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.

Youth Theory Schedule

August 29, 2023 – June 5, 2024
Annual Tuition+: $720/$324*

Adult Theory Schedule

August 29 – November 14, 2023
Tuition: $180

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

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+.

June 14 – August 16 (10 Weeks)
Tuesdays: 6:00 – 6:30 pm
Instructor: Renee Gilormini
Tuition: $200

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.

Adult Theory

Using Royal Conservatory curriculum, students refresh their knowledge and expand their horizons through sequenced instruction in music theory. This course is for beginners through intermediate singers and players. A Royal Conservatory Prep book is required ($19.95).

*Discount for students concurrently enrolled in private lessons
Materials can be purchased at the front office or online.

Using Royal Conservatory curriculum, students continue to expand their horizons through sequenced instruction in music theory. This course is for intermediate singers and players who have completed Intro to Music Theory. A Royal Conservatory book is required ($19.95).

Fall Adult History Courses

September 14 – November 16, 2023
Thursdays: 9:30 – 11:30 am
Instructor: Brian Lauritzen
Tuition: $320

Discover Earth Tones, an exploration into the sounds of nature in classical music. From peaceful sunsets to dramatic storms, experience the evocative power of classical compositions to transport you to breathtaking landscapes.

September 15 – November 17, 2023
Fridays: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Instructor: Dr. Ray Briggs
Tuition: $320

American popular culture is frequently driven by a collective and selective nostalgia for the musical styles of decades past. Fondly, we reflect upon the 1950s as the age of rock and roll, the 1960s as the flowering of Hippie culture and psychedelic rock, and more recently, the 1980s as the dawn of digital music. The 1970s, however, are typically overlooked and viewed as a decade of decadence with bland, throwaway music. This course seeks to counter this sentiment by uncovering the significance of 70s music, which arguably became the foundation for much of the popular music in the 21st century. Particularly emphasis will be placed upon classic rock, punk, funk, disco and the early years of Hip Hop.

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 call the front office at 626.683.3355 or