Music Theory

Music Theory

Ages 7 - Adult

Learn the building blocks and the language of music

Spring Semester begins in February!

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Creative Music Theory Classes

Creative music theory classes are musicianship classes complementing instrument instruction. The ultimate goal of creative theory is to produce a literate musician, able to understand, read, write, analyze, and compose music. The ideal age to start music theory is 7 - 8 years old, when children are able to read and write.

Ear training is a big part of music theory class. Students are taught to hear and recognize pitches, intervals, and chords. Solfege (do-re-mi), a traditional method of naming pitches, tied to "fixed do" is being used for ear-training. Students learn scales, key signatures, basics of harmony, and rhythm. They also learn conducting patterns and play rhythm ensembles. Students in intermediate and advanced classes learn counterpoint. All theory concepts and skills are demonstrated on the piano, and basic piano literacy is also introduced in class.

Theory is taught in small groups and classes meet once a week and last 55 minutes. Students are placed after meeting with the theory teacher, and grouped according to their age and skill level.

Test your knowledge and have some fun with these music theory videos, jokes, and exercises.

Private Music Theory Lessons

Interested in learning theory in a private setting? We also offer private lessons for advanced theory students. Private lesson rates apply - please visit our lesson webpage for more information about registration.


Fall 2017 - Spring 2018

Ages 7 - Adult

Instructor: Rebecca Sacks

Fall & Spring: 15 weeks per semester

Tuition per year: $750, plus $25 materials fee

Discounts/Scholarships: Powers private lesson students receive 10% off theory tuition. If you plan to register for private lessons and an orchestra or ensemble at Powers in addition to theory, please check our Merit Scholarship page for information about the Powers Conservatory Program.

Spring Class Times:

  • Beginning Theory: Saturdays, 11:00 - 11:30 am
  • Intermediate Theory: Saturdays, 12:30 - 1:15 pm
  • Advanced Theory: Saturdays, 1:30 - 2:30 pm 

Ready to Register? Use the button below to register by mail (by check or credit card number). Having trouble viewing our PDF forms? Download Adobe Reader here for free.


Level 1 theory is a beginner level course. The students will learn to identify and use properly all the symbols used to define pitch and duration in music notation. Similar to basic orthography, these notions will allow for the initial exploration of the syntax of music through the use of simple meter. The students will also develop their ear - a musician’s most important tool! - learn to sight-read simple melodies and learn to recognize basic intervals, such as seconds, fifths and octaves. This class is designed to provide beginner musicians with the necessary tools to quickly improve their musicianship through better reading of musical notation and by sharpening their ear thus allowing for better tuning on their instrument.

Level 2 theory is an intermediate-beginner level course. The students will continue their exploration of music notation, adding new symbols to their vocabulary, such as ornaments, triplets, sextuplets and dynamics. They will further their comprehension of the syntax of music by studying the composition of diatonic major scales and new time signatures of simple meter. They will also tackle more challenging ear training exercises, incorporating new intervals, such as the third and the sixth, and simple chords and harmonic progressions.

Level 3 theory is designed as an intermediate level course. By this point, the student should be capable of reading and understanding written music. The material covered in this level is entirely syntax-related. The students will familiarize themselves with irregular groupings, compound meter, syncopations, backbeats, minor scales, the identification and qualification of intervals, tempo markings and articulations. Ear training will include intervals of sevenths, recognition and identification of new chords and more complex melodies.

Level 4 theory is an intermediate-advanced level course. The students will further develop the concepts explored in the level 4 theory. They will study the different modes of minor scales, explore the relationship between simple and compound meter, discover the notions of tonality, modality and key and learn about compound and inverted intervals. They will also learn to sign and write in different keys, incorporate complex interval/key relations into their sight-reading and discover more harmonic progressions.

Level 5 theory is an advanced theory course. It is meant to complete basic theory study and to prepare students for college level theory, analysis or advanced performance level. In this course, the students will study clef reading, irregular meters, triads, dominant 7th and diminished 7th chords, the cycle of fifths, neighbour keys, modulation, enharmonic, chromaticism, whole-tone scales, pentatonic scales, octatonic scales and transposition. They will apply these new concepts to the development of their ear through modulating solfège and dictation, two-voice dictation, harmonic progressions, higher level sight singing and atonal sight singing.


PO Box 398 Belmont, MA 02478  |  Phone: 617.484.4696  

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