AP Music Theory


Online for 2012-2013 School Year


Instructor: Mrs. Melissa Makin


Email: phaa.apmusictheory@gmail.com




The AP Music Theory course is equal to a first year college-level music theory course, covering the material from two separate courses: first semester written skills and first semester aural skills. Within the course, students will study elements of music such as rhythm, notation, sight-singing, rhythmic dictation, keyboard harmony and part-writing all within the historical “common practice period” (18th-19th centuries). Students will study written skills on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and aural skills on Tuesdays and Thursdays. There are two goals for this class: 1) that students would be prepared to take the AP Music Theory exam, and 2) that students would have a lifelong ability to understand and appreciate music.




·         Clendinning, Jane Piper, and Elizabeth West Marvin. 2011. The Musician’s Guide to Theory and Analysis (Second Edition). New York: W.W. Norton.

·         Clendinning, Jane Piper, and Elizabeth West Marvin. 2011. Workbook for The Musician’s Guide to Theory and Analysis (Second Edition). New York. W.W. Norton.

·         Anthology for The Musician’s Guide to Theory and Analysis (Second Edition).

·         Crowell, Benjamin. Eyes and Ears: An Anthology of Melodies for Sight-Singing. (http://www.lightandmatter.com/sight/sight.html). If you download this text, it is free. If you wish to have it in paper form, you can order it for a minimal fee.

·         AP Music Theory Practice Test: this will be ordered in the second semester, and costs about $5.00.




  • MacGamut6 for Mac and Windows. This ear-training software program must be purchased online ($40.00) from http://www.macgamut.com
  • Adobe Reader: the most recent version of Adobe reader can be downloaded for free from http://www.adobe.com
  • Scanner and scanning software that facilitates collating multiple pages into a single file as a .pdf file.
  • Skype. This is a free program available for download at http://www.skype.com (this is for live chats/testing over the internet).
  • Computer microphone
  • An audio program to record your voice and send to me as a file via email.







  • High speed internet. Phone lines or satellite will not accommodate the musical files and graphics used in this class.
  • Operating systems: Windows XP, Vista, or Windows







Since this course covers the equivalent of two college classes, students can expect to spend about 10-15 hours a week on the material. Mastery of the concepts will only come with continuous student and effort. The “bottom line” is that you will get out of this course what you put into it. Also, the time you spend may be different from week to week, depending on how fast you grasp a concept.




·         Every week you will email me your homework. It must be:

a.       All pages condensed to one .pdf file

b.      All pages correct side up (not upside down, sideways, etc).

  • Late homework will have points deducted. I am not responsible for homework that is lost in the “mail.” I will always respond to homework emails that you send me to let you know that I received your files.
  • If you do not get that email from me, then I did not receive your work.
  • I am not responsible for homework that is not completed. I do my best to check homework within the week after it is turned in, (grading everything at once) and I then send you a grade sheet of your total score. I cannot check your homework when you turn it in to make sure that you finished everything you were supposed to finish. That is your responsibility.
  • I give you a good amount of homework each week; however, I choose certain portions to grade. You do not know which parts I will pick, so you must complete all the work.
  • If you have any questions, you may email me, and I will answer you as soon as I can.
  • If you all behind, it will be difficult to catch up. Stay on the schedule!
  • If you know that you will be missing work (due to travel, vacation, etc), please let me know ahead of time. You must be able to do the assignments before or during the absence. In special circumstances, I may let you make it up after the absence.
  • If you want to make corrections on already graded homework, you must ask me first before turning it in, and it will be at my discretion. I usually let you fix things for a re-grade if there are major problems.
  • All homework is due by Monday night at midnight (EST) of the week after it is given. Since this class is online, and I cannot proctor your written tests, you are expected to be honest with all your work. I assume you are not cheating.


Remember, you will ultimately get out of this class what you put into it, and you cannot cheat on the actual AP Exam! Finally, relax, enjoy the class and have a good time learning theory. Others have done it, and you can too! J




This course is for 11th and 12th grade students who love music, are currently involved in formal music instruction such as choir, band, orchestra and or/private music lessons, and who may also wish to major or minor in music on the college or university level. Ninth or tenth graders who are interested in the class should contact the teacher and will be considered individually.




  • Piano or keyboard skills equivalent to a second year of piano study
  • Successful completion of the qualifying exam
  • Teacher approval


Contact me for the qualifying exam. The exam will cover the basic elements of music (such as pitch names, major and minor scales, intervals, etc), as well as some other advanced musical concepts.




  • $700.




I have a B.M. (Bachelor of Music) degree from Moravian College in Bethlehem, PA, with a double-major in Music Education and Music Composition. I also earned a M.M. (Master of Music) degree in Music Education with a concentration in Music Technology from West Chester University, West Chester, PA. I was a full-time music teacher at a Performing Arts Charter High School for three years, and also taught private piano and beginning guitar lessons for several years. This will be my third year teaching online AP Music Theory. Out of the 11 students who took the exam for the 2010-2011 school year, 1 of them received a 4, and the other 10 received a 5 (1 is the lowest, 5 is the highest). Most schools accept a 3 or above for credit).  My second-year students will take the test in May of 2012.




As an online class, this course will run differently than a “live” course would run. Much of the progress a student makes will be dependent on that individual student. For written work, after receiving a homework assignment, students will read the material in the textbook, complete the workbook pages, and return the completed work to the teacher for a grade. Quizzes and exams will be able to either be taken online or downloaded by the student, printed out, completed, scanned into a .pdf file, and returned to the teacher. Score analysis assignments will also be given using the anthology textbook.


For aural, rhythmic and dictation work, students will advance their skills by using the MacGamut6  software program for drills and repetition of music theory concepts. This will be individual work done by a student. For grades, students will send in their completed MacGamut6 files to the teacher. For sight-singing work, students will use both handouts from the instructor, as well as exercises from the Crowell book, Eyes and Ears. Skype will be utilized for sight-singing assessments.


At the end of the course, the students will each purchase a released copy of a previous AP Music Theory exam to complete in preparation for the actual test.


If a student needs additional tutoring in the class, I will suggest an online teaching assistant (it will be a former student of mine). If I think that the student is still not making progress, I will contact you and ask you to find a personal, “live” tutor. Some students just need some extra one-on-one help by sitting down with an individual to have something explained. I cannot personally tutor every student in the class, but I do “look out” for all of my students and make an effort to make sure everyone receives help if it is needed.




Students will be evaluated on their learning progress based on quizzes and exams administered throughout the course. The goal is to have students master the material. Special assignments may be added if the teacher sees it fit to add to the previous assignments, or to give students an opportunity to improve their grades.




  • Benward, Bruce and J. Timothy Kolosick: Ear Training: A Technique for Listening. 6th ed. McGraw-Hill, 2000
  • Berkowitz, Sol, Gabriel Fontrier and Leo Kraft. A New Approach to Sight-Singing. 4th ed. W.W. Norton & Company, 1997
  • Kostka, Stefan and Dorothy Payne. Tonal Harmony. 4th ed. McGraw-Hill, 2000.
  • Ottman, Robert W. Music for Sight-Singing. 4th ed. Prentice Hall, 1996
  • Scoggin, Nancy. Barron’s AP Music Theory. Barron’s, 2010
  • Nowak, Jerry. Harmony in Common Practice. 2010


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