MUSC 4101: Graduate Theory Review Aural Skills

Course Syllabus

Fall Semester 2013


Tuesday/Thursday  9:00 - 9:50  room C191


Instructor: John Drumheller

Office Hours: TBA

Office: N1B28B


Phone: (303) 735-0272





Staff paper, pencils, a correcting pen, erasers.

IdentiKey and CAML access or internet connection and computer capable of MIDI and MP3 audio file playback.




This course will serve as a refresher to aural skills learned as an undergraduate and will be roughly parallel with MUSC 2121, the third semester undergraduate ear training class. Studies will include sight singing of diatonic and chromatic melodies, as well as dictation of one- and two-voice examples, rhythms and harmonies.




1. To further develop an accurate sense of inner hearing and musical memory.

2. To acquire aural understanding of the theoretical concepts presented in written theory courses.

3. To demonstrate fluency of these skills via labs, written exams and recitations.




The course will consist of four separate cycles. Each will incorporate in-class drills, computer lab assignments, occasional quizzes, and a unit dictation test. In addition, a private recitation exam will be administered for each cycle.


All students are expected to sing at-sight or prepared materials individually and in groups at every session, participate in class discussions and perform keyboard assignments in class when called upon.






 Lab Assignments 25%

 Cycle Exams 35%

 Recitations 35%

 Attendance  5%


Attendance will be factored in your final grade (either positively or negatively depending on the circumstances). You will be permitted three unexcused absences per semester.  Each unexcused absence beyond three will lower your grade by half a letter. We will spend a significant amount of time in class addressing issues that relate directly to exams and recitations. It is in your best interest attend class regularly in order to note pertinent information. In the case of absence due to illness, emergency, etc., you will be required to provide adequate documentation regarding your circumstances.



Students are expected to complete all assignments by prescribed due dates. Assignments handed in past the due date will be assessed a 10% per class meeting penalty (e.g. handing in a lab a day late will automatically drop it a letter grade). However, should you be unable to fully complete an assignment on time, you are strongly encouraged to submit partially completed work, or, preferably, take the penalty on completed work handed in late. DO NOT simply "blow off" your assignments. Partial credit is always better than none. Also, keep in mind that the assignments are designed to directly prepare you for exams and recitations (items that are heavily weighted in your assessment).


Normally make up exams and recitations will not be given. Should a genuine emergency arise and you are unable to attend an exam day or your scheduled recitation time, please notify your instructor immediately.




Participation: You will be expected to participate in class discussion, ask and answer questions and offer your own insights from time to time. You may also be called upon to sing, read rhythms or come to the piano during class. It is your instructorÕs goal to create a friendly, relaxed classroom environment so as to ease the anxiety that can be associated with these types of activities.


Homework: You will be assigned various short homework assignments though out the semester. These will be directly related to material you will encounter in class and on exams.


CD-Based Dictation Labs: Each cycle consists of two labs. These labs are designed as practice quizzes and will be corrected in class. You will receive full credit for each lab provided you: 1) attend class on the due date; 2) actively participate in a class discussion about the lab; and 3) note and correct your errors with a colored pen. Lab formats will typically consist of four activities: solfege mapping, short harmonic dictations, standard harmonic dictations, and either a melodic dictation or a rhythmic dictation. You will be provided with one copy of the REQUIRED lab worksheet.  Worksheets are also posted on the website in the event that you should misplace it. If you are ever unable to print one from a computer, there will always be worksheets posted on my office door that you may copy and replace.  Labs not completed on the printed worksheet will NOT be accepted.


Dictation Exams

A unit dictation exam will be given during the second class meeting of the third week of each cycle (cycle II has been modified to accommodate Fall Break). These exams will cover concepts discussed in class and applied in your lab work. The exams will be written in a format similar to the labs. Therefore, you should find your completed lab worksheets very helpful in reviewing for the exams. The entire class period will be allotted for exams although it is rarely the case that we will need the entire 50 minutes. Repetitions of each exercise will be limited and at the instructorÕs discretion.



