Music Theory & Composition
Third Street’s Center for Music Theory & Composition provides a complete course of study for music theory and composition. Courses are open to Third Street students and others throughout the New York City region.
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Important enrollment information:
- Students enrolled in composition or who are studying instruments or voice at Third Street can take theory at a discounted rate
- All instrumental and voice students learn and improve their note-reading skills while taking music theory. Students apply these skills in their group classes, ensembles and lessons.
- We welcome students who are at least 7-years-old through adults of all ages.
- Students who have studied one year or more of an instrument/voice may enroll in a music theory class.
- Classes are offered six days per week with ten levels of instruction to meet the needs of every student.
- Students successfully completing Third Street’s theory courses are prepared to pass official Royal Conservatory exams through the Music Development Program. It is anticipated that in later levels students successfully completing the curriculum could pass AP Music Theory and college theory entrance exams.
Placement: All new students must take a placement test at the Student Services Office. No appointment is necessary. For returning students, placement is determined by successfully passing the appropriate theory exam given at the end of the previous year.
Music Theory, the study of how music works, is an important part of every music student’s education, helping improve note-reading and overall understanding of music. Based on the curriculum of the Royal Conservatory of Music, Third Street provides a complete course of study in music theory and composition, consisting of small classes for students ages 7 and older with one year of experience in voice or instrument lessons. Students who successfully complete Third Street’s upper-level theory courses will be prepared for AP Music Theory and college theory entrance exams.
- THEORY I: Preparatory Rudiments
- THEORY II: Beginning Rudiments
- THEORY III: Intermediate Rudiments
- THEORY IV: Advanced Rudiments
- THEORY V: Preparatory Harmony
- THEORY VI: Beginning Harmony
- THEORY VII: Intermediate Harmony
- THEORY VIII: Counterpoint
- THEORY IX: Advanced Harmony
- THEORY X: Analysis
A complete syllabus is available online here.
Ages 8 and up
Students learn to create original music in contemporary and classical styles and present their work in performances during the school year. A fully-equipped technology lab helps students learn to compose using software like Sibelius and Finale in a workshop environment. Students interested in composition must first complete one year of music theory and continue to study theory to be eligible.
Each class is limited to six students. The prerequisite for composition is a minimum of one year of music study and one year of music theory. Students must read notes fluently. A theory class is included in the tuition for all composition classes and is required. Tuition also includes a performance and a recording of the student’s work.
Beginning Composition, Composition, and Advanced Composition Workshops
Beginning students learn the basics of software notation as well as strategies in music composition to compose short pieces for several instruments. Intermediate and advanced composition students apply the skills they’ve learned in previous courses in larger and more elaborate forms; composing for larger ensembles and developing technical skill and personal flair.
Jazz Theory and Improvisation
A firm footing in jazz theory, performance, and improvisation provides an excellent background for musicians interested in putting a personal spin on any type of music they play.