Penny Learns to Write Songs like Mozart

Penny Learns to Write Songs like Mozart

With a full-time job and busy schedule Penny L. uses Coursera to pursue her true passion: music. Here’s her story:

Music, Writing and Child Development are among some of my most valued interests, with music being my main focus. Right now, I make a living working as a nanny, and I don’t make anywhere near enough to pay for tuition at a university. An online class at a renowned music school can cost thousands of dollars. I know I can apply for a student loan, but that would mean being in huge debt after graduation. Through Coursera, I am able to acquire some of the skills I am working on developing for an affordable cost. Another reason I use Coursera is the flexibility that it gives me. I work full-time and have a long commute, making it very hard to have time for a fixed school schedule.

For the past three years I’ve been studying music, mostly teaching myself as I go. Although I appreciate the time I have been devoting to self-study, it’s been a rather slow process. Using Coursera allows me to develop certain skills at a faster pace and grasp concepts that were hard to understand on my own.

The course Introduction to Classical Music taught by the very engaging Craig Wright helped me understand the various musical forms (sonatas, rondos, prelude, fugues.) Write Like Mozart: An Introduction to Classical Music Composition taught me how to analyze a composition and how to effectively use an augmented chord while the course Developing Your Musicianship finely trained my ability to tune by ear.

The knowledge I’ve acquired has helped me understand music at a deeper level. By learning how to harmonize, identify the key music is written, and figure out which chords to use, I can now jam with other musicians…and write my own songs! After taking the course Write Like Mozart: An Introduction to Classical Music Composition, I now feel comfortable coming up with my own choral pieces.

The more I learn about the complex layers of music the more richly I can now enjoy it, both in playing and listening, passively and actively, which allows me to work on projects such as voicing capoeira songs and making music with friends. Music is still magical, but not an inaccessible mystery.


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