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Join the World’s Largest* Jazz Appreciation Class

*Ok, we can’t actually claim the title definitively, but at 10,000 students and counting, UT’s upcoming Jazz Appreciation massive open online course (MOOC) looks to be on top.

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Louis Armstrong

Jazz Appreciation students will learn about the contributions of legends like Louis Armstrong (above), Charlie Parker and John Coltrane. 

When professor Jeffrey Hellmer kicks off his Jazz Appreciation class on Jan. 21, he’ll have a few more students than he usually takes on in a semester. More than 10,000 people have enrolled in Hellmer’s free online class, one of nine massive open online courses (MOOCs) offered by UT during the 2013-14 academic year.

*Ok, while we can’t actually say “world’s largest” definitively, a reasonable online search did not turn up proof of another class that tops it. So we’re claiming it.

Like Introduction to Globalization, Ideas of the Twentieth Century and others before it, the Jazz Appreciation MOOC will be hosted by edX, an online nonprofit learning initiative whose other members include Harvard, MIT, the University of California at Berkeley, Wellesley College and Georgetown University.

Students can audit the course or participate in all the course activities and pass an evaluation to earn a certificate.

Considered to be America’s greatest original art form, jazz music is notable for innovation, creativity, and a close relationship with societal transformation. From the course description:

Jazz emerged during a time of tremendous change and upheaval in American society; this course will discuss how its evolution both reflected and contributed to those changes.

Much more than a lecture series, Jazz Appreciation weaves in musical performances and examples that will deepen your understanding of the musical process and develop your ability to identify and analyze different jazz eras and great jazz soloists. It also incorporates cutting-edge adaptive learning technology that will allow you to practice your new knowledge and skills, at your own pace, until you reach mastery.

Join this course to enhance your enjoyment of jazz by developing an informed understanding and deep appreciation of the art.

Hellmer is director of Jazz Studies in the Butler School of Music, is a University Distinguished Teaching Professor and a two-time finalist in the Great American Jazz Piano Competition. Graduate students Alex Heitlinger, Gianni Bianchini and Daniel Dufour will join Hellmer as instructors.

 Register for the course now and follow it on Facebook for updates.