AP Music Theory
On-Line for the 2019-2020 School Year
Teacher: Hannah Jackson
Congratulations to our 2018-2019 class for earning an average score of 4.5 on the AP Music Theory exam!
COURSE DATES: Sept 3-May 22, with the following breaks: Nov 25-29, Dec 23-Jan 3, and a Spring Break (TBD).
The AP exam will take place on Wednesday, May 13, 2020, 12:00 noon.
COURSE FEE for Credit:
- $675 (before July 1st, when the fee will increase to $700)
COURSE FEE for Audit:
Note: This class is still accepting students for the 2019-2020 school year!
This course offers the equivalent of a first-year college course in music theory and aural skills. As such, it provides students with a grounding in the core concepts of music theory, including harmony, counterpoint, voice-leading, and musical structure, as well as competency in skills such as sight-singing, interval and chord recognition, and dictation. Students will learn to analyze a recording or musical score, to understand and appreciate the techniques of the composer as they relate to melody, harmony, phrase structure, and texture, and to describe these phenomena with a sophisticated musical vocabulary. We will focus on Western tonal music of the common practice period (more specifically, the music of the Baroque through early Romantic eras), as this is the music that generated and best exemplifies the theory concepts covered in this class.
The course will prepare students to take the College Board AP Music Theory exam. Students who do well on this exam are in a position to receive college credit, and/or placement in a higher-level music theory class in college (depending on the policy of the individual college/university).
WHO SHOULD APPLY?
- High school students who are prepared to do college-level work, have a background in music, and are currently engaged in some sort of formal music instruction (private instrumental/vocal lessons, choir, orchestra, etc.) The students who succeed in this course are disciplined and self-driven, able to handle a substantial amount of homework each week, and motivated by hunger for understanding.
- Music literacy—fluency in at least one clef—is a required prerequisite for success in this class.
- Access to a piano, though not required, will be very helpful for students taking AP Music Theory. Basic piano skills—at a minimum, the ability to play scales in different keys—will also be a great asset to students in this class.
- We do a lot of singing in the aural skills labs. Students need not have prior vocal training, but need to be willing to sing for me and for each other.
- Prior to registration, students need to submit an entrance exam and an application. Contact me at email@example.com to receive these documents.
COURSE OVERVIEW and FORMAT:
This class is structured around two core components: written theory and aural skills.
Coursework for the written theory component includes listening to prerecorded online lectures, weekly textbook reading and homework assignments (worksheets, listening/analysis, and/or composition assignments), and occasional posts on the class discussion board. Aural skills (singing, dictation, and ear-training) are practiced in weekly small-group "lab" sessions (schedule, based on student availability, TBD once registration is finalized). Students also practice these items independently throughout the week.
Students are tested throughout the year via quizzes and module exams, aural skills assessments, and midterm and final exams, and complete a final project (analysis or composition) in the Spring.
THE AUDIT OPTION:
Students who wish to learn the content without the pressure and time commitment of enrolling in the class may choose to audit. This allows access to the website, syllabus, lectures, and multiple-choice exams—basically anything posted on the website. The audit option does not include participation in labs or other live class sessions, nor does it include any feedback or grades. However, I can recommend materials to students to use for independent aural skills practice.
- Time Commitment and Expectations:
- Students should expect to invest up to 10 hours/week in this class.
- Attendance: Students are required to attend their weekly assigned lab session, ready to participate. If a student must miss their usual session, I will do my best to reschedule them for another session during the week.
- Timeliness: Due to the cumulative nature of the course material, I have a strict policy when it comes to timely completion of work. If a student needs an extension, he or she must request it before the assignment deadline. For any extension longer than one week, I require a notification from the parent. After two weeks, unsubmitted work automatically receives a 0%.
- Feedback and Communication:
- As a rule, I grade and return assignments to students within one week.
- I usually communicate directly with students regarding their assignments, but I welcome communication from parents. Please feel free to contact me with questions and concerns.
- I send students an update each weekend with their assignments for the upcoming week; parents may opt to receive this email as well.
- Clendinning, Jane Piper, and Elizabeth West Marvin. 2016. The Musician’s Guide to Theory and Analysis (Third Edition). New York: W.W. Norton. (New or used is fine.)
- Clendinning, Jane Piper, and Elizabeth West Marvin. 2016. Workbook for The Musician’s Guide to Theory and Analysis (Third Edition). New York. W.W. Norton.
- Buonviri, Nathan O. 2015. Building Better Dictation Skills. (If you buy used, make sure the accompanying CD is included.)
- High speed internet is a must for our weekly live lab sessions.
- Ability to scan and convert homework files to PDF format.
- Zoom, the free video-conferencing program we use for our live lab sessions.
- Webcam and mic; a headset with built-in microphone works best.
I hold a degree in music theory, with a concentration in viola performance, from Temple University. This will be my third year teaching AP Music Theory. As an instructor with PA Homeschoolers, I am grateful for the opportunity to study my favorite subject along with the brightest young intellects of the homeschooling community--I look forward to doing it again next year!
As the oldest sibling in a large homeschooling family and as a tutor, I also enjoy stretching my teaching “expertise” to include new subjects--at the moment, I'm working on Latin...! When I'm not teaching or grading, I enjoy hiking the trails along the Susquehanna River valley and playing board games with my siblings.
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