Collage of piano and musical score

Technology, Theory, and Composition

The Conservatory is privileged to have several composers among its faculty members and offers individual lessons in 30, 45, and 60-minute lengths, depending on student need and teacher recommendation.

Youth Theory Schedule

August 26, 2024 – June 2, 2025

Adult Theory Schedule

August 27, 2024 – May 27, 2025

+Material fees not included
*Discount for students concurrently enrolled in individual lessons
**Online only

Class Descriptions

Youth Theory

Students enrolling in Theory classes will be required to take a placement exam unless enrolling in Music Theory Prep.

Music Theory Prep is for young students who are just starting lessons and not yet proficient at reading music. Topics include: treble and bass clefs, time signatures, rhythm, notation, and an introduction to famous composers.

Age 9+.

This course is designed for students who have taken theory at PCM. It reviews concepts learned in previous classes to prepare students for the fall.

This class is for students who have completed Theory Prep through Level 2. Please contact the PCM office at or 626.683.3355 for enrollment information.

Building on the skills learned in Prep 1, students will learn about accidentals and enharmonics, measures and simple time signatures, whole tones and semitones. Introduces major scales and key signatures. Course includes reading about and listening to works by great composers.

In this course, students expand their knowledge of key signatures to include relative, as well as the concept of harmonic minor.  They continue learning the constructs of good melody writing, and begin to study the great composers.  This level introduces tonic chord symbols.

Students expand their knowledge of key signatures to two sharps and flats and are introduced to melodic minor.  They play these scales on the piano and on their own instruments.  They learn about major and perfect intervals and begin octave transposition.  This level adds dominant triads and chord symbols to their repertoire.

In this level, students study key signatures and scales up to three sharps and flats.  They learn how to transpose a melodic line into another clef, and are introduced to minor intervals.  This course adds subdominant triads to the mix, and students now progress to writing four-measure melodies outlining specific harmonies.

Students continue the foundations established at the Elementary levels and further develop understanding of notational conventions, analysis, melody and composition, and music history.

Intermediate level examinations require cumulative knowledge of concepts from all previous levels.

Students learn about double sharps and flats, as well as augmented and diminished intervals. They learn how to transpose a melody up by any interval, and are introduced to half and authentic cadences. Students go more in depth into the characteristics of the Baroque and Classical eras.