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

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!

Class Offerings

Instructor: Dr. Ray Briggs
Schedule: 6 weeks
Thursdays: 4:00–5:00 pm (January 13–February 18)
Fees: $10 per session / $60 for course.

If you are experiencing financial hardship please email us at music@pasadenaconservatory.org to request a fee waiver. We don’t want anyone to miss the opportunity to take Jazz, A Truly American Music, so during the pandemic we will be granting all fee waiver requests for this course.

Designed for middle and high school students, this class explores the early development and evolution of jazz and how it is inextricably intertwined with the history of the United States. Stylistic trends in jazz will be surveyed by highlighting the music and lives of key artists. Each session will be filled with lecture/discussions, guided listening activities, and video footage.

ONLINE Spring Adult History Courses

Instructor: Sarkis Baltaian
Tuesdays: 9:00–11:15 am (March 23–May 25)

Register here

This class examines notable piano and violin sonata repertoire from the Classical period through 20th century. Representative works include sonatas by Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Brahms, Dvorak, Franck, Grieg, Faure, Saint-Saens, Debussy, Ravel, Bartok, Strauss, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, and Babadjanian.

Instructor: Dr. Nic Gerpe
Thursdays: 9:30–11:30 am (March 11–May 20)

Register here

The spring session of Dr. Nic Gerpe’s Current Techniques & Composers focuses on composers from France, Italy, Spain, and Latin America, including works from Debussy, Ravel, Berio, Dallapiccola, Granados, Albeniz, Prado and others.

Instructor: Dimitris Dodoras
Fridays: 9:30–11:00 am (March 12–May 21)

Register here

In this class, we will explore the work of well-known composers from the 20th century to present day, including Ennio Morricone, Hans Zimmer, Basil Poledouris, and Henry Mancini.

Instructor: Dr. Ray Briggs
Fridays: 1:00–3:00 p.m. (March 26–June 4)

Register here

This class explores the life and music of Miles Davis — one of the most influential and acclaimed figures in the history of jazz and 20th century music.

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.