History of Western Music

Grades 9-Adult
Teacher: Matthew Robey
Wednesday, 6–7 – or – Saturday, 2:30–3:30
Room: MSH 1
Tuition: $288 (4 units)
Tuition with lessons: $260 or less
This is a yearlong course divided into two semesters.

The class is designed for students from the 8th through 12th grades, as well as for adults of any age.  The only prerequisite is an interest in all types of music, and a strong curiosity about the ways in which past cultures and civilizations have influenced our formal Western music traditions in the 21st century.  A strong background in music theory is very useful, but not required. 

Class sessions:
There are two sessions a week, covering the same material.  Students will register for a specific class time, but may change to the other class when it is more convenient.

Class attendance and participation in classroom discussions is very important. Students are expected to take advantage of the wealth of musical performances at the Eastman Community Music School and the Eastman School of Music, as well as in the larger Rochester community.

Our textbook is The Concise History of Western Music: Fourth Edition. Barbara Russano Hanning.  Norton: 1998.  Students can purchase this textbook from several vendors found on the internet; this edition is not carried in the Eastman bookstore.

Each semester there will be thirteen assignments, four short concert reports and one long concert report.  Completing the assignments will require access to YouTube and other resources on the Web as well as the textbook.  Assignments usually take one to three hours to complete.  Most assignments include both listening and reading components.

Special Guest Artists and Student Performers:
Each semester we will have several guest artists visit the class as well as have students perform some of the repertory they are studying. 

Grades are based on classroom participation and completion of assigned work.   Students are encouraged to communicate with the instructor any scheduling conflicts that arise.

How to Register

Print and complete:

ECMS Registration Form (PDF)

Return the form:

  • By mail to 26 Gibbs Street, Rochester, NY 14618
  • By fax to (585) 274-1005
  • By email to community@esm.rochester.edu
  • Or in person at 10 Gibbs Street, Suite 310.

Continuing students may choose to re-register online from May until September. Once registered, students may begin attending classes. The only registration confirmation you will receive is your bill. You may log on to check your registrations at any time. Click here for complete details on registration and policies.