From Notation to Performance: Understanding Musical Scores

About the course

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Would you like to know more about what musicians do in rehearsals and performances? Would you like to learn different techniques for listening to and understanding music?

This free online course provides a general introduction to how to understand a musical score and insights into what professional musicians do with the notation that these contain. You’ll learn how to connect the notation you see with the music you hear, from short familiar melodies to a full orchestral score.

Focussing on works by Mozart, Schubert, Beethoven and Mahler, we’ll introduce you to a pianist, a small chamber group and a conductor who will explain how they create memorable performances from the notes on the page.

Presenting organisation

The Open University/Futurelearn

Course leaders

Catherine Tackley
I am Head of Music at the Open University. I am interested in jazz, especially in the UK - I have written a book on this topic and also one on the jazz clarinettist, Benny Goodman.

Naomi Barker
Lecturer in music at the Open University. Flautist, researcher in late 16th and 17th century instrumental music and early modern enthusiast.

Further information

Course duration: 4 weeks; 3 hours per week
Delivery: Online
Cost: £Free
Certification: Certificates available


This course is intended for anyone with an interest in music. You do not need to be able to read musical notation or play an instrument.

All FutureLearn music courses