AP Music Theory
Dr. Rayburn
Classroom: M30
E-mail: [email protected]
Phone: 901-756-2370
Class Times: 4th Period
Course Description:
In an AP course in music theory, students will be required to read, notate, compose, perform, and listen to
music. The figure below shows some of the ways in which exercises of various types foster and integrate
these abilities. The development of aural skills is a primary objective of the AP Music Theory course.
Throughout the course, students will listen to musical works attentively and analytically, developing their
“musical memory” and their ability to articulate responses to formal, stylistic, and aesthetic qualities of
the works. Performance—using singing, keyboard, and students’ primary performance media—will also
be a part of the learning process. Although sight-reading is the only performance skill that is directly
tested by the examination, training in all these areas will develop the aural skills that are tested. Once
again, fluency and quickness with basic materials are essential.
Students will work both inside and outside the classroom. Regular homework assignments can be an
indispensable component of instruction. Students are required to have access to a piano, computer,
tablet, printer, and the Internet.
Required Text:
Course Syllabus and materials provided by Dr. Rayburn
Other Required Materials:
2” 3-ring Binder
Access to a PC, tablet, printer, and Internet
Access to a piano
Available Classroom Texts:
Clendinning, Jane Piper, and Elizabeth West Marvin. The Musician’s Guide to Theory and
Analysis New
York, NY: W. W. Norton, 2004. (C & M)
AP Music Theory
Course Information:
The class will be conducted in a participation/discussion/lecture manner with one third to one half of the
class focusing on aural skills. Students will discuss the correctness and creativity of musical solutions
contributed from class and homework assignments including theoretical analysis, part-writing, sightsinging, and harmonic dictation. Written homework and reading assignments may be given three to four
times per week. Students are also assigned specific exercises from
http://www.houstonchoirs.org/AP_Music_Theory/Home.html plus other websites as assigned. The
assignments are designed to take approximately six hours of individual preparation per week.
Teaching Strategies:
I try my best to teach to mastery. Students will be drilled key signatures, intervals, and triads with
PowerPoint presentations in class as well as at home. This will be done until the answers become
automatic. The PowerPoint presentations are timed exercises.
Teaching aural skills is generally more difficult for students to develop and master. I use many types of
matrices to teach aural skills continually adding scale degrees. This technique is successful for both
harmonic and melodic dictation.
In preparation for the AP Exam, the class takes two AP Released Exams in their entirety. During the
month of April, the class discusses the psychology of test taking and the importance of reading carefully
to understand what a multiple-choice question is actually asking. In addition, I provide the students with
specific AP Music Theory test taking strategies.
A requirement for the class is access to a PC, printer and Internet access. Students are encouraged to
complete composition assignments using computer-generated notation.
Evaluation and Grading Scale:
Theory Quests
Aural Skill Quests
Homework Assignments and Daily Participation
Final grades will be determined as follows:
93-100 = A
85-92 = B
75-84 = C
70-74 = D
Below 70 = F
There will be no drop grades.
AP Music Theory
Examination/Quiz Policy:
All tests and quizzes are to be done in pencil or by computer only.
A quiz or test may only be made up for an excused absence or tardy.
Houston High School policy concerning unexcused absences will be strictly enforced.
The instructor reserves the right to give “pop” quizzes.
Homework Policy:
All assignments are to be done in pencil or with a music notation program.
Homework must be completed and returned during AP Music Theory Class.
If the homework assignment requires staff paper, it must be completed on an 8 ½” x 11” sheet of
staff paper.
No late homework will be accepted except for excused absences.
At the top right corner of the homework assignment include the following:
o Name
o Assignment
o Due Date
o Pledged
Homework and class participation is a significant portion of the course grade, and mastery and
application of the course objective can only be understood through practice.
Regular and prompt attendance is expected. The Houston High School Student Handbook is the final
word concerning attendance.
You are responsible for any work or assignments missed due to any excused absence/tardy. You are
expected to be in class and ready to present class assignments on the designated day. Failure to complete
the assignment on the due date will result in a “0”.
Academic Integrity:
Students who do not adhere to the standards of academic honesty as stated in the Honor Code will receive
a failing grade in the class.
Course information will also be available on the class AP theory web page.

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