The MYSO program is very fortunate to have a 45+ year tradition of exceptional music theory training. MYSO students can register for these optional classes for a fee of $90 for the season. In general, theory classes are recommended for students in grade 7 and up. Students in MYSO ensembles whose rehearsal times conflict with theory classes should not sign up for theory.
These classes offer a terrific opportunity for the serious musician to expand his/her musical knowledge base. Thanks to their involvement in these classes, many past students have enriched their knowledge and enjoyment of playing music. A number of students have attributed their college scholarships to their advanced level of theory training, and many have placed into advanced sections (or placed out altogether!) of college music theory courses!
At seating auditions, MYSO members have the opportunity to register for this class for a reduced fee of $90 for the season. (The fee is $180 for non-members of MYSO.) In addition, students will need to purchase books for the class. If you are not sure which class level is the best fit for you, sign up for Intro/Intermediate; you will be able to switch classes if the advanced class seems more appropriate.
THEORY I - Introductory/Intermediate
4:00 -5:00 pm, weekly on Mondays, Milwaukee Youth Arts Center.
Scales, intervals, chords, harmonic and choral analysis, sight singing, ear training, harmony and keyboard harmony will be the topics of the class.
THEORY II - Advanced
5:00 -6:00 pm, weekly on Mondays, Milwaukee Youth Arts Center.
Sight singing, ear training, harmony, keyboard improvisation, analysis and composition will be addressed.
DIRECTOR OF THEORY INSTRUCTION
James Burmeister teaches in the Music Department at UWM’s Peck School of the Arts. In addition to teaching in the Music Theory area, Jim teaches organ and graduate score reading (playing choral and orchestral scores at the piano). He serves as coordinator of the UWM Music Department Tutoring Center Theory providing peer tutoring in all of the required freshman and sophomore music theory and piano courses. As advisor for the UWM Delta Eta Chapter of the Delta Omicron International Music Fraternity, Jim is instrumental in the chapter’s numerous awards for excellence and scholarship.
In May 2010, he was one of five recipients of the UWM-SAC Award for “excellence in teaching students with special needs while maintaining high academic standards.”
Jim’s undergraduate and graduate degrees are from the University of Michigan School of Music.
PROFESSOR JOHN DOWNEY, 1927-2004
Dr. John Downey served as Director of Music Theory and Composition for MFY/MYSO for more than 40 years. In late 2004, he passed away at age 77.
Professor Downey, a Distinguished Professor of Music at UW-Milwaukee, was an internationally renowned composer; he wrote a number of works for Music For Youth/MYSO, and his MYSO students were an essential and joyous part of his career and life. Professor Downey played a critically important role in the lives of thousands of students, several of whom have become noted composers. He was central to our organization, and he will always be greatly missed!
Please click here to visit the John Downey Music website A site that memorializes John Downey, world-renowned composer and MYSO Director of Theory Instruction for over 40 years.
JOHN DOWNEY CREATION PROJECT
Have you ever thought about writing music? Have you written music but never had it performed? HERE IS YOUR BIG CHANCE!!! MYSO is seeking students who are interested in composing for the MYSO orchestras and ensembles. Present Music and MYSO have teamed up to give selected students the amazing opportunity to have their music performed by MYSO friends as well as the renowned Present Music Ensemble.
Those selected for the Downey Fellows program will have the opportunity to work with a professional composer (at a mutually convenient time) with the goal of creating a concert work. The composers will guide students from the early structural and conceptual issues through the final printing and beginning of rehearsals. This will be accomplished with input from the ensemble Music Directors.
Some students may compose pieces on their own, and others may work in groups. It’s likely that Downey Fellows will write for their own MYSO ensembles, but depending on response, we may vary from that plan. If you choose to apply, give us some reasons why you would like to participate, and talk a little about your experience in writing music.
The compositions, 2-3 minutes in length, will be performed on MYSO Concerts programs throughout this season. MYSO will be responsible for reproducing the music and distributing it. Interested students should complete the application form and send it back to us by September 18th. More details will be provided to those accepted to the program.
If you are invited to participate this season, we will ask you to pay a nominal fee of $30 to help off-set the considerable cost of sponsoring this project. If for some reason we cannot include you this season, please know that MYSO and Present Music plan to offer this again, as an ongoing part of our curriculum. Please visit Present Music at www.presentmusic.org, or better yet, attend one of their concerts! They’re always fun events!