Music Theory & Composition

Music Theory & Composition

The UNCSA Community Music School proudly offers the internationally-recognized Royal Conservatory Method’s Celebrate Theory Curriculum for students in grades 2 and up. Adult students may take Musicianship I or II with Bruce Tippette. Advanced theory students, or those wishing to study composition, songwriting or electronic music composition, may take private lessons in the same manner as our instrumental and vocal students. Student compositions may be featured on recitals as approved by the teacher. 

Find information for your age: 

Ages 6 and Up

Students in grades K through 8th can participate in our Choral Ensembles for Young Musicians at no extra charge during the fall and spring semesters as part of any private lesson or group class registration to supplement instrument instruction.  Students in our Preparatory Track may take courses in the Royal Conservatory Method curriculum. Royal Conservatory Method (RCM) theory classes are organized into 10 levels and are recognized by many university systems as the international standard-bearer for music literacy.  Students wishing to enroll in RCM theory should contact the CMS to take a placement exam.

Summer Session: “Ultimate Music Theory” Preparatory Level for music theory and ear-training

Specific weekday class times TBD, based on registration
June 15 to August 21
Ages 6-8
Instructor: Dr. Elena Nezhdanova
$200/10 weeks

Class will meet once a week for ten weeks. No prior music theory training required! We will do live Zoom* “in-class” lessons using Ultimate Music Theory Preparatory 1 textbook and workbook. In our class we will learn the basics of music notation, rhythm, musical terms, learn to recognize and sing intervals, and do various ear-training activities and games. This class is geared towards preparation for the next levels of RCM classes and examination.

*Students must have access to high-speed internet connection

Register Now through our Inquiry Form!

Summer Session: RCM Celebrate Theory I 

Specific weekday class times TBD, based on registration
June 15 to August 21
Instructor: Dr. Elena Nezhdanova
$200/10 weeks

Course Objectives

Discovery of pitch and notation concepts including: 

  •  accidentals, half steps, whole steps 
  •  intervals (size only) 
  •  scales and key signatures (G major and F major)
  • the concept of Tonic, Tonic triad
  •  introduction to melody writing and guided listening

*Students must have access to high-speed internet connection

Register Now through our Inquiry Form!

Summer Session: RCM Celebrate Theory II** 

Specific Monday or Thursday morning class time TBD based on enrollment
June 15 to August 21 (10 weeks)
Instructor: Yulia Roubtsova

Classes taught via Zoom*
Cost: $200 (includes workbook)

**all level assignments based on student knowledge

Course Objectives

Summative review of Preparatory–Level 1

New concepts include: 

  • major and minor keys with one sharp or flat 
  • relative keys
  • application of time signatures, bar lines, rests 
  • the harmonic minor scale 
  • chord symbols for tonic triads

*Students must have access to high-speed internet connection

Register Now through our Inquiry Form!

Summer Session: RCM Celebrate Theory III**

Specific weekday morning class time TBD based on enrollment.
June 15 to August 21 
(10 weeks)
Instructor: Julie Malamut
Classes taught via Zoom*
Cost: $200 (includes workbook)

**all level assignments based on student knowledge

Course Objectives

Summative review of Preparatory–Level II

New concepts include:

  • major and minor keys up to two sharps or flats
  • perfect and major intervals
  • octave transposition
  • the melodic minor scale
  • dominant triads

*Students must have access to high-speed internet connection

Register Now through our Inquiry Form!

Summer Session: RCM Celebrate Theory IV**

Specific weekday morning class time TBD based on enrollment.
June 15 to August 21 
(10 weeks)
Instructor: Julie Malamut
Classes taught via Zoom*
Cost: $200 (includes workbook)

**all level assignments based on student knowledge

Course Objectives

Summative review of Preparatory–Level III

New concepts include:

  • major and minor keys up to three sharps or flats
  • transposition with change of clef
  • minor intervals
  • subdominant triads
  • writing four-measure melodies

 *Students must have access to high-speed internet connection

Register Now through our Inquiry Form!

Summer Session: RCM Celebrate Theory V**

Specific Monday or Thursday morning class time TBD based on enrollment
June 15 to August 20 (10 weeks)
Instructor: Yulia Roubtsova

Classes taught via Zoom*
Cost: $200 (includes workbook)

**all level assignments based on student knowledge

Course Objectives

Summative review of Preparatory - Level IV

New concepts include: 

  • major and minor keys up to four sharps or flats
  • triad inversions and dominant 7th chords 
  • expanded melody writing 
  • analysis through repertoire exploration 
  • practice exam questions

*Students must have access to high-speed internet connection

Register Now through our Inquiry Form!

Summer Session: RCM Celebrate Theory VIII**

Specific Monday or Thursday morning class time TBD based on enrollment
June 15 to August 20 (10 weeks)
Instructor: Yulia Roubtsova
Classes taught via Zoom*
Cost: $200 (includes workbook)

**all level assignments based on student knowledge

Course Objectives

New concepts include: 

  • alto and tenor clefs 
  • transposition to concert pitch; score types 
  • hybrid meters 
  • compound intervals 
  • triads built on any scale degree
  • cluster, quartal, and polychords 
  • introduction to Medieval, Renaissance, and world music

*Students must have access to high-speed internet connection

Register Now through our Inquiry Form!

Summer Session Module: All About Intervals!

