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What are you doing on this earth? This free music course from Yale may help you find out


Classical music hints at the existence of something bigger than ourselves -- "God or whatever" -- says Professor Craig Wright

Are you getting the most out of your music? Yale professor Craig Wright doubts that very much.

As an experiment he asked his headphone-wearing teenage son what he was “tracking” when he listened to his music. The lyrics and the beat, his son told him.

“What about the mode, the meter, the base line, the chords?” Wright wondered. In spite of having had 12 years of cello lessons, his son was not getting the most out of his music because he was lacking the “aural skills” to appreciate it.

That was the inspiration for this 23-lecture course, which is meant for the musical novice and promises to help students better understand Western music, including classical, Gregorian chant, and blues.

Are you more into pop music than classical? That’s okay, says Wright in the introduction to the course.

“Although I don’t know a lot about your music, I think I can teach you a lot about your music by using the paradigms of classical music.”

Wright promises that in addition to teaching you how to appreciate all kinds of music, he’ll show you that classical music is good for the soul.

Classical music, Wrights says, “suggests, at least for me personally, that there might be something out there – God or whatever – bigger than ourselves. And it asks us to think sometimes, think about things.”

The great fine arts show “the capacity of the human spirit. They suggest to us that maybe there is a larger spirit out there than ourselves, and get us to think, they get me to think frequently about what I’m doing on this earth.”

The course is available for free at YouTube and Yale University’s Open Yale Courses website.

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