Music Fundamentals Online (MUS 6)




This page contains a summary of all the information from the pages in the Week 1 Learning Module: Getting Started. More details can be found on the individual web pages. Print this page for easy reference! This class is entirely online. There are no class meetings on campus.

  • B.A in Music, University of Minnesota, 1983
  • M.A. in Music Education, Teachers College, Columbia University, 1986
  • Ed.M. in Curriculum Design, Teachers College, Columbia University, 1986
PHONE: 831-438-8081 - My Piano Teaching Studio
CLASS MEETINGS: This class is 100% Online. There are no on campus meetings.
OFFICE HOURS: E-mail answered within 48 hours, except Friday noon to Sunday noon, and by appointment

Direct contact on the Aptos Campus

Friday: 10:15-1:00 - MUSIC LAB (VAPA 5131)

and by Appointment

required materials

This online class can ONLY be successfully completed using a fully functioning computer.  It cannot be successfully completed using the Canvas app on an iPad, iPhone, or smart phone.

Computer System

Your computer must meet the following minimum hardware and connection requirements:


Windows 7 thru Windows 10

Mac OS X 10.7 or later (Intel or PPC)

Chromebooks, older computers and operating systems are not compatible with the required software and students should not take this course unless they have reliable access to a suitable computer.


Internet access with broadband or high speed modem. Students with dial-up service will experience extremely long download times of web pages due to their rich media content.


An updated Internet browser for your operating system:

Please refer to the Canvas support page for information on supported browsers.


IMPORTANT: If you are using a computer at work, a network firewall will cause difficulty with downloading some of the course files and submitting your Practica Musica assignments. Check with your system administrator for solutions. Some security settings, and browser add-ons may also block access to the materials in this course. You are responsible for solving these problems.


A functioning email account

  • Canvas uses your Webadvisor email account for ALL communication.
  • I frequently send important announcements and emails to students that I don't want you to miss.
  • Please check and or change the email listed under "Personal Information" in Webadvisor to an email account you check on a daily basis.

Computer Software

The following software is REQUIRED:

1. Practica Musica 6, Student Version Softwareis REQUIRED.
  • The software is now only available as a download from Ars nova.

Download it directly from Ars Nova for ~$45.

  • Select "Webstudents" from the home page
  • Select "For Students"
  • Select "Order Student Edition Download"
  • On the next screen enter the Webstudent account "cabrillomus6s" as requested.

You are buying a copy of Practica Musica for your own permanent use. It is a piece of licensed software supporting only one non-transferable user. The software cannot be transferred or sold to another student. You will be able to use the software after the semester ends, as long as it is installed on your computer

IMPORTANT! PC users must be using Windows Vista, Windows 7 or 8 to run this program. MAC users must be using Max OS 10.6 or higher. The program will not run on Chromebooks or older operating systems.

2. MP3 Player - You must have the ability to listen to MP3 files that you will download as part of your course assignments. If you are using Internet Explorer you must enable Active Scripts or the MP3 files won't play.
3. PDF READER - You must be able to view PDF files.


The purpose of this course is to introduce you to the language of music; you will learn about the following elements of music: melody, rhythm, harmony, timbre, form, and expression.

Rhythm The aspect of time in the organization of music involving the use of a regular recurring pulse or beat, and patterns of sound and silence
Melody The horizontal or linear organization and shape of pitch unfolding over time
Harmony The vertical aspect of two or more pitches and their relationship and function to one another within a piece of music
Timbre The unique and distinctive qualities of the sounds created by an instrument, family of instruments or combination of different instruments
Form The organization and structure of a musical composition and the relationships between melody, rhythm and harmony
Expression The language and symbols used to indicate the expressive aspects of music

Student Learning Outcomes:

Learning Outcomes

Analyze musical notation of aural and written music, using traditional western symbols, to express melody, rhythm, harmony, form, articulation, dynamics and expression.


1. Identify and notate pitches, intervals, scales, key signatures, chords and rhythms.
2. Identify key center in a musical composition.*
3. Play or sing melodies and pitch patterns at sight.*
4. Clap or sing rhythms from notation.*
5. Identify rhythm patterns, major and minor modes, intervals and chords by ear.*
6. Identify musical elements, including tempo, texture, dynamics and form.
7. *This objective, or a portion of it, may be completed in a To Be Arranged (TBA) lab setting.

COURSE structure

The Class Week is offered 100% online through Canvas at Cabrillo College. The class begins on Monday 9am and runs through the following Monday 9am (Pacific Time). Each Monday morning the current week's readings in the Learning Modules, homework assignments, quizzes, and discussion topics become available. All Weekly Quizzes and Homework Assignments are due by the following Monday 9 am. The Quizzes and Proficiency Exams are timed and must be completed in the allotted time, unless ASC Accommodations form has been submitted to the instructor. The course is organized as follows:

1. Weekly Readings - completed in Learning Modules
2. Weekly Quizzes - completed in Assessments
3. Practica Musica Activities - completed in Practica Musica
4. Miscellaneous assignments - completed by hand
5. Proficiency Exams - completed in Assessments
6. Discussion Topics - completed in Discussions


The grading system for this class is based on a point system of 2000 points. Your grade will be determined by the total number of points you accumulate during the semester. To receive full credit, weekly assignments must be completed and submitted on time. Late submissions and incomplete assignments will have a 10% reduction in total points.

