Center for Music Theory & Composition

Third Street’s Center for Music Theory & Composition provides a complete course of study for music theory and composition. Courses are open to Third Street students and others throughout the New York City region.

Here is some important enrollment information:

•  Students enrolled in composition or who are studying instruments or voice at Third Street can take theory at a discounted rate

•  All instrumental and voice students learn and improve their note-reading skills while taking music theory. Students apply these skills in their group classes, ensembles and lessons.

•  The Center welcomes students who are at least seven years old through adults of all ages.

•  Students who have studied one year or more of an instrument/voice may enroll in a music theory class.

•  Classes are offered six days per week with ten levels of instruction to meet the needs of every student.

•  Students successfully completing Third Street’s theory courses are prepared to pass official Royal Conservatory exams through the Music Development Program. It is anticipated that in later levels students successfully completing the curriculum could pass AP Music Theory and college theory entrance exams.

Placement: For returning students, placement is determined by successfully passing the appropriate theory exam given at the end of the previous year. For new students, placement exams are offered before registration begins and can be taken until registration closes in the fall.


Music Theory

Music theory, the study of how music works, is an important part of every music student’s education. Third Street adopted the Royal Conservatory of Music’s theory curriculum in 2011-12 and will continue to expand its program to incorporate this exciting, proven and rigorous course of study that is also the official curriculum for the Music Development Program.

•  THEORY I:  Preparatory Rudiments

•  THEORY II:  Beginning Rudiments

•  THEORY III:  Intermediate Rudiments

•  THEORY IV:  Advanced Rudiments

•  THEORY V:  Preparatory Harmony

•  THEORY VI:  Beginning Harmony

•  THEORY VII:  Intermediate Harmony

•  THEORY VIII:  Counterpoint

•  THEORY IX:  Advanced Harmony

•  THEORY X:  Analysis

A complete syllabus is available online here.

Music Composition

Ages 8 and up
Third Street’s music composition programs teach students to create original music. Students explore both contemporary and classical styles, creating original compositions that are presented in several performances throughout the school year.

In addition to traditional composition methods, a fully-equipped technology lab with Mac computers helps students learn to compose using cutting-edge, user-friendly software applications like Sibelius, GarageBand and Logic. The courses are taught in a workshop environment that emphasizes group participation and shared learning, while allowing for significant individual instruction.

Each class is limited to six students. The prerequisite for composition is a minimum of one year of music study and one year of music theory. Students must read notes fluently. A theory class is included in the tuition for all composition classes and is required. Tuition also includes a performance and a recording of the student’s work.


See the video below of our recent Composition Recital. Students' original works are performed by professional musicians. 


Beginning Composition, Composition, and Advanced Composition Workshops

Beginning students learn the basics of software notation as well as strategies in music composition to compose short pieces for several instruments. Intermediate and advanced composition students apply the skills they’ve learned in previous courses in larger and more elaborate forms; composing for larger ensembles and developing technical skill and personal flair.


Jazz Theory and Improvisation Workshop

Visit the Jazz page for more information.

Enroll Today!