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Theory/History

 
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How Music Works

Have you played or sung for years, but always wanted to better understand the music? In this introduction to music theory, unlock the mystery of music. Topics include reading fluency (pitch/rhythm notation, pitch/rhythm reading and dictation), basic keyboard skills, major/minor scale construction, triadic and seventh chord constructions, circle of fifths, basic chord progressions, some music writing, and YOUR questions that you’ve always wanted answered. This class is designed for theory beginners - those with reading experience in one clef only, pianists and singers with minimal theory background, guitarists who read only tab, as well as those who want to brush up on the basics. For questions on placement, please contact us.

  • 8 weeks
  • No cost for UVMC individual lesson and Suzuki students*
  • Ages 16 and up
  • Thursdays 10:00 am - 12:00 pm; Fall: Sept. 21 - Nov. 9; Spring: Apr 5 - May 31
  • Faculty: Jane Woods
  • Minimum Enrollment: 4     

 
Putting Together the Puzzle of Musical Style

“Why does Mozart sound different than Bach?” Using Bruce Adolf’s “Piano Puzzlers” as a starting point, we will investigate how the elements of melody, rhythm, and harmony combine to create distinct compositional styles. Some background in Music Theory is recommended.

  • 8 weeks
  • No cost for UVMC individual lesson and Suzuki students*
  • Ages 16 and up
  • Thursdays 10:00 am - 12:00 pm; Spring: Feb. 1 - Mar. 29
  • Faculty: Jane Woods
  • Minimum Enrollment: 4

 

Preparing to Hear Masterworks

The Hopkins Center’s 2017-18 performing arts season features many great works of music performed by the world’s finest artists. In these 4-week mini-classes, we will focus on one concert program. Through careful listening, some score perusal, and a bit of supplementary reading, our understanding and appreciation of these works will grow and deepen.

 

The Emerson String Quartet presents late works by Mozart and Beethoven on September 30; Musicians from Marlboro pair an early string trio of Beethoven with a late quintet for clarinet and string quartet by Brahms on January 24; and pianist Inon Barnatan offers a program of “Moments Musicaux” which includes exquisite sets of short works by Schubert and Rachmaninoff. In addition, each program includes recent compositions by contemporary composers.

 

In the Emerson program, we will plumb the riches of both Mozart’s “Hunt” Quartet and Beethoven’s incomparable c#-minor quartet, op. 131—and we will consider the extraordinary stylistic distance which separates these works. The Marlboro program includes gems of Beethoven’s early style, while Brahms’s op. 115 clarinet offers the intimate reflections of a self-assured master in the midst of a creative renaissance. Barnatan’s solo piano program includes the sublime Moments Musicaux, which reveals different aspects of Schubert’s musical personality, and intimate the melancholy richness suffusing the composer’s piano sonatas and songs; it is fascinating to mark Rachmaninoff’s comparably delicate miniatures of 1896. Each class will hold its final meeting after the concert to offer a chance to synthesize the material and discuss the performance. 

  • Prior musical experience, though welcome, is not a prerequisite for these classes.

  • 4 weeks each session

  • Adult

  • No cost for UVMC individual lesson students*

  • Emerson String Quartet: 4 Thursdays, 1:30 – 3:30 pm, Sept 14, 21, 28, Oct 5

  • Musicians from Marlboro: 4 Thursdays, 1:30 – 3:30 pm, Jan 4, 11, 18, 25

  • Inon Barnatan: 4 Thursdays, Apr 5, 1:30 – 3:30 pm, 12, 19, 26

  • Faculty: Mark Nelson

  • Minimum Enrollment: 5
     

Special Topic - Roomful of Teeth 

The world of contemporary music is colorful and wildly eclectic.  Composers work in myriad styles, genres, and idioms; music from disparate traditions is often imported, annealed and transmuted.  Given its wide range and technical complexity, such music can seem inscrutable.  How can lay listeners engage it constructively?  Focusing on an exciting upcoming concert, this brief 2-week class offers pathways towards listening and understanding.

  • 2 Tuesdays, 1:30 – 3:30 pm, Jan 4, 11

  • Faculty: Mark Nelson

  • Minimum Enrollment: 5


Music Theory for Performers

Music theory illuminates the grammar of music.  It examines the vocabulary of music—scales, keys, intervals, triads—and explores the principles underlying the interplay of these basic building blocks in a musical work.  An accomplished composer wields these tools deftly and imaginatively.  Music theory gives us an appreciation of the composer’s choices and strategies; it helps us to understand what makes music marvelous. This course is designed for students currently studying an instrument or voice, with at least two years of experience and note reading skills.

  • 14 Weeks
  • No cost for UVMC individual lesson and Suzuki students*
  • Ages 11 and up
  • Wednesdays 3:45 – 4:45 pm; Fall: Sept. 13 - Jan. 10; Spring: Jan 31 - May 6
  • Faculty: Mark Nelson
  • Minimum Enrollment: 3  

Music Theory Skill Builders

Sharpen your musical skills with four classes focusing on rhythm or pitch skills. Improve your accuracy and/or fluency in reading musical notation to become a better sight reader and more independent performer. Classes will review basics, introduce new challenges, and address requests of participants.


Got Rhythm? “But I WAS counting!”  -- This class includes strategies, exercises and drills for mastering a variety of rhythm patterns and meters.

 

Pitch Perfect “How did my teacher/conductor know I sang/played Bb instead of B natural?”-- Improve your ability to sing acappella or play better in tune by developing your ear and pitch awareness through sight-singing/solfege and listening exercises.

  • 4 weeks
  • Dates and times TBA
  • No cost for UVMC individual lesson and Suzuki students*
  • Ages 16 and up
  • Faculty: Jane Woods

 

*Must be enrolled in a full 16-week term of lessons