Last summer I discovered EdX. ThisĀ is a non-profit online initiative created by founding partners Harvard and MIT. Basically it pulls together online courses, many of which are free.

If you have ever considered brushing up on your jazz knowledge, the course weaves in musical performances and examples that deepen understanding of the musical process and develops ability to identify and analyze different jazz eras and jazz soloists. It also incorporates adaptive learning technology, so you can test your knowledge and has student forums for exchanging ideas.

The course covers artists, eras and musical methods that make jazz what it is, from Louis Armstrong. Charlie Parker. John Coltrane and how these artists and many others contributed to this art form, known for its innovation and creativity. Jazz emerged during a time of tremendous change and upheaval in American society; this course also explores its evolution both reflected and contributed to those changes.

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The Jazz appreciation course is run by Professor Jeff Hellmer, Director of Jazz Studies and Teaching Professor at the University of Texas of Austin.