Open-Air Theory Retreat

Up to eight youth musicians (ages 13-18) will gather for about two hours to work through the Excellence in Theory book series, by Ryan Nowlin and Bruce Pearson. Each OATR session will be geared toward a different level of knowledge. Workbooks must be purchased prior to each class session. A Wisconsin Music Ventures water bottle will be given out to each participant. All classes taught by Allison Schweitzer.

There will be a fee for students to participate; check the event details.


Level 1: The Theory section of Excellence in Theory, Book One concentrates on learning the basic language of music that helps develop well-rounded musicians. Lesson & Assignment pages introduce staves, treble and bass clef. Time signatures, and simple rhythms. Melodic elements are presented in accidentals, enharmonics, and whole and half steps, as well as tetrachords and major scales.

Level 2: The Theory section in Book Two begins with a review of concepts previously learned, then moves forward into more advanced lessons. Key signatures and the circle of fifths/fourths are introduced, and music reading progresses with new technique and expression markings. Students are introduced to challenging new rhythms, and melodic and harmonic intervals are explored.

Level 3: The Theory section in Book Three begins with a review of the theory concepts introduced in Book Two Book Three before introducing more advanced time signatures; major, minor, augmented and diminished triads; and minor chords, chord progressions and harmonizing melodies. By the end of, students will be composing short melodies, and will have a fundamental understanding of the building blocks of Western music.