Music Theory & Composition

Music Theory & Composition

Music Theory and Ear Training is available as a group class. Advanced theory students, or those wishing to study composition, songwriting or electronic music composition, may take private lessons in the same many as our instrumental and vocal students. Student compositions may be featured on recitals as approved by the teacher. 

Find information for your age: 

Grades 2nd - 6th

Students in grades 2nd through 6th may take Music Theory (Choral Ensemble for Young Musicians) to supplement instrument instruction.

Grade 7th - Adult

Music Theory and Ear Training

Instructor: Bruce Tippette
Theory and Ear Training I - 
10:45–11:25 a.m. in the 4th Floor Recital Hall
Theory and Ear Training II - 11:30 a.m.–12:10 p.m. in the 4th Floor Recital Hall

Theory and Ear Training I and II classes occur on alternating Saturdays, beginning Jan. 20, 2018.

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 music theory course must be supplemented by a comprehensive ear training/aural skills class. Ear Training at the Community Music School will be aligned with the subjects taught during the Music Theory courses, providing the necessary tools for any well-rounded musician. This course 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
  • 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.

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 Theory and Ear Training 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.


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.
Music Theory & Composition Faculty
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