Music Theory Program

Open your ears to deeper musical understanding and enhance your playing skills by working regularly this fall with the building blocks of music! MYA’s Saturday and Sunday (please view the Jazz Program Page) theory classes focus on active listening experiences as well as written concepts. Worksheets provide opportunities to practice concepts from class and to write your own music. During the school year classes meet weekly on Saturdays or Sundays on a schedule closely related to ensemble rehearsal times. For more information on what is covered in the different levels see below.

Any student over 7 years old who studies an instrument and possesses basic music reading knowledge may participate. Parents and other MYA friends are invited to participate as well! Tuition is waived for all MYA members. Initial class enrollment is based on a skills assessment quiz. In order to be placed in a theory class, all new students must take the assessment quiz. Exceptions are made for younger students who have had no previous theory training - generally these students begin in the Musicianship I class. Students may only move into the next higher level class by passing a proficiency test (in both written and aural skills), regardless of whether they move into a higher level orchestra! Exceptions are made for students who have moved into Concert orchestra. Students who are enrolled in MYA ensembles do NOT have to complete a separate registration for Music Theory.
Theory classes are also available for students who do not participate in an MYA ensemble. If you are interested, please click here.


Class Placements

New Students

  • May take a placement quiz to be placed in the appropriate theory class.
  • May opt out of taking a quiz, but will be placed in the lowest level for their orchestra. No action is required, simply attend the first meeting of the appropriate class.

Returning Students

  • May take the same class they were in the previous year without needing to take a placement quiz. It will be assumed that a student wishes to remain in the same theory class if they do not attempt to test up.
  • May attempt to test into the next level up. The only exception is if they were in MUS I or MUS II and have moved into Concert Orchestra, then they will be automatically moved into College Prep I.

Course Descriptions and Times

All Theory classes are taught by Steven Stenzel and are taught in the Theory room on Saturday. Times are subject to change due to enrollment and student placement.
Click here for Fall 2012 assignments.

Musicianship I

  • Clef reading (treble, bass, alto)
  • Major Scales & Intervals
  • Sight singing diatonic scalar melodies
  • Dictation with diatonic scalar melodies
  • Simple duple/triple meter
  • Basic Phrasing
  • Simple composition with above concepts

Reading Orchestra Musicianship I: 10:00-10:30 am
Concertino Orchestra Musicianship I: 11:00-11:30am
Cadet Orchestra Musicianship I: 1:00-1:30pm

Musicianship 2

  • Review Musicianship I concepts
  • Minor Scales & Intervals
  • Sight singing with skips up to P5
  • Dictation with skips up to P5
  • Compound meter
  • Simple composition with above concepts

Reading Orchestra Musicianship II: 10:30-11:00am
Concertino/Philharmonia Orchestra Musicianship II: 11:30am-12:00pm
Cadet Orchestra Musicianship II: 1:30-2:00pm

College Prep I

  • Review Musicianship II concepts
  • Scales, Tonality, Key, Modes
  • Intervals (Major, Minor, New: Diminished, Augmented)
  • Triads (Major, Minor, Diminished, Augmented)
  • Inversions (Intervals & Triads)
  • Seventh Chords
  • Ear training to be integrated for all of the above concepts

Concert Orchestra College Prep I: 12:00-12:30pm
Philharmonia Orchestra College Prep 1: 12:00-12:30pm/12:30-1:00pm
Symphony Orchestra College Prep I: 3:00-3:30pm

College Prep II

  • Review College Prep I concepts
  • Diatonic triads
  • Diatonic sevenths
  • Analyze simplified chorales
  • Functional harmony
  • Cadences and simple progressions in major and minor (e.g., I-V-I, I-IV-V-I)
  • Non-harmonic tones
  • Ear training to be integrated for all of the above concepts

Concert/Symphony Orchestra College Prep II: 3:30-4:00pm


Composition Class

Patrick Pearson teaches a composition class on Saturday mornings from 11:00am-12:00pm.


Jazz Theory

Jazz Theory is offered on Sundays and is required for all members of Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Orchestra, and Big Band. Please view the Jazz Program page for more information.

Music and MovementOrchestrasChamber MusicChoralJazzWind Symphony