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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 will complete all of your assignments, quizzes, and exams online. You will NOT come to campus for orientation or required to attend any meetings on campus.

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 7 hours/week on the coursework.


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

  1. Read the technical requirements below to ensure your computer meets the minimum computer requirements. Take time to read the Cabrillo Online Course Expectations. 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 create an add authorization for you and email you instructions for registering for the class.


YOU MUST HAVE A WORKING COMPUTER TO SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETE THIS CLASS! Your computer configuration must meet these minimum hardware and connection requirements:

  • Windows Windows 10 only
  • Mac OS X 10.4 or later (Intel or PPC)

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
  • 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.
  • A functioning email account - Canvas uses your Webadvisor email account for all communication. Please use an email account you check on a daily basis.
  • **If you are using a computer at work, a network firewall may 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.

**If you do not have regular access to a suitable computer with reliable access to the internet, you should not take this online class!


You must have the following software installed on your computer:

Practica Musica Version 7 is required software ($45) for this course and it requires that you have a working computer. Practica Musica (PM) is a complete ear training and music theory software for Macintosh and Windows computers. It has more than 225 activities designed to teach and drill the concepts and structures of Western music theory. It is used in this class for roughly 85% of your homework assignments.

Unlike many software packages or online enhancements you have to purchase with course textbooks, you will however, be able to use the software after the end of the semester for as long as you want!

Computer Requirements for Practica Musica Version 7

  • PC users must be using Windows 10 to run this program.
  • MAC users must be using Max OS X 10.11 or later. 
  • All computers must have internet access
  • IMPORTANT!! Chromebooks, older computers and operating systems are not compatible with the required software.
  • If you do not have a suitable computer in which to download, install and use this software, you cannot successfully complete this class.

Purchasing Practica Musica

  • Personal Edition Download ($44.99)
  • 64-bit native (MacOS Catalina compatible).
  • Supports one user.
  • Can be used on more than one computer by the same user.
  • Includes digital textbook and all activities.

Available at the Mac App Store link to the apple App store to purchase the software and the Windows Store  link to the Microsoft App store to purchase the software

NOTE: I am no longer supporting or using activities from Practica Musica Version 6. If you purchased Practica Musica Version 6  software, you are eligible for an upgrade to Version 7. Go to Ars Nova Software (Links to an external site.) and click on "Ordering" to request a download of Practica Musica Version 7.


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.

You can log into Canvas at anytime after midnight on the first day of the Cabrillo semester using your Cabrillo student ID and password.

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

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


Learning to read and understand music, like any language, requires regular and consistent practice.

  • Log into claSs in Canvas at least 2-3 times per week.
  • The class week begins on Monday and runs through Sunday.
  • Expect to spend an average of 7-10 hours per week working on the course 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.


You will have five kinds of homework assignments for MUS 6:

  1. Weekly Readings - completed in the Modules
  2. Weekly Quizzes - completed in Assignments
  3. Bi-weekly Discussions - completed in Discussions
  4. Practica Musica Activities - completed in Practica Musica
  5. Miscellaneous assignments - completed by hand on staff paper
  6. Proficiency Exams - completed in Assignments

The class week begins on Mondays and all Quizzes, Homework Assignments are due the following Monday 9 am (PST). To receive full credit, all assignments must be completed and submitted by the due date. Late submissions and incomplete assignments will automatically have a reduction of points. NO EXCEPTIONS!