Written Theory

Theory is the key to understanding how music works! Theory and history are incorporated into all piano programs, and students are assigned written work from their first lesson. For students requiring theory co-requisites for the Royal Conservatory of Music program, I currently offer instruction and exam preparation in the following courses.

Subjects and Levels

These levels are co-requisites for RCM instrumental levels 5-8. The topics covered provide the foundation for music writing: rhythm and time signatures; scales, triads, and key signatures; intervals; transposition; basic analysis; musical terms; and an introduction to history/music appreciation.
Keyboard harmony incorporates all the principles of written harmony, but is played on the piano instead of written on an exam paper. Students benefit from being able to hear what they are creating, while also learning how to play by ear and improvise. Please note: Students preparing for an RCM exam take their exam during the practical sessions in June.
Harmony is a co-requisite for RCM levels 9 and up. Harmony takes the elements learned in Intermediate Theory and uses them to write and harmonize melodies, with a focus on the four-part writing style of J.S. Bach. Students learn the principles of chord voicings and good voice leading, as well as how to analyze various musical structures.
Students learn how to provide harmonic and structural analyses of fugues, sonatas, art songs, and several other musical forms. This course works very well when studied concurrently with ARCT Harmony as many concepts from ARCT Harmony are used in Analysis.
History is a co-requisite for RCM levels 9 and up. Level 9 is an overview of Baroque, Classical, Romantic and Modern eras. Level 10 focuses on the Middle Ages to the Classical eras. ARCT History focuses on the 19th century to present day, including Canadian composers. Students will study composers' lives and times, as well as listen and study selected works from each composer.

Scheduling, Payment & Cancellations

  • Exam sessions are December, May, and August. Keyboard harmony exams are currently only offered during the June practical session.
  • No lessons will be scheduled during the Christmas and March Breaks, and statutory holidays. Parents and students can check dates posted on the studio calendar.
  • Tuition is based on a set program of private lessons. Most theory courses can be completed in weekly 30-minute lessons, running from September to the May/June exam session. Accelerated or compressed courses require 45- or 60-minute lessons, and more lessons per week. Private lesson rates are based on $52/h. The monthly lesson fee is calculated by the length and number of lessons per term, divided evenly over the number of months of study.
  • Reschedules and Cancellations – When you register, you are reserving the same weekly lesson time in the studio schedule for the entire year. My ability to reschedule lessons is dependent on another student’s cancellation and adequate advance notice. One week’s notice is required if a student wishes to be placed on the wait list for any upcoming cancellations.
  • Withdrawal from lessons – One month’s paid notice must be given in writing if a student wishes to withdraw partway through the course.

A complete studio policy and lesson and payment schedule will be provided before the course start.

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