Carnegie Mellon University

School of Music

Where artistry and innovation share center stage

Elective Classes

The Carnegie Mellon Music Preparatory School believes in a well-rounded student musician. Classes are offered in Dalcroze Eurhythmics, Musicianship, Music Theory and Solfege, Improvisation and Creative Expressions. 

Students taking private lessons receive one free elective class included in their tuition each semester. 

The Beginning Piano Program includes a weekly group class, private lesson, and a class in Dalcroze Eurhythmics. 

Classes meet each Saturday in Margaret Morrison Carnegie Hall (MM), the College of Fine Arts (CFA), or the Hall of the Arts (HOA). Campus Map

Please note: For Summer 2021, the Prep School will be holding all classes and lessons in a remote format for the entirety of the Summer session.  

Elective Classes:

(children ages 5-9)
Eurhythmics helps students experience music throughout their bodies. Based on the principles of Emile Jacques-Dalcroze, Eurhythmics integrates movement, ear training, and improvisation. Classes are grouped by age. Contact the Music Preparatory Office 412.268.3667 for more information.
10:30am - 11:5am
11:15am - 12:00pm
12:00pm - 12:45pm

Advanced Eurhythmics
(children ages 8-11)
Students who have completed the Beginning Piano Curriculum or students in this age group who have not had prior Eurhythmics experience explore the elements of music through movement, ear training, and improvisation.
9:00am – 9:45am

All students interested in Music Theory should take an informal placement “test” prior to enrolling in a Music Theory section to determine which level Music Theory they should register for.  Please contact the Special Music Programs office at 412-268-3667 to schedule a placement test.  The schedule for Music Theory classes is as follows:

Music Fundamentals - Two consecutive semesters (Fall/Spring)
(two consecutive semesters - Fall/Spring)
This course is an introduction to the language of music. Students will be guided through a series of listening, reading, and writing exercises that will help them develop strong aural skills and support a thorough understanding of the work they are doing in private lessons.
9:30am - 10:15am

Music Theory I - Two consecutive semesters (Fall/Spring)
This course is the first of the four-year music theory sequence. Students will learn the elements of music through listening, reading, and writing exercises designed to develop strong aural skills and a thorough understanding of musical concepts. This course will also introduce the system of solfege (do,re,mi...). Students will practice sight singing and dictation to build ear training skills that can be applied to their instrument.
10:30am – 11:15am

Music Theory II - Two consecutive semesters (Fall/Spring)

Taken upon completion of Music Theory I, this course continues the study of musical elements that becomes foundation for analysis of harmony and musical structure. Students will learn to compose with the rhythm, chords, and short musical structure they learn throughout the year. Students will also continue developing their aural skill based on the system of solfege. 
11:30am - 12:15pm

Music Theory III - Two consecutive semesters (Fall/Spring)

Taken upon completion of Music Theory II, this course will expand students’ understanding of music theory with more advanced topics. With a focus on eighteenth-century chord progressions and diatonic procedures, the course integrates conceptual and aural components of music theory. Several model composition projects will deeper students’ understanding of how music theory impacts performance decision.

1:00pm - 1:45pm

Music Theory IV - Two consecutive semesters (Fall/Spring)

In addition to continuing the studies of eighteenth-century tonal procedures, this course explores some theory topics beyond common-practice European art music. Students will also learn larger forms and musical expression that create narrative through a piece of music and inform performance.

2:00 - 2:45pm

Students create music spontaneously using rhythms, melodies, and harmonies.  This class is intended for students ages 9 and up.

12:00 - 12:30 PM (ages 9 - 11)
12:30 - 1:15 PM (ages 12 and up)

Creative Expression 
Creative Expression teaches students to apply their theory, composition, and musicianship principles as they create their own original compositions together as a class.

In Summer 2021, students will learn about jazz through the life and music of Pittsburgh's own Ahmad Jamal. Using his modal music theory and contemporary composition/performance techniques, we will explore, learn, and create music inspired by a local jazz legend!

Even if students think of themselves as a primarily "classical musician," there is a lot that jazz can do to inspire and inform our classical playing!
9:30 - 10:30 AM (ages 6-8)
10:30 AM - 11:30 AM (ages 9 - 12)
11:30 AM - 12:30 PM (ages 13 and up)

Group String Class (Fall and Spring Semesters only)
Learning to play with other strings is fundamental to a student's proficiency. Group violin and cello classes are open to non-Preparatory School students at appropriate age and skill level. Availability of group classes depends upon student enrollment. Please contact the Music Preparatory Office for information on appropriate level for your child. Students will be placed in the appropriate Group Class by String Faculty.

Times and locations for Group String Classes 10:15 - 11:00 AM (Fall 2020)

Young Artists Orchestra (On Hiatus Fall 2020)
This chamber orchestra is comprised of intermediate/advanced string students ages approximately 9-14 years old.  This ensemble meets weekly from September to May on Saturdays from 1:00-2:30 pm in Margaret Morrison 119.  The conductor is Mr. Steve Erhlich, Orchestra Director of the East Allegheny Schools.  There is a final performance at the conclusion of each semester as part of a showcase event featuring several of our performing groups and based on a unique theme.  

Eligibility: Students should have prior group or ensemble experience if possible.  Students should have competency with note reading, shifting into higher positions, and vibrato.  Entrance is based on audition.

Audition Information:
For all instruments, please prepare the following for the audition:

1. A solo piece (preferably a concerto) of your choice that includes shifting to 3rd position (no accompaniment necessary)

2. The following scales in at least 2 octaves (3 octaves encouraged): G, D, A, C, F, B-flat

3. An etude of your choice that shows shifting to 3rd position or higher

4. Sight reading may be asked.