Collage of piano and musical score

Theory, History, 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.

Theory for Kids

Students enrolling in Theory classes will be required to take a placement exam unless enrolling in Music Theory Prep. All theory classes are currently available online.

Young students just starting lessons and not yet proficient at reading music. Topics include: treble and bass clefs, time signatures, rhythm, famous composers.

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.

Music Technology

Instructor: Dimitris Dodoras
Individual lessons available. Email music@pasadenaconservatory.org for more information.

Middle school and above

In the first four weeks of the interactive virtual class, students will explore the technology and methods behind the music software, Logic Pro X. Students will be given the foundation of how to establish a new Logic project and how to successfully maneuver the software. They will be educated in various recording techniques and work with audio editing methods. After students master Logic, they will put their skills to work in a guided creative process; students will be given tasks such as vocal recording, compositions, the production of sound effects and collaborating with others through their new knowledge of Logic software.

Software and hardware requirements:
MacBook
Logic Pro X
Optional: MIDI keyboard and external USB microphone

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

Sign up for a music theory class online!

ONLINE Winter Adult History Courses

Register for music history courses here!

Instructor: Sarkis Baltaian
Tuesdays: 9:00-11:15 am (January 12 – March 16, 2021)

This class examines and explores in depth the keyboard suite repertoire from the Baroque period through 20th Century. Representative works include suites by G. Frescobaldi, J. Chambonnieres, L. Couperin, J. D’Anglebert, J. Blow, H. Purcell, J. Froberger, D. Buxtehude, F. Couperin, J. Rameau, G. F. Handel, J. S. Bach, E. Grieg, I. Albeniz, C. Debussy, M. Ravel, A. Schoenberg, B. Bartok, S. Prokofiev and G. Enescu.

Instructor: Dr. Nic Gerpe
Thursdays: 9:30 – 11:30 am (December 10, 2020 – February 25, 2021)

In the winter session of Dr. Nic Gerpe’s series covering the history of new music, we focus on composers from China, Japan, and India; as well as the influence of Asian and Indian music on Western composers such as Lou Harrison and Olivier Messiaen.

Instructor: Dimitris Dodoras
Fridays: 9:30 – 11:00 am (December 11, 2020 – February 26, 2021)

In this class, we will discuss major film genres and the development of their film scores over time. We will explore the characteristics of film music, ranging from drama to comedy to suspense and fantasy – discussing the distinct components of the genre and how it has transformed through the decades.

Instructor: Dr. Ray Briggs
Fridays: 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. (January 15 – March 19, 2021)

This class explores the life and music of Louis Armstrong — a musician, composer, singer, and actor who became one of the most influential figures in jazz history.

About Zoom and PCM Tech Support
Zoom is an easy-to-use video conferencing platform that allows “face-to-face” meetings and classes from the comfort of your home. At PCM, we have dedicated staff members that can help you get set up for the class via phone or email. If you’d like tech support please reach out directly to Eugene Kim or Stephanie Purschell.