Course Syllabus


Jon Sale – Director of Bands

704-764-2900 school phone

This course will provide students the opportunity to further their musical education by examining the development and structural makeup of Western music in depth. Students, through visual and aural analysis as well as creative expression, will develop a solid foundation of musical knowledge that will help them develop into analytical listeners and creative appreciators of music in a variety of settings. The goal of this class is to teach students to have educated conversations about music and to critically examine music to define its aesthetic, artistic, and personal value. Additionally, this course will use an ear training curriculum (including sight singing) to put music theory into common practice. This course serves as a prerequisite for AP Music Theory.

Textbook and Supplies

The following texts will be used for instruction of this course (provided by the school):

  • Kostka, Stefan, and Dorothy Payne. Tonal Harmony, 6th ed. New York: McGraw‐Hill, 2009.
  • Krueger, Carol. Progressive Sight Singing, 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.

Each student is required to have the following additional supplies:

  • A sharpened pencil with useable eraser – (Mechanical is Strongly Encouraged)
    • Work completed in Pen will not be accepted in Music Theory and will result in a grade of 0.
  • Three Ring Binder.  
    • Page protectors and/or tab dividers are not required, but some students may find them useful for organization.
  • Staff Paper
    • While you may purchase a premade notebook of staff paper, free resources are available online to print staff paper.
  • Paper for taking notes

Other Materials will be provided for students to use in class.

Objectives of the Course

  1. Musical Terminology and Notational Skills
    1. Notate and identify pitch in treble, bass, alto and tenor clefs
    2. Notate, hear and identify simple and compound meters
    3. Notate and identify all major and minor key signatures
    4. Notate, hear and identify major, minor (all three forms), chromatic, pentatonic, and whole tone scales
    5. Name and recognize scale degree terms
    6. Notate and visually identify the authentic forms of Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, and Locrian Modes 
    7. Notate, hear and identify all intervals inclusive of an octave
    8. Notate, hear and identify triads and seventh chords including inversions
    9. Define and identify common tempo and expression markings
  2. Compositional Skills
    1. Compose a bass line for a given melody to create simple two‐part counterpoint
    2. Realize a figured bass
    3. Realize a four‐part progression from Roman and Arabic numerals
    4. Complete arrangements and compositions for transposing instruments
    5. Use notational software to aid in the completion of arrangements, compositions, and realizations
  3. Score Analysis
    1. Identify authentic, plagal, half, Phrygian half, deceptive cadences in major and minor keys
    2. Identify the following nonharmonic tones: passing tone and neighboring tones
    3. Small‐scale and large‐scale harmonic procedures, including: identification of cadence types, Roman‐numeral and figured‐bass analysis, and identification of key centers
    4. Melodic organization and developmental procedures, including: scale types, modes, melodic patterning and motivic development/relationships (inversion, retrograde, sequence, imitation, etc.)
    5. Rhythmic/metric organization, including: meter type, beat type and rhythmic devices/procedures
    6. Texture identification, including: types (monophony, homophony, polyphony) and devices (textural inversion, imitation)
  4. Aural Skills
    1. Error detection in written music from given aural excerpts
    2. Melodic dictation
    3. Sight‐singing
    4. Recognition of nonharmonic tones
    5. Recognition of intervals, scales, chord sonority
    6. Simple Harmonic dictation
    7. Identification of the following processes and materials in the context of music literature: melodic organization, harmonic organization, tonal organization, meter and rhythmic patterns, instrumentation, texture and formal procedures.

Grading Policy

Each 6-week’s, student grades will be calculated through totaling points acquired from the following categories:

 Daily Grade (5 Points Daily)

The daily grade is based participation in class.  Each day, a student will gain 5 points toward his/her final grade if he/she participate correctly. Daily grades may be based solely on participation or may be assigned for completion of an informal assessment. In the latter case, incorrect responses on an informal assessment may be corrected and returned as many times as necessary to gain all points possible.

Classwork/Homework (10 Points per Assignment)

Classwork/Homework will be assigned to help supplement student learning. Additionally, classwork/homework may help students work toward school wide academic goals. These assignments will be worth 10 points when assigned. Late work in this area will only be accepted if the student is absent from school or if arrangements are made before the date that homework is due. Some homework assignments will be considered mastery assignments. These assignments will provide students with tasks and a mastery level that must be accomplished. Once this level is accomplished, full credit for the assignment (10 points) will be given.

Weekly Quizzes (20 Points each)

Weekly quizzes will be given in class each Friday except the final Friday of the Term. Quizzes may be assigned on all aspects of the written and aural skills curriculum. Two quizzes may be assigned on the same day if one quiz measures primarily written skills and one quiz measures aural skills. In this case, each quiz will be worth 20 points. Quizzes must be corrected and returned or retaken until a student achieves a grade of 80 or above.

Term Exams (100 Points each)

A term exam will be given in class the final Friday of each grading period. This exam will contain both written (45%), aural (45%), and sight singing (10%) components. This exam will contain information that has been covered previously in the course.

Composition Projects (100 Points each)

Each six weeks, a composition project will be assigned incorporating all aspects of what has been learned during the six week period. This project will be due the Friday before the term exam.

Behavior Guidelines

  • Be prepared for class and in your chair with all materials when the teacher or other instructor/sub/student leader begins class. This is generally 2 minutes after the tardy bell
  • Bottled Water is the only food/drink permitted during class.
  • Respect director, staff, students, subs, and chaperones at all times.
  • Raise your hand to speak or ask to leave your seat.
  • Take care of classroom equipment (i.e. keyboard, music stand) as if it were your own.

If a student is severely disruptive, he/she may be referred to the office immediately.  In certain situations, other school professionals may be contacted with regard to student behaviors. Specifically, any instances of bullying, injury to self or others, or destruction of school property will be referred directly to administration.


  • Verbal warning from director & point deductions from rehearsal grade
  • Parent Contact
  • Office Referral (maximum of 3 per year), parent conference
  • Office Referral, parent conference, possible dismissal from band

Tardies (see PWHS student handbook for school policy)

A student is considered TARDY if he/she/they are not in the band room prior to the tardy bell OR are not in their designated area or seat with proper equipment 2 minutes after the school tardy bell.  .

Restroom/Leaving Classroom

Students should plan to use the restroom before class begins.  There are restrooms located in the band room.  Only one student at a time should be waiting to use the restroom.  In other words, do not line up by the restroom doors.  As long as class is not disrupted, students may use the restroom at their own discretion.  Please do your best to limit the amount of time spent in the restroom during class. Consistently using the restroom for significant amounts of time each day during class will result in a conversation with parents regarding student health concerns. Students should help maintain an orderly appearance in the by throwing trash in the appropriate containers and notifying the director of any problems with the restrooms.

Students must ask permission to leave the classroom. Leaving class without asking the band director will result in an office referral for “skipping class”. Please inform Mr. Sale of any planned time that you need to leave the classroom prior to the beginning of class.

Tentative Course Pacing Guide

A pacing guide will be added to this syllabus at the beginning of the second semester.

Course Summary:

Date Details Due