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 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.

Spring Semester: RCM Celebrate Theory II – ages 6-8 and 10-16

Saturdays 10:00 to 11:00 am (elementary), 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm (teens)
February 8 to June 6 (16 weeks with spring break)
Instructor: Yulia Roubtsova
Gray Building room 123 (main campus)
Cost: $300/semester** (includes workbook)
*all level assignments based on student knowledge

Course Objectives

Rhythm:

  • Application of time signatures and bar lines​
  • Ties and rests​
  • Strong and weak beats

Scales:​

  • Major Scale Pattern (C Major, F Major and G Major)
  • Tonic, Subdominant and Dominant
  • Accidentals and Key Signatures
  • Sharps, Flats and Naturals

Intervals:​

  • Half steps and Whole steps
  • Harmonic and Melodic Intervals in Major Keys

Chords:​

  • Major and Minor Triads
  • Primary Triads

Guided Listening:

  • Introduction to the Orchestra (S.Prokofiev: Peter and The Wolf; B. Britten: A Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra)

Spring Semester: RCM Celebrate Theory III – ages 9-11

Saturdays at 9:00 to 10:00 am
February 8 to June 6 (16 weeks with spring break)
Instructor: Yulia Roubtsova 
Gray Building room 123 (main campus)
Cost: $300/semester** (includes workbook)
*all level assignments based on student knowledge

Course Objectives

Rhythm:

  • Dotted notes
  • Duple, Triple and Quadruple Meter
  • Application of time signatures, bar lines, rests

Scales:

  • Scale degree numbers and scale degree names
  • Relative major and minor scales
  • Harmonic and Melodic Minor

Intervals:

  • Harmonic and Melodic intervals in major and minor keys

Chords:

  • Roman Numerals for Chord Symbols
  • Primary Triads
  • Functional Chord Symbols
  • Root/Quality Chord Symbols

Guided Listening:

  • An Introduction to Mozart
  • New terms: Concerto, Rondo, Variations

Spring Semester: RCM Celebrate Theory IV* 

Saturdays 11:00 am to 12:00 pm (elementary school) and 12:00 to 1:00 (teens)
February 8 to June 6
Instructors: Yulia Roubtsova and Julie Malamut
Gray Building room 123 (main campus)
Cost: $300/semester** (includes workbook)
*all level assignments based on student knowledge

Course Objectives

Pitch and Notation:

  • Enharmonic Equivalents
  • Transposition

Rhythm:

  • Time Signatures: duple, triple and quadruple meter
  • The Anacrusis
  • Sixteenth notes and rests
  • Dotted notes and rests, tied notes

Scales:

  • Major and Minor scale patterns and New Keys
  • Melodic Phrases
  • Writing Your Own Melodies

Intervals:

  • Perfect, Major and Minor Intervals

Chords:

  • Primary Triads in Knew Keys
  • Functional Chord Symbols
  • Root/Quality Chord Symbols

Guided Listening:

  • An Introduction to J.S.Bach
  • New genres and musical forms: Menuet, Gavotte, Gigue, Sonatina

Spring Semester: RCM Celebrate Theory VII – ages 12 and up*

 

Saturdays 12:00 to 1:00
February 8 to June 6 (16 weeks with spring break)
Instructor: Yulia Roubstova
Gray Building room 123 (main campus)
Cost: $300/semester** (includes workbook)
*all level assignments based on student knowledge

Course Objectives

Rhythm:

  • Thirty-Second Notes and Rests
  • Compound Meter
  • Completing Measures with Rests

Keys and Scales:

  • The Circle of Fifths 
  • Double Sharp and Double Flats
  • Identifying the Key of the Melody With a Key Signature
  • Identifying the Key of the Melody Without a Key Signature
  • Transposition

Intervals:

  • Augmented and Diminished Intervals
  • Chromatically Altered Intervals

Chords and Harmony:

  • Inversions of Triads
  • Close and Open Position
  • The Dominant 7th Chord
  • Cadences

Melody Writing and Composition:

  • Composing a Parallel Period
  • Composing Your Own Melodies

Music History:

  • Introduction to Baroque and Classical Era

Form and Analysis:

  • Binary Form
  • Music Terms and Signs

 

** Students enrolled in RCM theory as part of our Preparatory Program (Packages II and III) receive a $75 fee waiver.  Workbook covers fall and spring semesters.

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. 

 

 

Next Steps

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