Applications are still open for Arts Camp and Arts Academy. Programs fill quickly—submit your app today!

Music Theory Basics 3

Delve into the more advanced concepts of harmony, including extended tertian chords (e.g., 7ths, 9ths, 11ths, and 13ths) and learn the fundamental principles of musical form and motivic development.

The course begins with a brief review of music notation fundamentals, including key signatures, modes, meters, and time signatures. You’ll soon explore 7th chords and begin to train your ear to the subtleties of chord inversions. Building off these concepts, you’ll dive into chord extensions and lead sheet notation, so that you are able to identify and notate traditional and nontraditional chords in songs using lead sheet symbols—a strong skill to have when working with other musicians.

You'll then apply these concepts and explore melody and growth in compositions, with a focus on motivic development and manipulation. By the end of this course, you'll be well-prepared to appreciate, analyze, and create your own expressive compositions.

What you will learn:

✔ Create a short melodic example in a complex meter  
✔ Identify various seventh chords and their inversions in popular musical excerpts  
✔ Notate harmonic progressions using lead sheet symbols  
✔ Identify and construct 9th, 11th, and 13th chords, in addition to non-tertian chords, such as added tone chords and suspended chords  
✔ Create your own musical compositions

Join us and learn music theory online!

Register Now

Prerequisite skills:

What you need to participate:

  • MuseScore (free music notation software) or another music notation software that you are comfortable using and that allows you to export music as PDF (notation) and MP3 (audio) files
  • Computer or mobile device with Internet. Internet speed must be at least 1.5Mbps download and 800Kbps upload. For students using a mobile device, download the Canvas mobile app and select “Interlochen Online” as your school. (Note: Make sure your computer is compatible with MuseScore.)

How the course works:

Interlochen Online courses are designed to be inspiring and flexible with weekly learning units that combine video segments and guided instruction that you can complete on your own schedule during the week. You will interact regularly with your teacher and peers inside the learning environment. 

You can also participate in an optional weekly hour-long video class meeting, where you can learn from the teacher and interact with your classmates in real-time. At the beginning of the course, you will complete a survey indicating your preferred times for the class meeting. The teacher will make every best effort to identify a meeting time that works for everyone. The teacher will also post recordings of the meetings and you can view them when it is convenient. 

The goal is that you walk away not only with practical skills and friendships but that you are inspired and motivated to pursue your art and realize your potential.

Program Snapshot

Upcoming Course Dates

April 1 - 26, 2024 | Teen and adult sections

May 6 - 31, 2024 | Teen and adult sections




Teens: Grades 7-12

Adult Learners: 18+

Future Sessions

Academic Calendar

Meet the Faculty

Andrew Martin Smith, D.M.A.

Instructor of Music Composition & Theory

Questions? Speak with an Advisor.


Phone: 231.276.5990 

You can also schedule an appointment.

Access Free Resources from Interlochen Online

Experience Interlochen Online with free guides that teach you practical skills in the arts.

The first few pages of the Music Theory Basics 1 study guide.
Complete this form to receive this exclusive guide on music theory from Interlochen Online
I am interested in:
Yes, I consent to receive Interlochen Center for the Arts communications.
May we text you?
This is to test whether or not you are a human and to prevent spam submissions.