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"Why Music Matters" at Stanford Pre-Collegiate Studies (SPCS)

The “Why Music Matters” course, offered by Stanford Pre-Collegiate Studies, is an intensive exploration of the inner workings of music from many different perspectives across a wide span of time: music theory and history, cultural history, and music technology.

Students will learn to listen critically to a range of music, both classical and popular, and gain analytical skills to probe into how a piece of music is composed. Students will be given opportunities to create and perform their own compositions. Participants will also have a unique opportunity to attend live performances and discussions with the world-famous St. Lawrence String Quartet, as well as guest performers of jazz and world music. The course will culminate in a final project of student compositions, performance and/or analysis of music.


  • Session: TBA

  • Prerequisite(s): 

    • An ability to read music.

    • A knowledge of some basic music theory is helpful but not essential.

  • Age and grade requirements: 

    • 9th, 10th, or 11th grade in Spring, and

    • Age 14 - 17 by the time the class begins.