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, 2022 – June 5, 2023
Annual Tuition+: $720/$216*

Adult Theory Schedule

January 3 – March 21, 2023
Tuition: $144

  • Intermediate Music Theory

    Tuesdays
    1:00 pm

    Dr. Kathryn Eames

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

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 music@pasadenaconservatory.org.

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 music@pasadenaconservatory.org 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. The 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. The Royal Conservatory Level 2* book is required ($19.95).

Winter Adult History Courses

December 12, 2022 – February 27, 2023
Mondays: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Instructor: Dr. Nicole Baker
Tuition: $320

A specialist in the Classical era, Nicole Baker will take us through the lives and music of the “big three” of the Viennese School – Franz Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Ludwig van Beethoven – as well as examine the various courts and composers that influenced them. Particular attention will be paid to Haydn’s groundbreaking string quartets and innovative symphonies, Mozart’s exquisite concerti and profound, yet often hilarious, operas, and the creation of Beethoven’s genius that encompasses all genres.

January 10 – March 14, 2023
Tuesdays: 9:00 – 11:00 am (VIRTUAL ONLY)
Instructor: Dr. Sarkis Baltaian
Tuition: $320

This class examines and explores the keyboard sonata repertoire from the Baroque period through the 20th century. Representative works include sonatas by Scarlatti, Soler, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Schumann, Liszt, Brahms, Scriabin, Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, Ives, Barber, Carter, Copland, and Griffes.

The Keyboard Sonata is a reprise of a course previously offered in 2018. The instructor will be presenting this class remotely – students may attend virtually from home or from the PCM adult studies classroom.

January 5 – March 9, 2023
Thursdays: 9:30 – 11:30 am
Instructor: Brian Lauritzen
Tuition: $320

This course examines the innate human desire to sing, across culture, era, and geography. Part of what makes us human is a passion to make music with the instrument we all possess, our voice. Together we’ll explore centuries of the greatest music ever sung and uncover how this music intersects with our lives today.

January 6 – March 10, 2023
Fridays: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Instructor: Dr. Ray Briggs
Tuition: $320

What happens when American youth experience the power of the Black church translated into popular music form? As the country was in the throes of the Civil Rights movement in the mid-1950s through the 1960s American popular music was revitalized with a jolt from a new type of Black secular music, one with roots in Black sacred tradition. Branded as Soul Music, this form echoed the strong emotions and pleas for freedom associated with the Civil Rights struggle. As the second installment of a two-part series, this course highlights the position of Soul Music at the center of popular culture through an anatomy of the monumentally successful operations of Stax and Motown Records.

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 music@pasadenaconservatory.org.