Music Theory & Composition

Music Theory & Composition

Age: Ages 7 and up

Cost: Fall or Spring Semester: $365 ($320 tuition + $25 materials fee + $20 registration fee). Private theory or composition lessons: private lesson rates apply.

Small group classes or private lessons with instructor Rebecca Sacks give your budding musicians the tools to sight-read melodies and rhythms more easily, to really get excited about and better understand the music they’re learning in instrument lessons (and elsewhere!), and to try their hand at crafting their own pieces and arrangements.

Think theory is boring, difficult, or too much work? Think again! Rebecca keeps classes and lessons interesting with the right mix of singing, hands-on activities, written exercises, and rewarding composition assignments to teach rhythm, melody, harmony, and notation. Want to really dive into those composition assignments? Join us for Rebecca’s composition lessons!

But besides being fun, theory and composition classes help students truly appreciate the music in the world around them. They progress faster in the study of their instrument, ensembles, orchestra, and choir. They become more confident, empowered, and creative as they learn to engage with all types and genres of music. They strive to learn, enjoy, and create even more than they thought was possible.

Inquire about theory or Composition lessons

Here’s what parents are saying about music theory classes…

“Rebecca Sacks’s Music Theory class has been transformative for our eight-year-old son. Through melodic and rhythmic solfege exercises, he is learning to sight-sing and conduct. He is even writing his own eight-bar compositions! Ms. Sacks gives warm attention to each participant and keeps things challenging yet fun. If you have a musically-inclined child, we highly recommend this class as a rich compliment to lessons—or on its own!”
~ Elaine Dimopoulos & John Evans

Parents, see the joy on your child’s face as she performs her very own masterpiece.

Teachers, watch as your student becomes a faster, more competent sight-reader.

Students, take your skills up a notch and let out the music that’s been waiting inside of you!

Who should take theory?

Private lesson students ages 7-18 who are dedicated to their instruments, love learning new things, and are excited about the opportunity to compose their own music are great candidates for music theory classes or individual lessons at Powers. Music theory complements, not replaces, what is taught in private instrument lessons.

Which group class level is right for my child?

Theory Level 1 (Beginner)
Level 1 theory is a beginner-level course. The students develop their ear – a musician’s most important tool! – by learning to sight-read simple melodies and rhythms. They also learn to identify and use properly all the symbols for defining pitch and rhythm in music notation. Students learn the basics of harmony so that they can compose short pieces for the piano and for their instrument. This class is designed to provide beginner musicians with the necessary tools to quickly improve their skills through sight-reading simple music, learning about music notation, and composing their own music.

Theory Level 2 (Intermediate)
Level 2 theory is an intermediate-level course. Students learn to sight-read more complex rhythms and melodies. They continue their exploration of music notation, adding new symbols to their vocabulary, such as triplets and sextuplets, major scales, diatonic harmony, and new time signatures. They also learn to recognize new intervals by singing, writing, and playing them at the piano. The students learn to compose short melodies with piano accompaniment, including 8-bar periods and variations on a simple theme.

Theory Level 3 (Intermediate/Advanced)
Level 3 theory is designed as an intermediate-advanced level course. These students are already capable of reading and understanding written music. Ear training includes sight-reading more complex rhythms and sight-reading melodies in different keys. The students familiarize themselves with compound meter, syncopations, minor scales, more advanced diatonic harmony, and the identification of all intervals. Their composition assignments are more advanced, and they learn to compose variations on a more complex theme.

Will students be with others their own age?

Each student takes a short placement test before enrolling in theory. Classes are grouped by age and level to keep students of similar abilities together.

What if our schedule conflicts with class times?

Theory classes are typically held on Saturdays, but we recognize that many students might also be participating in lessons, orchestra, ensembles, or other programs. Our instructors take student availability into consideration to make sure as many students can participate as possible. If no class time works with your schedule, another option is to consider private theory lessons.

Still have questions?

Beginning Students

Schedule: Sundays 4:45 - 5:45 PM

Location: 160 Lexington - Room 103


Dates: Sep 17 - Jan 14