At Boden, the disciplines within music theory are treated outside of the private lesson, giving the student and teacher more time for actual work on the instrument itself. The areas of theory are divided into four movements that we prefer to call Applied Music. All students 12 and over are required to take Applied Music alongside their private lesson. It ecompasses the following:

  • Music Theory: Designed to develop harmonic understanding, which would include a complete study of tones, intervals, scales, chord construction and voicing within an instrumental application
  • Ear Training: Ear training develops greater musicality, confidence and enjoyment of music. You will experience that a musical ear helps you when you play music, sing, notate, improvise, compose and transcribe. Ear training will give you a better understanding of all the things you are doing with music.
  • Syncopation: A drill class where students learn to read rhythm. Students play several exercises and participate in dictation drills that can help them in sight-reading, regardless of their instrument.  The session will also include identifying note names, key signatures, time signatures and rhythms.
  • Music Appreciation: Designed to introduce students to a wide variety of musical genres, productions and performances and encourage them to articulate their observations and maybe even present a piece of recorded music to the class and defend it and/or critique it. In addition, music history will be incorporated for the purpose of understanding the development and progression of musical styles and their roots.


Required Text: The Complete Idiot's Guide To Music Theory, 2nd Edition by Michael Miller. This updated and expanded edition of The Complete Idiot’s Guide® to Music Theory breaks down a difficult subject in a simple way—even for those who think they have no rhythm or consider themselves tone deaf. With clear, concise language, it explains everything from bass-clef basics to confusing codas.