

Beautiful things are valuable in themselves, but knowledge of the subject matter only enhances one’s appreciation. I’m pretty sure this is true of painting, and I suspect it is true of music too.