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Music and Social Action, Yale University

74 ratings
25 reviews

About this Course

What is a musician’s response to the condition of the world? Do musicians have an obligation and an opportunity to serve the needs of the world with their musicianship? At a time of crisis for the classical music profession, with a changing commercial landscape, a shrinking audience base, and a contraction in the number of professional orchestras, how does a young musician construct a career today? Are we looking at a dying art form or a moment of reinvigoration? In this course we will develop a response to these questions, and we will explore the notion that the classical musician, the artist, is an important public figure with a critical role to play in society. The course will include inquiry into a set of ideas in philosophy of aesthetics; a discussion about freedom, civil society, and ways that art can play a role in readying people for democracy; discussion on philosophy of education as it relates to the question of positive social change; and an exploration of musical and artistic initiatives that have been particularly focused on a positive social impact. Guiding questions for this course inquiry will include: - How can classical music effect social change? - How has music made positive change in communities around the globe? - What can the field of classical music learn from other movements for social change? - How have educators and philosophers thought about the arts and their connection to daily contemporary life? Each class will explore one critical question through lectures, discussions, interviews, or documentaries....

Top reviews


Mar 15, 2018

This is exactly what I needed. I have upgraded from just having a passion for music to having a passion for what music can do to the society. I am a better leader. Thank you YALE, thank you Coursera!


May 02, 2016

I am glad to have this course as it really makes me feel happy and teaches me more things I wanna know.

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25 Reviews

By LeAttol (Robert Ellis Langford)

Oct 12, 2018

I liked the goal of this course. The delivery is perfect and it's quite humbling in its entirety. A good course to take for any musician. Do not be discouraged by the amount of philosophers which You have to quote; Though not always altruistic; Their opinions are relevant and even pessimistically directed well le attol

By Marie Alexis

Jul 24, 2018

Very inspirational, in-depth and well built. Highly reccomended! Being a dancer and choreographer, I could related all material and ideas of the course to my art form (and other art forms too), so it is safe to say that this course will not only inspire musicians but is suitable for other artists too.

By Katerina Stavroulaki

May 30, 2018

Very interesting course. I would like to point out that some material is not accessible for international learners, like me. Appart from that it is a balanced course, with a lot of food for thought.

By Joy Smith

Apr 03, 2018

ok, I guess

By Hana Adámková

Apr 01, 2018

I really like this course. It´s more about critical thinking and using knowledge, then just learn some information. It was very inspiring for me.

By Douglas Ogutu

Mar 15, 2018

This is exactly what I needed. I have upgraded from just having a passion for music to having a passion for what music can do to the society. I am a better leader. Thank you YALE, thank you Coursera!

By Barbara Kaffee Atkins

Aug 28, 2017

I enjoyed this course and learned a great deal about music and social action. I was impressed with the professor's knowledge and enjoyed the videos he showed and discussed. All in all a really good course! I would like to see this professor give a course on how the instruments of an orchestra come together for different pieces of music.

By Nikoletta Polydorou

Jul 07, 2017

A highly recommended course for humanity!!! High level of instruction in a way that everything that you think and write (for assignments) is always important. The readings will help you further understand yourself as a human and realize your role into your society. Thank you!!!

By Klaus D Pluemer

May 04, 2017

The Course was very interesting to me. I have learned a lot particularly about the roots of the American Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, which was not so clear to me.

"Harlem Nocturne" was a very interesting reading to me that tells the amazing story of three black woman artists in the 1940s and their impact on the American Civil Rights Movement by Black Power: young, gifted and black (Nina Simone).

"Art as Experience" by John Dewey is a very inspiring standard oeuvre about the function of art in a modern society. Art and culture are essential to the development of a peaceful way of living together based on respect and mutual understanding for each other within a society and more than that; this must be seen and explicitly recognized by politicians and politicians (John F. Kennedy).

The only thing that should be considered in the future is the extensive use of peer-graded-assignments as element in the weekly course reviews. This is critical to me because the participation in the weekly discussion forums was very limited.

Nevertheless, the course participation was all in all a pretty good learning experience.

By Sharita Hays

Apr 17, 2017