Mrs. Quackenbush Talks About Her New Music Theory Elective

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J-DHS has a new music elective taught by Mrs. Quackenbush called Music Theory. RamPage talked with her to learn more about the exciting new course.

What is the new Music Theory elective?

The new Music Theory elective is a course designed to teach students the fundamentals of basic musical forms and structures. We are studying music construction, music reading, sight reading and music composition. It meets every other day for one semester (Music Theory I) and second semester for Music Theory II. Music Theory I is a prerequisite for Music Theory II.

Why do you think it’s important for J-D to have a Music Theory elective?

We used to offer Music Theory every year but, due to teacher course loads, J-DHS stopped teaching it after the 2017-2018 school year. Most high schools, if not all high schools, in our county offer music theory as an option for those wishing to major in music in college or for those who want to study music in a non-performance based setting. I felt it was important to our students to bring it back into the high school music curriculum.

Is the class only for people with some experience in the subject, or can anyone take it regardless of prior knowledge?

It is recommended that to enroll in Music Theory, students are a member of any of the performing musical groups offered by the school or have at least two years of private music instruction.

What is your favorite thing about the elective?

I have never taught Music Theory and I haven’t taken a Music Theory class since graduate school. After 28 years in the choral/vocal classroom, I’m excited to challenge myself with the curriculum of a new class that I’ve never taught. I also love the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone of the daily choral rehearsal and work with students on a completely different level.

If you could create more music-based electives, what would they be?

I hope that the numbers of students enrolling in performing ensembles returns to the pre-COVID level and that I can once again offer a Chamber Choir.  

Is there a cap on how many students can take the class? How many sections are you planning on running?

There is currently one section of Music Theory I that meets the first semester and one section of Music Theory II that runs the second semester. There is no cap on how many students can take the class. We had more students enroll than anticipated, so we are working on the acquisition of more keyboards to accommodate that. It’s a great problem to have!

Lucas Chiorini, '25
Lucas Chiorini is the Culture Editor for the RamPage. He also participates in clubs such as Student Government, Stage Crew, and the YamPage.