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.

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.

Theory for Adults

Tuesdays, 1:00-2:00 pm
Instructor: Dr. Kathryn Eames
Tuition: $150

Register here

Using The Royal Conservatory curriculum and materials, adult students will refresh their knowledge and expand their horizons through sequenced instruction in music theory. This enlivening and enlightening course is for beginners through intermediate singers and players, and will include the opportunity to discuss the way that music theory “works” on one’s instrument of study. The Royal Conservatory Prep book is required ($17.95).

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

Fall Adult History Courses

September 13 - November 19 (10 weeks)

Mondays, 1:00-2:00 pm
Instructor: Lindsay Dodoras
Tuition: $150

Register here

Explore 100 years of Broadway history from the early days of the Great White Way to the hit musicals of today. Students will discover how style and content evolved to reflect modern society, and discuss characters, plots, and musical themes while referencing popular repertoire from the most beloved of musicals of all time.

Tuesdays, 9:00-11:00 am
Instructor: Dr. Sarkis Baltaian
Tuition: $300

Register here

This class explores the keyboard variation repertoire from the Baroque period through the 20th century. Representative works include variations by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schumann, Brahms, Faure, Rachmaninoff, Gershwin, Bernstein, and others.

Wednesdays, 9:00-10:00 am
Instructor: Rachael Doudrick
Tuition: $150

Register here

The Smithsonian Folkways collection of recordings, videos, and ephemera is a stunning resource for the curious music listener. Students will listen, read, sing, play, and experience instruments and sounds of many cultures through many different types of media and hands-on practice with culture bearers.

Fall Quarter: Ives and Copland
Thursdays, 9:00-11:00 am
Instructor: Dr. Nic Gerpe
Tuition: $300

Register here

This class will follow the development of American Contemporary music and the emergence of a distinct American sound from 1900 to today. We’ll study how composers integrated elements as disparate as hymn tunes, counterpoint, jazz and popular music, atonality, polytonality, technology and experimental use of instruments to weave together the varied, colorful tapestry that is American Contemporary music.

Fridays, 1:00-3:00 pm
Instructor: Dr. Ray Briggs
Tuition: $300

Register here

Known as the “The Voice,” “The Chairman of the Board,” “The Sultan of Swoon,” or simply “Ol’ Blue Eyes,” Frank Sinatra (1915-1998) defied simple categorization. As an artist, he carved out a space somewhere between jazz and mainstream popular music. Equally complex and at times bewildering, his social and political life behind the scenes juxtaposed such extremes as a legendary association with the Mafia as well as progressive activism that aligned him with the work of civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This course will explore the nuances of Sinatra the man and his music that spoke to millions of Americans in the mid-20th century.

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 Stephanie Purschell.