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Music Theory and Composition

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Music Theory and Composition
Craig Levesque, Department Head


Private Instruction

The Conservatory offers private instruction in theory, ear training (musicianship), and composition. Private instruction in theory and ear training is available to any student, and may be structured to prepare the student for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM), the Royal Conservatory Music Development Program (MDP), or the Advanced Placement (AP) exams. Prospective composition students are invited to take a short diagnostic test and interview to help determine the best course of study. There is a student composition recital in the spring where young composers are encouraged to share their work. Summer private lessons are available for those students wishing to continue their studies, or to begin the fall semester at a higher theory level.

The minimum age for study is 6 years. Materials fees not included.


Group Instruction

Westminster Conservatory offers a wide range of classes and ensembles to meet the needs of every student, from the beginner to the most advanced student, regardless of age. Some classes are intended as an introduction to music, and require no previous experience. Others are designed to complement private instruction.

Music Theory Classes

See below for class descriptions

Class Name Number of Classes
(per semester)
Class Length Tuition
(per semester)
Introduction to Music Theory
Age 7—10
16 45 minutes $288
Theory Class Level 1
Age 10 and up
16 45 minutes $288
Theory Class Level II
Age 11 and up
16 45 minutes $288
Theory Class Level III
Age 12 and up
16 45 minutes $288
Theory Class Level IV
Age 13 and up
16 45 minutes $288
Music Theory AP Prep
Age 15—18
14 55 minutes $294
Ear Training AP Prep
Age 15—18
14 30 minutes $147

Registration for classes is for the full academic year (most classes run 32 weeks per year). Class length is based upon minimum enrollment (3-person minimum for 45-minute class; 4-person minimum for 55-minute class). Some classes may be offered with a smaller enrollment by reducing the class length. In this case, the tuition remains the same.

  • Introduction to Music Theory
    Age 7–10

    Introduction to Music Theory is intended for students who have never studied music theory before and have limited experience with private instruction. Students will learn basic reading and writing skills, focusing on pitch, rhythm, and musical vocabulary. Fun and accessible, this class serves as a great introduction to the world of music theory and composition. Princeton location only.
  • Theory Class Level I
    Age 10 and Up

    In Theory 1, the focus of the class is on the fundamental building blocks of musical language. Students will learn the basics of reading and writing music and music analysis. Students will be prepared to take the Royal Conservatory Music Development Program (MDP) exam or the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) exam. Materials and optional exam fees are not included. Placement test required. Princeton location only.
  • Theory Class Level II
    Age 11 and Up
    Theory 2 begins to integrate the basic elements of theory into the study of more complicated harmonies, melodies, rhythms, and compositions. Students begin to focus on composition and analysis in a more comprehensive way, as they learn to understand the form and structure of music in a more sophisticated manner. Students will be prepared to take the Royal Conservatory Music Development Program (MDP) exam or the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) exam. Materials and optional exam fees are not included. Placement test required. Princeton location only.
  • Theory Class Level III
    Age 12 and Up
    Theory 3 continues to explore the skills and concepts covered in previous levels and introduces functional harmony, part writing, and music analysis. There is an increased focus on composition, as students learn to write and harmonize simple melodies. Students will be prepared to take the Royal Conservatory Music Development Program (MDP) exam or the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) exam. Materials and optional exam fees are not included. Placement test required. Princeton location only.
  • Theory Class Level IV
    Age 13 and Up

    Theory 4 begins to deal with form and harmony in earnest, and prepares students for the challenges of the Advanced Placement courses. The focus shifts further toward music from the classical repertoire as students analyze more complicated forms, and a greater emphasis is placed on Roman numerals and figured bass. Students will be prepared to take the Royal Conservatory Music Development Program (MDP) exam or the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) exam. Materials and optional exam fees are not included. Placement test required. Princeton location only.
  • Music Theory Advanced Placement Prep
    Age 15–18

    The Conservatory offers a two-year course to prepare high school students for the Advanced Placement exam in music theory. Students may begin in year two upon completion of an equivalency exam. Class focus is on voice-leading, analysis, and advanced harmony. Please note that the Conservatory does not administer the AP exam; students must take it through their respective school district. Materials and optional exam fees are not included. Princeton location only.
  • Ear Training Advanced Placement Prep
    Age 15-18

    Ear Training is the companion class to Music Theory Advanced Placement Prep and is open to students taking either AP Prep 1 or 2. Designed to prepare students for the aural portion of the Advanced Placement exam, the curriculum focuses on sight singing, melodic dictation, harmonic dictation, and aural interpretation of recorded scores. Princeton location only.

Musicianship Faculty
Michael Green
Ikumi Hiraiwa
Julia Kovalev
Craig Levesque
Teresa Lim
Carmen Mateiescu
Chase Morrison
Cecelia Reilly
Jessica Rey-de-Castro
William Sheibinger
AnnaLotte Smith
Timothy Urban
Richard Woo
Kevin Willois