Cabrillo Home | Directory  
Cabrillo College Banner
Cabrillo College Banner Tail  


Music Fundamentals Online (MUS 6)


Welcome to the course orientation for Music Fundamentals Online (MUS 6), an online class taught by Susan Parrish at Cabrillo College. Susan Parrish developed and has been teaching this online music theory course since 2007.

This course introduces you to the language of musical notation (what all those little dots and marks on the paper mean) and assumes that students have no experience reading music. If you have prior experience with music (reading, singing, or playing an instrument), this course will expand your understanding and knowledge. After completing this class, you will be able to read and notate your own music, and better understand any instrument you play or the music you listen to.

This is an "online" class, and is presented entirely via the Internet. You will NOT come to campus for orientation. You will complete all of your assignments, quizzes, and exams online. You are NOT required to attend any meetings on campus.


The software used to do the required assignments (Practica Musica) CANNOT be completed using a Chromebook computer, an iPhone or iPad, Android phone or Tablet, or an app for these. If you do not have regular access to a suitable computer with access to the internet, you should not register for this class.

This is a college level class worth 3 credits, and as such, demands consistent time and energy to do well. In past semesters, students who received an A in this class spend an average of 75 hours on the coursework.

If you wish to be added to the class, YOU MUST do the following:

  1. Read the technical requirements on this website to ensure your computer meets the minimum computer requirements. This class requires good working knowledge of your computer and ability to install and use new software.
  2. Send me an email with your request to add the Mus 6 class. Your email must include the folowing:
    • The statement, "I have read and understand the information about the Music 6 class and its requirements."
    • your student ID number

I will then email you an add code for the class on the first day of the semester. After you register for the class using the add code, it can take 2-3 days before you will be given access to the course in Canvas.

If WebAdvisor shows that you successfully registered for the class but do not see the MUS 6 class in listed in Canvas, contact the TLC for help at 831.479.5030


I use the Cabrillo Canvas Online Server as the delivery and communication system for this course. Canvas is managed by the Teaching Learning Center (TLC) at Cabrillo College. The Canvas pages for this course provide a rich set of tools that make online learning easy, including:

a public bulletin board for sharing thoughts and questions
private email for communicating with classmates and the instructor
a course calendar
class readings and assignments
quizzes and exams

Logging into Canvas

You must access the class site and log into Canvas during the first FIVE days of the semester.

You can log into Canvas at anytime after midnight on the first day of the Cabrillo semester. It's a good idea to refer to Cabrillo's Canvas Guide that shows you how to log into Canvas for the first time. To successfully log in, you must provide your last name, date of birth, and Cabrillo student ID number (not your social security number).

Note that Canvas will issue you a username and will require you to choose a password. Passwords are case-sensitive. Your instructor does not have access to your password. After you are registered, you access the course by supplying your user name and password.

If you require additional help with Canvas, the Cabrillo College web site also includes a number of tutorials.

If you have problems logging into Canvas, be sure that you have not disabled cookies for the site on your computer. Some login problems in the past have been caused by tight security systems installed on student computers; note that AOL users in particular have experienced access problems in other classes.

Using Canvas

You need to check the Canvas course site AT LEAST 2-3 times each week.

You can use your own off-campus computer, or you can access the course on the Cabrillo campus in the Computer Technology Center (room 1400), the Library, or in the Music Lab (room 5131).

Any course changes, additions, or deletions will be posted on the Canvas site. It is your responsibility to access Canvas frequently and make sure that you have current information.


Learning to read and understand music, like any language, requires regular and consistent practice. Expect to spend an average of 7-10 hours per week working on the course; this is the equivalent to spending 3 hours in the classroom plus 4-7 hours per week reading the course content in the Learning Modules and completing the homework assignments.

If you work with the material on a daily basis you are more likely to gain a better understanding and retain what you learn than if you wait until Sunday afternoon every week. It is very important that you complete all the assignments on a timely basis as you are continually building upon your understanding from a foundation of previously learned concepts and skills.


You can click the following links to learn more about the structure of MUS 6 online before the class starts.

The grading page explains the grading system for this course.
The homework page tells you what you need to know about homework for this online course.
The technical requirements page provides information about the computer hardware and software required to take this course.