Theory, History & Composition

The Theory, History, and Composition Department provides a comprehensive theory and musicianship program as well as a series of weekly music history courses (for adults only) designed to promote an understanding of musical styles and genres. While history classes are offered quarterly, theory and composition classes are offered based on student interest and availability. Email for theory and composition inquiries.

Year-long offerings

Music Theory for Adults

If you are interested in Music Theory individual lessons for adults, please contact Stephanie Purschell at or 626.683.3355.

Spring Quarter History Courses

Jazz Goes to Hollywood, Part II:  How the Music & Musicians Have Impacted the Movies 

Instructor: Dr. Ray Briggs
Schedule: 10 weeks | Fridays 1 p.m.-3:15 p.m. (Mar 23 – June 1)

As the second of a two-part series, this course provides an overview of this pairing by surveying “jazz and film”
(i.e., jazz used as a film score) and “jazz on film” (i.e., jazz as the featured subject matter) from the late 1800’s to the middle of the twentieth century.

Music for the Keyboard: The Keyboard Sonata through the centuries

Instructor: Dr. Sarkis Baltaian
Schedule: 10 Weeks | Fridays 9:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. (March 30-June 1)

This class examines and explores the keyboard sonata repertoire from the Baroque period through 20th Century. Representative works include sonatas by Scarlatti, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Schumann, Liszt, Brahms, Scriabin, Prokofiev, Ives, Barber, Carter, Copland, and Griffes.

The Magnificent Composers of American Movies

Instructor: Dr. Vatché Mankerian
Schedule: 5 weeks | Thursdays 1 p.m.-3 p.m. (April 19 – May 17)

It has been said that a music score can make or break a film. Often a few notes is all it takes for us to immediately recognize the musical theme of our favorite movie. Hearing the music of the great composers of innumerable and wondrous American movies evokes the emotions we felt watching these films and even recollecting the very memory of seeing the movies for the first time.

Visit the Fees page for more information about tuition and registration fees.