Recitation procedure will consist of a private meeting with your instructor at which you will sing melodies from the Ottman text, rhythms from Kazez, and perform keyboard/vocal exercises or unprepared melodies. You will be assigned an unchanging recitation time that will occur during our normal class time. Recitations will be held four times during the semester. You will be given 5 minutes to complete a set of prescribed requirements that will demonstrate your mastery of various sight-singing topics. There will be no time for coaching during your 5 minutes. It is expected that you will come to your recitation fully prepared. If you are having a problem with any component of the assignment, you should make an appointment with your instructor for extra helpl or to discuss performance strategies prior to the recitation. You will receive guidelines several weeks before the recitation. Please be familiar with the requirements well in advance of your scheduled time. DO NOT TRY TO "CRAM" FOR YOUR RECITATIONS; IT WILL BE OBVIOUS TO ME WHETHER OR NOT YOU ARE PREPARED.



If you qualify for accommodations because of a disability, please submit to your instructor a letter from Disability Services in a timely manner so that your needs may be addressed. Disability Services determines accomodations based on documented disabilities. 303-492-8671, Willard 322,


Teaching faculty shall make every effort to accommodate all students who, because of religious  obligations, have conflicts with  scheduled exams, assignments or attendance, provided they notify their instructor well in advance of the scheduled conflict. Whenever possible, students should notify faculty at least two weeks in advance of the conflict to request special accommodation.


Students and faculty each have responsibility for maintaining an appropriate learning environment. Students who fail to adhere to such behavioral standards may be subject to discipline. Faculty have the professional responsibility to treat all students with understanding, dignity and respect, to guide classroom

discussion and to set reasonable limits on the manner in which they and their students express opinions.  Professional courtesy and sensitivity are especially important with respect to individuals and topics dealing with differences of race, culture, religion, politics, sexual orientation, gender variance, and nationalities.  Class rosters are provided to the instructor with the student's legal name. I will gladly honor your request to address you by an alternate name or gender pronoun. Please advise me of this preference early in the semester so that I may make appropriate changes to my records.  See polices

at and at


All students of the University of Colorado at Boulder are responsible for knowing and adhering to the academic integrity policy of this institution. Violations of this policy may include: cheating, plagiarism, aid of academic dishonesty, fabrication, lying, bribery, and threatening behavior.  All incidents of academic misconduct shall be reported to the Honor Code Council (; 303-725-2273). Students who are found to be in violation of the academic integrity policy will be subject to both academic sanctions from the faculty member and non-academic sanctions (including but not limited to university probation, suspension, or expulsion). Other information on the Honor Code can be found at and at


The University of Colorado at Boulder policy on Discrimination and Harassment (, the University of Colorado policy on Sexual Harassment and the University of Colorado policy on Amorous Relationships applies to all students, staff and faculty.  Any student, staff or faculty member who believes s/he has been the subject of discrimination or harassment based upon race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status should contact the Office of Discrimination and Harassment (ODH) at 303-492-2127 or the Office of Judicial Affairs at 303-492-5550.  





Due dates for all assignments and quiz/recitation dates are listed below:




MUSC 2121: Fall Semester Course Schedule



                           Tuesday                                                             Thursday

8/28 Review, Intro to Cycle I (secondary dominants)           8/30 Cycle I  In-class drills etc.

9/4 Correct and hand in Lab 1.1                                           9/6 In-class drills, etc.

9/11 Correct & hand in Lab 1.2                                           9/13 Cycle I Exam

9/18 Individual Recitations (no regular class meeting)          9/20 Individual Recitations (no regular class meeting)


9/25 Intro to Cycle II                                                        9/27 Cycle II In-class drills etc.

10/2 Correct and hand in Lab 2.1                                    10/4 Correct and hand in Lab 2.2

10/9 In-class drills, etc.                                                    10/11 Cycle II Exam

10/16 Individual Recitations (no regular class meeting) 10/18 Individual Recitations (no regular class meeting)


10/23 Intro to Cycle III                                                 10/25 Cycle III  In-class drills etc.

10/30 Correct and hand in Lab 3.1                                11/1 In-class drills, etc.

11/6 Correct and hand in Lab 3.2                                  11/8 Cycle III Exam

11/13 Individual Recitations (no regular class meeting) 11/15 Individual Recitations (no regular class meeting)


11/20 Fall Break                                                             11/22 Thanksgiving  

11/27 Intro to Cycle IV                                                  11/29 Correct and hand in Lab 4.1 

12/4 Correct and hand in Lab 4.2                                     12/6 Cycle IV Exam

12/11 Individual Recitations (no regular class meeting)  12/13 Individual Recitations (no regular class meeting)