Theory I Syllabus


Theory I

Instructor:  Dr. Vicky V. Johnson, Room 122

Office hours posted on office door


Phone:  Ext. 9238



For week by week description of requirements, assignments, and exams, refer to the Course Outline at the following link:



Course Description

  • Introduction to music fundamentals, staff, clefs, key signatures, scales, time signatures and notation; meter and rhythm; chords; harmony; melodic organization and structure. Computer software used for some written assignments.

  • Prerequisite:  a passing grade on the placement examinations in theory or a C or better in MUSI 1303.


Required Texts and Materials

  • Music staff paper.  Go here  to print staff paper with keyboard and here for various other configurations.

  • Notebook:  it will not be graded, but returned assignments will be your exam study materials

  • Pencil and eraser.  I will not accept any assignment written in ink.  Mechanical pencils are a good choice. 

  • CRS Clicker (for Student Response System) If available from previous classes, these can be checked out to you.

  • Subscription to CRS (for instructions, follow this link)

  • Bring these materials to every class session.

You MUST have access to a computer for receiving e-mails, checking the Course Outline, receiving assignments, downloading and uploading assignments, checking your grades, etc.    There are computers available in the Fine Arts building and in the library, open at scheduled times, but it is your responsibility to access these course elements as necessary.  Your failure to do so is not an excuse for late or missed assignments, or for missing course updates or other communication.


Course Work Includes


  • In-class lectures, discussions and analyses

  • Written assignments, including student compositions

  • Individual work on computer programs including 2 required proficiencies



Grading Will Be Based On


  • 65%   Class assignments, compositions, and computer lab assignments

  • 10%   Midterm exam  

  • 15%   Final exam

  • 10%   Class participation

Music exists in time.  It is important for music professionals to be able to perceive and identify musical elements quickly or they will be of little use.  For this reason, proficiency in the areas of music theory  includes speed as well as understanding and assessment will include both.


Attendance Policy

  • Attendance is required. Absences will only be excused with proper written documentation on letterhead. This includes a note from a healthcare provider in case of illness or a form signed by a sponsor (presented in advance) in the case of a University sanctioned activity.  Attendance at funerals and court appearances will also be excused with proper documentation and advance notice.

  • Attendance will be documented with student response clickers and class will begin on time.  Failure to login on time will be documented as an absence.  Use this link to set your watch.

  • A student's absences will not change any deadline or assignment requirements.  You are always responsible for any material you miss, so check the Course Outline and/or a fellow classmate for announcements, assignments, and requirements.


Classroom Policy

  • No food or drink in the classroom (water is an exception).

  • Turn off your cell phones and put them out of sight - mine and yours.  Text messaging is prohibited in the classroom.  Please see me if you have a special emergency situation requiring this type of communication.

  • Attention will be given to the lesson at hand, or you will be excused from the classroom.  (In other words, no working on other homework, personal business, sleeping, etc.)

  • Keep your backpacks and other personal belongings out of the aisles for the sake of convenience and safety.

  • Do not leave the room during class except for an emergency as this disruption is almost always (except for an emergency) avoidable. 

  • If your conduct for any reason is unacceptable, you will be asked to leave.  Do not return to class until you have made an appointment to see me and the situation has been resolved.



  • All homework assignments are due at the beginning of class on the due date specified in the Course Outline. Specific instructions for assignments will often be listed in the Course Outline which will be updated on the course web page.  It is important to refer to this page often.  Any modifications to the schedule will be announced in class.

  • Late assignments will only be accepted with prior approval and then at a penalty of ten points per calendar day.



This course moves quickly. If you begin to experience problems, consult me right away. Do not wait until you are hopelessly behind or lost. Extra help (including tutoring) is available from several sources, but only if you ask for it. 

How to Survive (I mean succeed) in Music Theory


Academic Conduct

Cheating, plagiarism (submitting another person's materials or ideas as one's own), or doing work for another person who will receive academic credit are all impermissible.  This includes the use of unauthorized books, notebooks, or other sources in order to secure or give help during an examination; the unauthorized copying of examinations, assignments, reports, or term papers; or the presentation of unacknowledged material as if it were the student's own work.


Any student caught cheating or plagiarizing will receive a grade of "F" for the class.  Further disciplinary action may also be taken beyond the Department of Fine Arts.  This decision will be mine in consultation with the department head.  Cheating is serious business and the penalties for engaging in this sort of activity will be severe.  Consult the following link for further information on academic conduct as specified in the TSU catalog.



Students With Disabilities Policy

It is the policy of Tarleton State University to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and other applicable laws. If you are a student with a disability seeking accommodations for this course, please contact Student Disability Services, at 254.968.9400 or Student Disability Services is located in Math 201. More information can be found at or in the University Catalog.



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Created and maintained by Vicky V. Johnson