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Music Theory & Composition

Music Theory Classes for Pre-Kindergarten through Elementary School Students

(Classes offered will vary by semester based on enrollment)

Orff 1

Pre-K to Kindergarten

Orff 2

1st to 2nd grades

Orff schulwerk allows musical play to stimulate the natural creativity of children. Using poetry and folk material, natural body movement pitched and un-pitched instruments and singing, children take the first steps towards playing music together.  At each level, improvisations assist the creation  of rhythms and melody. As they learn to use  simple scales and rhythms they gain an understanding of the language of music.

Teacher will assess placement during the first several weeks of classes.

Semester classes: 16 weekly classes
Location: SOL-LA Music Academy, 1812 Stanford Street, Santa Monica

Language of Music

3rd to 5th grades

This class continues the Orff based Music Fundamentals Class Language of Music Level 1. Students will use the keyboard in order to interact musically with the concepts being taught.

This class will cover Major and Minor scales, all the intervals, Diatonic Triads, rhythm and meter, and Solfege, as well as the training of the ear. Improvisation and composition will continue to be an integral part of the curricula. The material covered will serve as preparation for the Theory Exam, for those enrolled in the MTAC Certificate of Merit.

Semester classes: 16 weekly classes
Location: SOL-LA Music Academy, 1812 Stanford Street, Santa Monica

Music Theory Classes for Middle and High School Students

Music Theory I

Middle School

Music Theory is a course designed for students who have little or no theory background. The class will start from square one, beginning with concepts of pitch, rhythm, meter, clefs, and note-reading. Eventually the course will build upon these fundamentals to the teaching of scales, intervals and key signatures. The course will focus on applying these concepts to the student’s instrument of study, allowing them to gain a greater appreciation and understanding of the language of music.

Semester classes: 16 weekly classes
Location: SOL-LA Music Academy, 1812 Stanford Street, Santa Monica

The knowledge of music theory is integral to a student’s understanding of music. These courses are designed to grow with each student’s level of musical comprehension in an engaging and challenging environment. Students will immediately benefit by gaining a deeper understanding and greater perspective of the music that they are performing.

Music Theory II

Middle and High School students

The class will cover music theory fundamentals: note reading, scales, intervals, rhythm and meter, aural skills and notation.

Course outline:

  • Review of fundamental concepts: pitch, rhythm, meter, scales and key signatures and intervals
  • Triads and Seventh Chords (and their inversions)
  • Harmonic Analysis (part 1) – Roman and Arabic numerals
  • Harmonic Analysis (part 2)
  • Voice-leading (types of motion, forbidden motion, counterpoint, balance and distribution)
  • Bach Chorales (singing and harmonic analysis, non-harmonic tones, cadences)
  • Bach Chorales (part 2)
  • Chord progressions (types of chords and their function, syntax)
  • Phrases and larger forms
  • Sonata Form
  • Music in the 20th and 21st century, composition techniques and digital music composition
  • Composition performance
  • Projects & Review

Placement assessment required.

Year-long class: 22 weekly classes
Location: SOL-LA Music Academy, 1812 Stanford Street, Santa Monica

 


 

Music Theory III

Middle and High School students

This class is designed to prepare students for the Advanced Placement Music Theory exam.

The ultimate goal of the Advanced Placement Music Theory class is to develop a student’s ability to recognize, understand, and describe the basic materials and processes of music that are heard or presented in a score. The achievement of these goals may best be approached by initially addressing fundamental aural, analytical, and compositional skills using both listening and written exercises. Building on this foundation, the course should progress to include more creative tasks, such as the harmonization of a melody by selecting appropriate chords, composing a musical bass line to provide two-voice counterpoint, or the realization of figured-bass notation.

Placement assessment required.

On request.


 

Exploring Theory & Composition

Middle and High School students

This 90-minutes class will involve practical exercises aimed at developing basic compositional skills and imagination. Exercises in melody writing, how to “find” good ideas, how to develop those ideas, how to shape an entire piece will culminate in a substantial work-in-progress or a completed piece.

The first half of each class will be devoted to learning fundamentals music theory, and the second half of each class will involve practical exercises aimed at developing basic compositional skills – and at developing your imagination.

Note to returning composition students: This course has been expanded upon from last year, from 60 minutes to 90 minutes. This is to give us more time to devote to the projects we are working on, as well as include ear training and more theory discussion, which are designed to aid you in your compositions.

Placement assessment required.

80 minute class.

Year-long class: 24 weekly classes
Location: SOL-LA Music Academy, 1812 Stanford Street, Santa Monica

Jazz & Pop Theory

Middle and High School students

Explore how musicians approach other styles of music, once you have a solid foundation of standard music theory. Unlike classical music, jazz and pop musicians often don’t use fully written-out sheet music. Instead, they use knowledge of harmony and scales to improvise based on forms.  This class will introduce students to a wide array of skills, which will provide a basis for this radically different approach. Topics include blues scales, modes, standard progressions, re-harmonizing, composition, improvisation, arranging, and chart-reading skills.

Placement assessment required.

Day & Time: On request
Location: SOL-LA Music Academy, 1812 Stanford Street, Santa Monica

Song Writing

Middle and High School students

Young aspiring songwriters will experiment with the form of popular song writing. This class is designed for both independent and collaborative work. All instruments are welcome. If the primary instrument is voice, a simple knowledge of the keyboard is advised.

Placement assessment required.

Students must have access to GarageBand or a similar program approved by the instructor. A midi keyboard is advised.

Day & Time: on request
Location: SOL-LA Music Academy, 1812 Stanford Street, Santa Monica

Music Creativity Through Technology

3rd to 6th grades

This class will utilize music technologies available on the iPad to help unlock musical creativity. Students will compose songs, collaborate on music video projects, create podcasts, and explore live iPad ensemble playing. In 14 weeks we will cover three different units of technology exploration. the first unit will cover basic learning of programs and applications. Unit two will apply our knowledge and skills as musicians in utilizing these applications and programs. Unit three will take us outside standard musical realms and explore creative uses for music in the areas of film, poetry, story telling, and primary instrument practice.

Required Materials: iPad with the GarageBand app.

Location: SOL-LA Music Academy, 1812 Stanford Street, Santa Monica

 

SOL-LA Music Academy admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.