Classical 91.5

Music appreciation

An energetic quiet descends on the auditorium as the light dims. You welcome the concertmaster with polite applause, and he leads the orchestra in one final tuning. The conductor strides confidently onstage, swinging her arm with panache to gesture for the orchestra to rise as she takes the bow on their behalf. As she takes her place at the podium, the audience on the edge of their seats, a few coughs break the silence. Suddenly, she slashes the air with her baton, drawing out Beethoven’s famous bah-bah-bah-bahh! and they’re off to the races with his Fifth Symphony.

You let the music wash over you in your seat. Its tense, agitated rhythms draw you in like a racing heartbeat, driving from one moment to the next. But after a minute or two, you find your mind wandering. Am I in the mood for dessert tonight? What was that TV series my sister told me about? Where did I leave my keys again?

Pianist Jonathan Biss, seated with scarf
Benjamin Ealovega

Fall. Back to school. Even if you're not packing up your backpack and heading to class, it still feels like a time to start something.

Recently, I have been enjoying taking classes online through Coursera – some for practical reasons, and some just for fun. There are hundreds of courses on all sorts of different topics. Here are a few music-focused classes that caught my interest and you might also enjoy. If you have experience with any of these classes, or others to suggest, I hope you'll share your thoughts in the comments.