AP Music Theory combines creativity and challenge for gifted music students – Inklings News
Staples High School is known for its award-winning music programs: band, orchestra, and choir. But what course displays all this? AP Music Theory.
The AP Music Theory course provides students with a variety of unique musical skills and knowledge. Due to increased interest and enrollment, this year the course will be co-taught by band director Philip Giampietro and co-director of the symphony orchestra Carrie Mascaro.
Giampietro has been teaching this course since joining Staples in 2019. Having another teacher gives each student more individual attention.
“Ms. Mascaro is going to teach a lot of auditory stuff, the idea of ’can you hear what you see. (..) There is also the part of the written test where Mr. Giampietro makes the students work mainly on this side, ”said Stephen Zimmerman, coordinator for music and visual arts.
There are hundreds of other cultures and eras that approach music very differently. I think a diversion into some of those areas would be very interesting. ”
—Jeffrey Pogue ’23
The AP Music Theory course now has the ability to cover a wide musical spectrum, what students hope to be able to do.
“There are hundreds of other cultures and time periods that approach music very differently,” Jeffrey Pogue ’23 said. “I think a diversion into some of those areas would be very interesting.”
The AP exam also has an element of uniqueness in the way it tests knowledge. While AP exams typically include a combination of timed writing and multiple choice, the music theory test differs.
“There’s a part of the exam where you have to listen to music that’s being played and write it down,” Giampietro said. Also, where you have to see music for the first time and sing it.
This course requires interested and easy-to-learn students who are looking for a challenge.
“I didn’t expect to sing so much in it. I enjoyed it though, and I feel like it makes me a more complete musician,” Caitlyn Schwartz ’24 said.
The complexity of this class comes down to the variety of skills students learn, which challenges them on a deeper level than a typical AP class. Students are now beginning to experience the underground aspect of music, where they are expected to use their own creativity to conquer distinctive tasks.
“It’s a bit like opening the hood of a car and trying to figure out what everything is doing under there,” Giampietro said, “instead of just getting behind the driver’s seat and driving.”