AP Music Theory allows students the opportunity gain a deep and rigorous understanding of what makes music music. At KO, creative arts teacher Wayne Pierce teaches the class. “The class teaches them how music is notated, it’s melody, it teaches them to be able to look at music and understand its composition. The overall goal of music theory is to give them [students] a deeper understanding of music, how it is noted, constructing [it], how it its composed and performed, and to understand the concept of music from different time periods,” he said.
Dr. Pierce said he believes that if students who like to perform music are able to break it apart, and understand it with a greater level of interest, it will make them better listeners, performs and patrons of music. The class is open to anybody, but requires a basic ability to read music right off the start. Dr. Pierce said that like any other AP class, you wouldn’t go in there with no previous knowledge; but music theory allows for a more diverse background as compared to other AP courses. Nevertheless, Dr. Pierce said that AP music theory is an intensive course and a lot is expected of the students.
Dr. Pierce said that similar to other AP courses, the goal of music theory is to give students an intensive workload, but it also differs in many ways. For example, the AP exam has listening and signing portions and requires students to just see a few examples of line, and to be able to hum and sing those notes of the music. “It is a performance skill that no other AP has, there is an unique capacity, it increases musicianship and makes people better musicians,” he said.
Dr. Pierce said that the class size this year is small, and it’s mostly due to the small number of students who are at the AP music level. “Well, I am working hard to try to continue the interest in the class, it adds to the richness of the arts curriculum,” he said.
Senior Calvin Beck is taking the class this year and finds it relatively hard. The aspect of the class that he find challenging is having to remember the different rules and how all the music works together. “I feel like it’s more challenging, because you have to know music and information, you have to know how to apply it,” he said.
He said that the class is a cumulative class and the material that is learned in the beginning of the year is added onto material through the rest of the year and the students are required to know all of it by the end of the year. “AP music theory is for people who are really interested in music, for more people who are interested in music and want to play in college,” he said. “It will give me a better understanding of music, most college require it or give you a music test to see where you are theory wise.”
Overall, Calvin said that someone with no musical background or experience will find the class harder. Calvin said that due to the small size of the class, they learn at a fast past, but despite that, Calvin find the class to be fun and interesting.