Music Fundamentals & Theory

The study of Music Theory and Musicianship is vital to the development of any trained musician, as it cultivates comprehension of the melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic structures that exist in all genres of music. SRJC offers a wide variety of Music Theory and Musicianship courses for both majors and non-majors. While most Music Theory and Musicianship courses are directly linked to the different music degree plans, these classes are open to all interested students.

Music Theory courses begin with the fundamentals (understanding notation, scales, intervals, and chords) and progress into studies of harmony, counterpoint, form, analysis, and composition. Musicianship courses focus on developing fluency with the language of music in written and aural form. Emphasis is placed on improving sight-reading skills through singing, and on developing the ability to hear, comprehend, and transcribe musical ideas without recourse to an instrument (audiation).

The entry-level Theory/Musicianship offerings include:

Music Fundamentals   (MUSC 1)

This course is designed for students with little or no formal training in music, or prospective music majors who lack the music reading skills for MUS 2A/3A. Students are introduced to basic musical concepts, terminology, and music reading. Topics include rhythm, scales, intervals, chords, key signatures, and the circle of fifths. Activities include exercises in rhythm, singing, and at the piano keyboard. (CSU/UC)

Music Theory 1   (MUSC 2A)

Basic orientation course of a four-semester sequence required of lower division music majors and minors in most colleges and universities. Topics include basic music notation and terminology, rhythm, scales and modes, key signatures and the circle of fifths, intervals, transposition, chords and chord progressions, figured bass, Roman numeral analysis, and basic song structure. Students are advised to know how to read music prior to enrolling in this class. (CSU/UC) Recommended: Concurrent enrollment in MUSC 3A Musicianship 1.

Credit by Exam is available for this course. Contact Dr. Mark Anderman, Music Theory Coordinator, at for more information.

Musicianship 1   (MUSC 3A)

Application and development of the materials of MUSC 2A through sight singing, ear training, and dictation. Topics include rhythm, major and minor scales, intervals, triads, and diatonic melodies. (CSU/UC). Recommended: Concurrent enrollment in MUSC 2A Music Theory 1.

Credit by Exam is available for this course. Contact Dr. Mark Anderman, Music Theory Coordinator, at for more information.

Jazz, Rock, and Pop Theory 1   (MUSC 4A)

The study of music theory as it pertains to jazz, rock, and popular music, including analysis and construction of chord progressions, analysis of rhythmic elements, transposing for wind instruments, and rhythm section writing. Students complete two arranging projects. (CSU/UC) Recommended: Completion of MUSC 1 or MUSC 2A prior to enrollment.

Beginning Jazz Improvisation   (MUSC 5A)

This class provides instrumental students with the tools and techniques for jazz improvisation at a beginning level. Topics include scales, arpeggios, and the elements of jazz harmony, the blues, and characteristic chord progressions. (CSU/UC) May be taken for a total of four times. Recommended: Non-percussionists should have the ability to play all major scales on a musical instrument prior to enrollment. Percussionists should be familiar with standard drum set styles associated with jazz, rock, and pop.

For more Music Theory/Musicianship course offerings, visit the SRJC College Catalog.