Lamont's music theory department offers academics, performers and composers a robust catalog of specialties and concentrations. Small class sizes and advanced coursework reflect the Lamont School of Music's reputation as a premier music school in the West. Courses are offered on a broad range of topics, including counterpoint, Schenkerian analysis, atonal theories, formal analysis and more.

Under the close supervision of a faculty member, students pursuing the Master of Arts in Music Theory will write a thesis that contributes to the field on a topic of their choosing. By serving as Graduate Teaching Assistants for our undergraduate theory courses, they receive a scholarship and stipend and also immediately gain teaching experience. Admission to the M.A. is highly selective, as it is primarily meant for students wishing to pursue a Ph.D. in music theory.

Graduate students with an interest in music theory might also choose to do a Certificate of Music Theory Pedagogy, which cultivates applied skills for careers in music education, performance, composition, arrangement and more. 

Application and Portfolio Requirements

  1. Completion of an appropriate undergraduate degree or the equivalent.
  2. Completed application, including transcript(s), three letters of recommendation, and statement of purpose for graduate study in this degree program. Please include a list of your theory teachers and the textbooks assigned for their theory courses in your statement.
  3.  An analytic essay or research paper that engages a music-theoretic issue. This paper should demonstrate critical and independent thinking in conjunction with the appropriate use of analytic tools, relevant musical examples, and primary and secondary sources as necessary.

To be considered for a Graduate Teaching Assistantship in Music Theory, please submit the following additional materials:

  1. The syllabi from your undergraduate theory courses.
  2. Ask your recommenders to comment on your teaching abilities, or potential.
  3. Non-theory applicants must also complete item #3 above, an analytic essay or research paper that engages a music-theoretic issue. 

Note that we may ask candidates for GTA positions to take a keyboard and sight-reading test via Skype.


Kristin Taavola

Kristin Taavola

Associate Professor

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Mitchell Ohriner

Mitchell Ohriner

Assistant Professor

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Jonathan Leathwood holding a guitar

Jonathan Leathwood

Teaching Associate Professor

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Chappell Kingsland leaning on piano

Chappell Kingsland

Adjunct Faculty

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