Theory + Composition



Fundamentals of Musicianship
(Beginner to Intermediate)

The Fundamentals of Musicianship workshop is suited for musicians at any level who are interested in deepening their aural understanding while listening to, playing, or writing music. Through the workshop, students will be given the tools to strengthen their ears in order to translate imagined or heard sound into concrete and communicable terms. This is done primarily through the practice of solfège – a time-honored syllable-based method of learning and articulating pitch that dates back to the 11th century. A similar syllable-based approach to understanding rhythm will be taken, along with an explanation of how time is expressed in western notation. Taken together, this training will facilitate forays into composition, improvisation, and singing. The material covered in this workshop intentionally avoids traditional pitch notation in order to be as inclusive for as many levels as possible. Thus both those with and without experience reading music are welcome.

How (some) Music Works 
(intermediate to advanced)

How (some) Music Works is a workshop intended to bridge musicians’ understanding of the physics of how sounds works (acoustics) and how it manifests through a wide variety of genres in western music.  The workshop begins with an exploration into the subjective labels of consonance vs. dissonance, and how the distinction between these two labels can be traced to the naturally occurring properties of sound. Under the umbrella of this topic, connections are drawn to such facets of music as timbre, rhythm, and harmony.

By examining how music has developed on a global scale in parallel with, and in some cases in spite of natural acoustics, students will develop an understanding of why certain music sounds the way it does. This groundwork will provide students with a deeper context for their own listening and playing, as well as provide tools for exploring new modes of composition. It is not required that students in this workshop be able to read music, though parts of the class will be taught using western notation.