Music Theory

Music theory at the Community School of Performing Arts is a singing-based curriculum designed to enhance and support instrumental and vocal study through active engagement and kinesthetic exploration. From pre-reading exposure classes to 20th century atonality, music theory classes deepen understanding of the musical process and strengthen artistic expression and performance.

Music theory and Dalcroze classes are designed to be taken simultaneously or one at a time to accommodate each individual’s pace and progress. In the same way, upper level music theory classes are compatible with simultaneous compositional study as well as advanced Dalcroze Rhythmic Solfege study.

Music Theory Group Classes

Prior to enrollment, students complete an assessment test to determine which class(es) would be most appropriate. Evaluations are normally done in the fall, and enrollment is assumed to be a year-long commitment. At the end of the year, continuing students are reevaluated so that faculty can advise them on appropriate choices for further study.

Music Theory Assessment

Email the completed assessment to cspa@colburnschool.edu.

This curriculum is designed to introduce basic components of music. Students learn major and minor scales, intervals, and triads. They also expand their ear training with aural recognition of the concepts studied in written theory. Students begin working on sight singing using solfege. Placement test is required prior to enrolling. Email the completed assessment to cspa@colburnschool.edu.

Click here for Placement Test

Instructor Ages Dates Days Times Fees
Kathy Sawada 9yr - 99yr 09/09 - 05/26 Th 04:00 pm - 04:55 pm $1090.00
Instructor Ages Dates Days Times Fees
Kathy Sawada 9yr - 99yr 09/11 - 05/28 Sa 11:00 am - 11:55 am $1090.00
Instructor Ages Dates Days Times Fees
Keren Schweitzer 9yr - 99yr 09/12 - 05/29 Su 02:00 pm - 02:55 pm $1090.00

This curriculum is designed to introduce basic components of music. Students learn major and minor scales, intervals, and triads. They also expand their ear training with aural recognition of the concepts studied in written theory. Students begin working on sight singing using solfege. Placement test is required prior to enrolling. Email the completed assessment to cspa@colburnschool.edu.

Click here for Placement Test

Instructor Ages Dates Days Times Fees
Kathy Sawada 9yr - 99yr 09/10 - 05/27 Fr 04:00 pm - 04:55 pm $1090.00

Making sure students progress in their understanding of music and playing skills is key to our curriculum development. To keep them moving forward, this class furthers students sight singing and dictation. New materials focus on seventh chords and their inversions as well as functional harmony and classification of common non-harmonic tones. Placement test is required prior to enrolling.Email the completed assessment to cspa@colburnschool.edu.

Click here for Placement Test

Instructor Ages Dates Days Times Fees
Kathy Sawada 10yr - 99yr 09/08 - 05/25 We 05:00 pm - 05:55 pm $1090.00
Instructor Ages Dates Days Times Fees
Kathy Sawada 10yr - 99yr 09/09 - 05/26 Th 05:00 pm - 05:55 pm $1090.00
Instructor Ages Dates Days Times Fees
Kathy Sawada 10yr - 99yr 09/11 - 05/28 Sa 01:00 pm - 01:55 pm $1090.00
Instructor Ages Dates Days Times Fees
Kathy Sawada 10yr - 99yr 09/14 - 05/24 Tu 06:00 pm - 06:55 pm $1090.00

Students in this class are ready to tackle more complex elements. Instruction incorporates diatonic harmony, functional analysis, and recognition of all non-harmonic tones. They’ll also learn about four-part harmony and analysis of simple Bach chorales. They’ll continue progressing in simple binary and ternary forms and concomitant ear training. Placement test is required prior to enrolling. Email the completed assessment to cspa@colburnschool.edu.

Click here for Placement Test

Instructor Ages Dates Days Times Fees
Kathy Sawada 10yr - 99yr 09/08 - 05/25 We 06:00 pm - 06:55 pm $1090.00
Instructor Ages Dates Days Times Fees
Kathy Sawada 10yr - 99yr 09/09 - 05/26 Th 06:00 pm - 06:55 pm $1090.00
Instructor Ages Dates Days Times Fees
Kathy Sawada 10yr - 99yr 09/11 - 05/28 Sa 02:00 pm - 02:55 pm $1090.00
Instructor Ages Dates Days Times Fees
Kathy Sawada 10yr - 99yr 09/13 - 05/23 Mo 05:00 pm - 05:55 pm $1090.00

Nonharmonic tones and 4 part writing is introduced. Secondary functions, modulation, Neopolitan chords and augmented sixth chords are analyzed, sung and written. Harmonic and melodic practice and dictation using fixed solfege of the subjects combined with progressively complex rhythmic patterns. Placement test is required prior to enrolling. Email the completed assessment to cspa@colburnschool.edu.

Click here for Placement Test

Instructor Ages Dates Days Times Fees
Kathy Sawada 10yr - 99yr 09/08 - 05/25 We 07:00 pm - 07:55 pm $1090.00
Instructor Ages Dates Days Times Fees
Kathy Sawada 10yr - 99yr 09/11 - 05/28 Sa 03:00 pm - 03:55 pm $1090.00
Instructor Ages Dates Days Times Fees
Kathy Sawada 10yr - 99yr 09/13 - 05/22 Mo 06:00 pm - 06:55 pm $1090.00

Once students have a firm understanding of diatonic harmony and elementary chromatic harmony, they’re ready to explore music theory at a deeper level. Class instruction centers around Neapolitan 6th chord, the augmented 6th chord, and altered chords. Teachers also discuss modulation to distant keys and enharmonic modulation. Students analytical skills are challenged with larger forms, such as sonata, theme and variations, and rondo and sonata-rondo form. Placement test is required prior to enrolling.  Email the completed assessment to cspa@colburnschool.edu.