Specific Monday or Thursday morning class time TBD based on enrollment
June 15 to August 20 (10 weeks)
Instructor: Yulia Roubtsova
Classes taught via Zoom*
Cost: $200 

**all level assignments based on student knowledge

Ages 6-14 Assignment to age-based classes based on enrollment

In this 10-weeks class we will focus on the size and quality of music intervals by doing various activities: writing them down, playing them on the instrument, singing, composing, identifying them in familiar tunes. By the end of the module students are expected to recognize the size and the quality of each interval by ear, building them on paper and playing them on music instrument in any key. The style of teaching will depend on the age level of the group. At least one year of learning any music instrument is required to join the class.

*Students must have access to high-speed internet connection

Register Now through our Inquiry Form!

Summer Session Module: All About Triads!**

Specific Monday or Thursday morning class time TBD based on enrollment
June 15 to August 20 (10 weeks)
Instructor: Yulia Roubtsova
Classes taught via Zoom*
Cost: $200 

**all level assignments based on student knowledge

Ages 8-14 Assignment to age-based classes based on enrollment

In this 10-weeks class we will focus on four types of triads: Major, Minor, Augmented and Diminished. Students will learn the concepts of triad inversions, blocked and broken triads. They will learn how to build triads on paper, play on the instrument, and most importantly how to identify them by ear. We will sing songs and compose short pieces based on triads, play elementary chord progressions and analyze music repertoire. The style of teaching will depend on the age level of the group. At least one year of learning any music instrument is required to join the class.

*Students must have access to high-speed internet connection

Register Now through our Inquiry Form!

Summer Session Module: I’ve Got Rhythm!**

Specific weekday morning class time TBD based on enrollment.
June 15 to August 21 
(10 weeks)
Instructor: Julie Malamut
Classes taught via Zoom*
Cost: $200 


**No prior music theory experience needed!

Students in this class delve into the rhythmic adventure of a lifetime!  Each week we travel to the Land of Music where students meet various characters of the rhythm family — Willie the Whole Note and his whole gang. While in the Land of Music, students learn the names and shapes of rhythmic note values in written music, internalize rhythmic values through movement with their bodies, and read rhythms in sheet music.  Our fun-filled interactive adventure will get your kids feeling the rhythm with their bodies and reading music!  No prior music experience needed!

*Students must have access to high-speed internet connection

Register Now through our Inquiry Form!

 

Students enrolled in RCM theory as part of our Preparatory Program (Packages II and III) receive a $25 fee waiver during the summer session.  Students registered for more than one group class will receive a $25 fee waiver on each additional class. 

Adults

Spring Semester: Musicianship I and II 

Saturdays, February 16 to June 15 (16 weeks)
Gray Building room 134 (main campus)
10:45 - Musicianship I 
11:45 - Musicianship II
Instructor: Bruce Tippette
Cost: $150/semester*

Listening to music is one of the most inclusive activities, whether listening to recordings, attending live concerts, or creating the music individually with your voice or musical instrument. However, being able to understand the construction of music will only enhance that experience, both as a listener and a performer.

This course will progressively teach musical topics including elements of pitch and rhythm, triadic harmony, diatonic chords in major and minor keys, voice leading, part-writing, harmonic progression, cadences, pitch and interval recognition, transposition, and many other fundamentals of music.

Ear Training/Aural Skills
Any effective musicianship course must include comprehensive ear training/aural skills instruction. Ear Training at the Community Music School will be aligned with the music theory subjects taught during the musicianship courses, providing the necessary tools for any well-rounded musician. The ear training portion of our Musicianship curriculum will help musicians to correctly identify and recognize musical concepts including, but not limited to:

  • Simple/compound time signatures (and rhythms within)
  • Major/minor scales and their scale degrees
    Intervals
  • Triads/Seventh Chords
  • Sight-Singing and rhythmic and harmonic/melodic dictation

These skills will also be used to help students process aural concepts within existing pieces of music, whether for their private lessons, or while hearing something for the first time.

Text: 
Author: Jennifer Sterling Snodgrass 
Contemporary Musicianship
“Analysis and the Artist”

“Contemporary Musicianship presents traditional music theory and analysis in an innovative way for popular music, jazz, and music business/industry students. The text introduces students to the basic principles of music theory using the great works of classical performers and popular artists. Through creative projects and composition opportunities, Contemporary Musicianship shows the two-semester Musicianship or Introduction to Music Theory student that music theory is more than just notes and math; it is a musical experience that evolves throughout the life of an artist.”

Students should self-select for either the Musicianship I or II class based on their own knowledge level, but are encouraged to attend classes in either level that align with their own learning objectives.

 * Students enrolled in private lessons or Group Piano for Adult Beginners recieve Musicianship I and II at no additional cost. 

Composition

Private lessons in composition are available to students with advanced music theory and instrument knowledge. 

Electronic Music Production

Private lessons are available to high school aged students and older. 

Summer Session: Excursions in Musicianship

Saturday  11:00 to 11:45
Grades 9 through Adults
Instructor: Bruce Tippette
$200/10 weeks

In this unique summer session, focus will be given to topics not typically covered, or lightly discussed, during the fall and spring sessions of Musicianship. This will include, but not be limited to, popular forms, 20th century compositional techniques, and ear training. Fall and Spring sections typically cover the basics of pitch and rhythmic notation, major and minor key signatures, intervals, triads, 7th chords, and basic 4-part writing.  Prior attendance to one of these courses or similar theory training recommended but not required. 

Classes meet via Zoom, and students receive recordings of each class meeting for review in case of missed classes.

 Register Now through our Inquiry Form!

 

 

Next Steps

  • Click here to pre-register for Music Theory or Composition.