Praise be to Allah.
Those who organize these courses should be advised and directed to use permissible means that are free from music and images of women. If that is achieved then praise be to Allaah, but if that is not achieved and the presence of good people in this institution will result in benefitting people and serving apparent interests of the Muslims, and your continued presence or the development of your skills depends on your attending these courses, and that will block the way to innovators and other deviants, and you are not attending solely for worldly purposes, but rather to serve the greater interests of the Muslims, then perhaps your attendance in that case may be acceptable. But at the same time you should strive to lower your gaze and hate what you see accidentally, and not enjoy the music. This means that you are committing the lesser of two evils, because if the good people are not promoted to key positions, this will lead to the evildoers and corrupt people taking these positions, which will be a source of great mischief which should be warded off, even if that involves committing a lesser evil.
Our scholars have issued fatwas stating that it is permissible to do things like that mentioned in the question, which is following the principle of doing the lesser of two evils so as to ward off the greater evil.
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked by some military students about music in the army. He said (may Allaah have mercy on him):
“Those brothers who hate music will be rewarded for their hatred by Allaah. If they are able to remove it or reduce it, this is what is needed; if they are unable to do that then they should not forsake the greater interest which is joining the army, because of this relatively lesser evil. A person should weigh up the pros and cons. If the good people fail to do this work because of this sin, it will be left to the evildoers. You know how dangerous the army would be if there were no good people in it. I would not like to give examples of what would happen if the evildoers and corrupt people were to take charge of the army and then seize power; there would be such evil and corruption the extent of which only Allaah knows. So I encourage my religiously-committed brothers to join the army and to seek the help of Allaah in reforming whatever they can. This evil – I mean the evil of music – is undoubtedly an evil in my view, even though there is some difference of scholarly opinion concerning it as I have referred to above, but I say: this evil is relatively insignificant when compared to the great interests that may be served by having religiously committed and righteous people in positions of leadership in the army.
From Liqaa’aat al-Baab al-Maftoohah, 1/102, question no. 168.
Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked, after a speech that he gave to the students in the media department of the Arabic Language college:
A Muslim journalist may be forced to attend some parties or plays, so he attends even though there is music and disturbing scenes, so that he can explain its damaging effect on society. Is he sinning thereby?
If the aim is to serve the interests of the public and not to enjoy the event, and the purpose of his attending it to warn against evil, and he enters this gathering or meeting in which there are regrettable elements in order to find out about its evil and expose its faults for a good purpose, then there is nothing wrong with that. But if he goes there for the purpose of enjoyment or for evil purposes, then he should not do that. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And when you (Muhammad) see those who engage in a false conversation about Our Verses (of the Qur’aan) by mocking at them, stay away from them till they turn to another topic”
And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever believes in Allaah and the Last Day, let him not sit at a table where wine is being drunk.” Al-Tirmidhi, 2725. Allaah describes those who sit with those who engage in a false conversation and do not denounce them as being like them.
From Fataawa Islamiyyah, 4/368.
And Allaah knows best.