How to Listen to (And Appreciate) Great Music

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Duration 01:03:41

Fairfield University

Orin Grossman is renowned internationally for his knowledge of music. He lectures and performs concerts throughout the US and Europe, taught Performing Arts for many years at Fairfield University, and has served as the University’s Academic Vice President. Professor Grossman has been particularly associated with the music of George Gershwin, performing concerts of his song transcriptions and classical pieces to critical praise around the world, including performances in Cairo and New York. Professor Grossman was also chosen to play for the New York City Mayor’s Awards of Honor for Arts and Culture.




We all love some form of music, but we will love it even more when we learn how to listen more closely. The way a piece or a song moves us is ultimately what makes music lovers come back for more. However, the ease with which we can hear any type of music today and the endless outlets for different kinds of music creates the problem of over-saturation. We have become passive listeners, tuning most sounds out and are often unable to participate in a more active style of listening. At the heart of appreciating great music is the concept of active listening—becoming more attuned to the communication from the composer and performer to the listener.

This class will explain and demonstrate the concept of active listening and provide techniques to get more pleasure from great music reflecting a wide variety of styles. We will focus on melody and the different ways melodies can create meaning in music; we will listen to excerpts of music from the classical, jazz, and popular traditions in order to "stretch our ears" and get more pleasure from the musical experience.



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Elizabeth Pentacoff


A wonderful selection of music as clear examples of how we can appreciate music more fully through melody and texture. Hope he teaches more classes like these.

2 years ago


Dr. Grossman is a very engaging speaker. With four years of undergraduate school and three years of graduate work many years ago, my all time favorite class ended up being an elective for fun, music appreciation 101. Dr. Grossman’s talk reminded me of the pleasure I got out of that class. I hope that he does more talks.

2 years ago
Vlad-Ioan Onutu

Wonderful, I recommend it

This is not only a lesson of appreciating music which Professor Grossman delivers so well, but also some great guidelines of appreciation art in its purest forms, as a way of enoying life and receiving beauty in all of its frequencies. Thank you for the teachings!

1 year ago
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