Click here for Placement Test

Instructor Ages Dates Days Times Fees
Kathy Sawada 10yr - 99yr 09/13 - 05/22 Mo 07:00 pm - 07:55 pm $1090.00
Instructor Ages Dates Days Times Fees
Kathy Sawada 10yr - 99yr 09/09 - 05/26 Th 07:00 pm - 07:55 pm $1090.00

Moduation using procedures other than common-chord procedures. Phrase analysis, binary, rouded binary, ternary, sonata form. Enharmonic notation, modulation and analysis. Advanced Neopolitan and augmented sixth chords. Introduction to atonality. Sightsinging, composition, and dictation involving the above, including appropriate rhythmic practice. Placement test required prior to enrolling. Email the completed assessment to cspa@colburnschool.edu. 

Click here for Placement Test

Instructor Ages Dates Days Times Fees
Kathy Sawada 10yr - 99yr 09/14 - 05/24 Tu 07:00 pm - 07:55 pm $1090.00

Dalcroze

The Dalcroze philosophy relies on solfege, eurhythmics, and improvisation which lay the foundation for students serious about instrumental and vocal study. Class activities include vocal awareness, ear training, and sight-singing as well as rhythmic movement. Improvisational works unlock students’ innate musicality and develop musical security while a kinetic approach builds up “muscle memory”, a trait key to the spontaneous musician. Students’ own discovery in music brings joyful and powerful musicianship.

Dalcroze Placement

In-person assessments are required for younger students between the age of five and seven to determine readiness for Dalcroze Eurhythmics/Beginning Musicianship class as well as placement into Dalcroze II, III, or IV.

Please contact Mari Izumi at mizumi@colburnschool.edu to schedule an assessment.

Ideal for young students ages 5 – 7 years old who are just beginning to learn an instrument. New students, please contact Mari Izumi at mizumi@colburnschool.edu for an assessment prior to enrolling.

This class is for students to learn beginning musical concepts through a variety of kinetic activities with parents. The Dalcroze approach encourages students’ spontaneity and attentiveness. We train our whole body to respond to specific musical subjects including, but not limited to beat, subdivision, rests, phrase, simple and compound meter. Songs will be used as musical examples. One parent must participate with a student.

Instructor Ages Dates Days Times Fees
Mariko Izumi 5yr - 7yr 09/11 - 05/28 Sa 01:00 pm - 01:45 pm $1040.00

In this introductory Rhythmic Solfege, fixed “Do” syllables are used to indicate pitch, and numbers are used to indicate function. Furthermore, students explore simple vocal improvisation in order to develop a keen sense of pitch. The following subjects include, but are not limited to diatonic scales, triads, measure shape, and syncopation. Specific examples will be taken from musical literature.

Students may need to be assessed to ensure readiness for class, contact Mari Izumi at mizumi@colburnschool.edu prior to enrolling or discuss options with Ms. Sawada to continue in Elementary Music Theory IA. 

Instructor Ages Dates Days Times Fees
Mariko Izumi 7yr - 99yr 09/11 - 05/28 Sa 12:00 pm - 12:45 pm $1040.00

This class is designed to focus on “Rhythmic Solfege” – the study of inner hearing. Students will deepen their musicianship through Dalcroze solfege, rhythmic movement. Furthermore, the class focuses on vocal/instrumental improvisation based on materials learned in class. Advanced topics include augmentation/diminution, complementary rhythm, unequal beats, modes, and the pentatonic scale.

Students need access to the piano or their musical instrument for ear training and improvisation.

Students may need to be assessed to ensure readiness for class, contact Mari Izumi at mizumi@colburnschool.edu prior to enrolling or discuss options with Ms. Sawada to continue in Elementary Music Theory II. 

Instructor Ages Dates Days Times Fees
Mariko Izumi 9yr - 99yr 09/11 - 05/28 Sa 10:00 am - 10:55 am $1090.00

This class is specifically designed for Community School Suzuki string students to develop musical awareness through experience-based activities. Students gain active listening skills, rhythmic vitality, and a keen sense of pitch as well as coordination. Over the course of study, students internalize music which promotes confident and accurate music learning experiences. Specific examples will be taken from musical literature including the Suzuki repertoire. One parent must accompany a student.

This section is for students that have already taken at least one semester of Dalcroze for Suzuki. For more information, please contact Ms. Izumi at mizumi@colburnschool.edu

Instructor Ages Dates Days Times Fees
Mariko Izumi 6yr 6mo - 10yr 09/08 - 05/25 We 05:15 pm - 05:50 pm $488.00
Instructor Ages Dates Days Times Fees
Mariko Izumi 6yr 6mo - 10yr 09/08 - 05/25 We 06:00 pm - 06:35 pm $488.00

Composition

Composition lessons provide students with an outlet to explore their knowledge of music and create works of their own. These lessons are available to students who have completed the Intermediate II level of Music Theory, or its equivalent. Students work one-on-one with our accomplished faculty and have opportunities to share their work in studio classes and with Colburn ensembles.

Trombonist Elijah Alexander
I want to be able to effectively match my compositional voice with my technical voice on the trombone. Colburn has helped me with this especially, with the teachers helping me on gaining a stronger understanding of what I need to work on and what directions I should head in. Trombonist Elijah Alexander

Composition students at the Community School of Performing Arts have been recognized for their achievements, including being accepted to the Nancy and Barry Sanders Composer Fellowship Program at the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Private Lessons

To study composition with a private teacher, submit an inquiry form.