Fostering academic excellence and biblical virtue to equip students for lives as local and global Christian servants.

Contemporary Music Harmony

Course Catalog ID:
Subject Categories:
Academic Elective, Music

If you want to understand how harmony and chord progressions work in today’s popular praise and worship music, then this one-year course is designed with you in mind! Although primarily aimed at keyboardists, guitarists, and bassists, this course will benefit any musician who aspires to compose, arrange, lead, or perform popular contemporary music. Students will thoroughly explore major and minor scales, modes, keys and key signatures, intervals, triads, four- and five-part chords, upper-structure chords, chord extensions, chord-scale relationships, voice-leading principles, and harmonic analysis of popular tunes. Assignments will include written exercises in interval-building, scale/mode-building, chord-building, chord-voicing, and voice-leading, as well as other assignments. We will pay particular attention to interpreting chord symbols from “lead sheet” notation. Furthermore, students will then apply this knowledge in a stylistically appropriate manner to whatever instruments they play. The course will even include a significant ear-training component. This class is intended for high school students comfortable with reading standard music notation. Plug in your axe, turn on your amp, crank up the volume, and get ready to make a joyful noise!

Grade Levels*:
8, 9, 10, 11, 12
* Enrollment restricted based on Date of Birth and Grad Year (whichever is more limiting). Enrollment outside these levels requires written concurrence from TPS Support.
Notes and Conditions

• Students should be comfortable reading standard music notation.

“This course is great for anyone who wants to not just play music but to see how it works. After an introduction to the fundamental principles, the course dives into the chords and patterns that make up today’s music. If you want to take the step from reading music to interpreting and composing it, this course is for you.”

Issac B

“I took TPS Contemporary Music Harmony when I was in high school. It was awesome! The class helped prepare me so much for the theory classes I took for my bachelors and masters degrees in music!”

Rachel M

“Since September, I have gone from only knowing the most basic rudiments of classical music theory to being able to write chord progressions, voice-lead, harmonize melodies, build many different types of chords along with their variations, and much more. Coming into this class and simply getting to learn from the teacher and my wonderful classmates was a major positive uplift every time. Because of this course I am planning to join my church’s worship band next year, which is something I would never have been interested in doing had it not been for what I’ve learned here.”

Rebekah C
Reviews from Students and Parents