Total Points

You will be assigned more than 2000 points worth of graded assignments. There will also be optional and extra credit assignments available throughout the term. Every graded assignment is assigned a specific number of points. The table below shows the categories of graded assignments and their approximate weight by percent of your final grade:

Weekly Homework Assignments
Proficiency Exams
Weekly Quizzes

The eight (8) Proficiency Exams are mandatory and replace the traditional Mid-term and Final Exams. You must score a passing grade (80%) on each exam. Failure to complete or pass one or more of the exams will lower your final grade by one letter grade regardless of your point total.

If you take the class for P/Not Pass, you must get at least 70% to Pass. Please notify the instructor. All withdrawals from this course are the responsibility of the student.

Time Requirement

This class is entirely online. There are no class meetings on campus. An average of 7-10 hours per week is required to complete the course satisfactorily, which is equivalent to 3 hours in class and at least 7 hours of homework per week.

You are required to log into Canvas at least 2 times a week, and spend time in the Learning Modules, Quizzes, Assignments, and Discussions. The tracking features in Canvas allow the instructor to view and monitor the time and activities of each student. Any student with an unexcused absence from Canvas of more than two weeks will be dropped from the class.


This class uses copyright protected information, created by the instructor, by composers, and by recording artists. No part of this web site may be reproduced by any mechanical, photographic, or electronic process, or in the form of a photographic recording, nor may it be stored in a retrieval system, transmitted, or otherwise copied for public or private use without written permission of the publisher or author.

All students must complete their own homework, compositions, quizzes and exams. Any student found to submit work completed by someone other than the student will be reported to Dean of Students and will receive an F on the work submitted.

All students must adhere to the student code of conduct as outlined in Cabrillo's Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook (AR5500) and the specific code of behaviors for this class as outlined on the Net Etiquette and Discussion Guidelines web pages. Students who violate this code of conduct will be reported to the Dean of Students and denied access to the class until the matter is resolved.

Special Needs

I encourage students with disabilities including invisible disabilities like chronic diseases and learning disabilities, to explain their needs and appropriate accommodations to me during my office hours or via email. You will need to provide verification of your disability, and a counselor or specialist‘s recommendations for accommodating your needs. Verification must be obtained through:

Accessibility Support Center (ACS): Room 1073, Learning Resources Center (access from Lot "H"), Aptos Campus, (831)-479-6379

Students with special needs should notify the instructor of their special needs before the end of the second week. Student must submit the ASC Approved Accommodations form (e.g., extended time for tests/quizzes, alternate location, large print) before assignment due dates and exam dates. No form, no accommodations!


This is the outline of the Weekly Learning Modules with their respective Weekly Assignments. The Instructor reserves the right to make changes to this schedule as needed. All Weekly Assignments and Quizzes are due on the following Monday at 9am.

Week 1: Getting Started!! Introducing the requirements and structure of the class

Participation Agreement

Introduction Questionnaire

Week 1: Practica Musica

Week 1 Quiz: Course Basics

Week 1a: Discovering Acoustics and the Basics of Pitch

Week 1a: Practica Musica

Week 1: My Mnemonics

Week 1a: Quiz

Week 2: Discovering Accidentals, Half and Whole Steps, and Musical Instruments

Week 2: Practica Musica

Week 2: Quiz

Week 3: Discovering Notation of Rhythm, Intervals of a 2nd, Repeat Signs, Dynamics and Notation

Week 3: Practica Musica

Week 3: Quiz

Week 4: Discovering Time Signatures, Counting of Rhythm, and Tempo

Week 4: Practica Musica

Week 4: Quiz

Week 5: Discovering Major Scales, Scale Degrees and Solfege

Week 5: Practica Musica

Week 5: Quiz

Week 6: Discovering Major Key Signatures, Syncopation and Triplets

Week 6: Practica Musica

Week 6: Quiz

Week 7: Discovering the Natural Minor Scales and Minor Key Signatures

Week 7: Practica Musica

Week 7: Relative Major and Minor Circle of 5ths

Week 7: Quiz

Week 8: Discovering Melodic and Harmonic Minor Scales, and Solfege and Scale Degrees in Minor

Week 8: Practica Musica

Week 8: Quiz

Week 9: Discovering Intervals

Week 9: Practica Musica

Week 9: Quiz

Week 10: Discovering More about Intervals, Other Scales and Compound Time

Week 10: Practica Musica

Week 10: Quiz

Week 11: Discovering Triads

Week 11: Practica Musica

Week 11: Quiz

Week 12: Discovering Seventh Chords

Week 12: Practica Musica

Week 12: Quiz

Week 13: Discovering Chord Inversions and Chord Progressions

Week 13: Practica Musica

Week 13: Quiz

Week 14: Discovering Melody and Harmonizing Melodies

Week 14: Practica Musica

Week 14: Quiz

Week 15: Discovering Musical Analysis!

Week 16: Finals Week

These 8 Proficiency Exams are the Final Exam. They are released throughout the semester and must be completed by 9am on the first day of Finals Week.

Proficiency Exam#1 - Notes: covering the notation of pitch on the staff
Proficiency Exam #2 - Major Key Signatures: covering the 15 Major Key Signatures
Proficiency Exam #3 - Minor Key Signatures: covering the 15 Minor Key signatures
Proficiency Exam #4 - Scales: covers all the fundamentals of Scales.
Proficiency Exam #5 - Rhythm: covering all the fundamentals of Rhythm
Proficiency Exam #6 - Intervals: covering all the fundamentals Intervals
Proficiency Exam #7 - Terms and Definitions: covering musical terms and definitions
Proficiency Exam #8 - Triads, 7th Chords & Musical Analysis: covering Triads, 7th Chords, and Musical Analysis

The Course Evaluation