Theory Placement

When you receive your email letter with audition times (in June), you will need to respond with an email confirming that you have noted your audition time and telling us which theory level you choose.


You will not need to take a theory test for placement in class unless you wish to be placed in Level IV. You will take the Level IV placement test on audition day, Sunday, July 22nd. If you pass the test, indicate in which of the Level IV classes you wish to be placed. (If you took and passed the test last year and were placed in Level IV, you will not need to take the test again, but you must email us which SPECIFIC Level IV class you want). We have last year’s theory results so let us know if you are not sure if you already have passed the Level IV test. Please read the following descriptions of the various theory levels and decide which one is most appropriate for your level of knowledge and skills. Anyone who does not respond by email to with a selection of theory level will automatically be placed in Theory Level I.

Drummers do not need to sign up for a theory class. Instead, you will have 2 Master Classes a day.

Level I: Most basic. You will work on key signatures, major scales, triads and their corresponding scales; introduction to modes.

Level II: You should know everything listed above in Level I. In addition you will work on modes, 7th chords and their corresponding scales; introduction to the ii-V-I progression.

Level III: You should know everything in Level II. In addition you will work on understanding modal harmony and navigating major and minor ii–V–I’s and other chord progressions; introduction to modes of melodic minor.

Level IV: You should know everything in Level III.


Advanced Theoretical Analysis:Study advanced harmonies and structures, including tritone substitutions, Coltrane changes, modes of melodic minor, and altered blues progressions.

Advanced Improvisation Class:You must be very proficient on your instrument! You should know several tunes by memory and be prepared to develop your soloing skills.

Introduction to Arranging:Learn the basics of arranging, different types of chord voicings, instrumental transcriptions, how to write rhythm parts.

Intermediate Arranging:You have some arranging experience already.

Advanced Arranging: You must have extensive arranging experience. This is a greater in-depth exploration of instrument voicings and how to write in different styles. Please submit an example of your work on audition day.

Rhythm Class: How to play in the groove while playing jazz, blues, funk, world music (African, Cuban, Brazilian, Indian) as well as odd time signatures.

On Monday, if the teacher feels you did not choose the appropriate level, you will be referred to the Director of Curriculum for assignment to a different class. If you can tell you are in over your head, talk to the Director at the end of the first day, and we will find a better placement for you.



1 Response to Theory Placement

  1. John Santos says:

    Level one will be fine for Joao.

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