NCVPS AP Music Theory Updates!

May 17, 2016

Dear Parents, Students, and ELAs,

Welcome to the last week of the course! We made it through the AP Exam and now we're about to submit our Final Composition projects!

Some updates for this week...
-All work from Module 20 is due by Friday May 20 at 11:59pm.
-Regardless of which composition (instrumental or vocal) you choose, ALL module 20 assignments are required.
-The Final Composition project is worth 25% of the total course grade!
-A recording of your composition is not required, but a staff clearly marked with Roman Numeral Analysis is!
-The final grade report will include the 3rd quarter grade, the 4th quarter grade, the final exam (composition) grade, and the final course grade. THE FINAL COURSE GRADE IS NOT YET CALCULATED. This is for 2 reasons: 1- the final exam (composition) grade is needed for an accurate calculation, and 2- the first and second quarter grades need to be transferred for the calculation. I do this manually so it will take some time. You can always check your fall grades in the fall course.
-Each quarter of the class is worth 18.75% of the final course grade. The exam is 25%.

This should do it! Thanks so much for being a great class this year and teaching me some things as well! I hope everyone had a productive year and good luck in the future!

Please let me know if you have other questions before Friday!
Dr. L

April 17, 2016

Dear Parents, Students, and ELAs,

We have 3 major announcements for this week...

#1: The AP Exam is getting closer! Our scheduled exam day is Monday May 9th at 8am!

I have fielded many questions about the exam in the last couple of days and I felt that I should clarify a few points with you...
-Your face-to-face school should have already registered you for the exam. Check with your guidance counselor to be sure.
-Some schools give you a choice in taking the exam and some don't. Dr. Tom and I fully expect everyone in this class to take the exam on May 9th, but we will respect your school's rules about your choice in taking it.
-There will be an alternative exam date if (and only if) you have a conflict with another AP Exam.
-If you are the only one at your school taking this course through NCVPS, you may be asked to take the exam with students from a neighboring district.
-The exam format is broken into 3 sections: multiple choice, free response, sight singing. You will not write any words on the exam (everything is written in music) and yes, you will need to sing in front of a proctor and be recorded for grading.

We go over the exam format weekly in our Wednesday Webinars if you would like more detail.

#2: Quiz grades in the course.

Over the last few weeks, it has come to my attention that our quizzes in modules 16 and 17 are not populating with the correct answer keys. I have already made the announcement that all quizzes in modules 16 and 17 with be pass/fail. If students complete the entire quiz, they will receive 100. If the quiz is incomplete or not attempted, it will be a zero. However, I will have to make this change manually, which means that your calculated score will appear immediately after you complete a quiz. This will be updated weekly. There is no need to email me.

#3: Late work.

Now that we are at the end of the course, I will accept work from previous modules form the 4th quarter (Module 15 through 19). The absolute last day to submit late work will be Sunday May 8. Once the AP exam is over, I will not take any previous work. Period. From then on in the course, we will be working on our final projects, worth 25% of the total grade!

I hope this helps to clarify some questions you all might have. NCVPS has a grade report coming up this week so grades will be posted to the schools by Wednesday.

Have a great week!
Dr. L

March 29, 2016

Dear Parents, Students, and ELAs,

Many many of you have asked about upcoming due dates because of your spring break plans (thank you!). Here is a list of modules we have left and their due dates from here to the end of the course.

Module 16, Lessons 1 and 2: March 24 (Thursday, No class on March 25)

Module 16, Lessons 3 and 4: April 1

Module 17: April 8

Module 18: April 15

Module 19, Lessons 1 and 2: April 22

Module 19, Lesson 3, Exam #1: April 29

Module 19, Lesson 3, Exam #2: May 6


Module 20, Lesson 1: May 13

Module 20, Lessons 2 and 3: May 20 (END OF COURSE)

Also remember that NCVPS does not observe a spring break...we continue working through the spring with the exception of Good Friday (March 25). If you are going on a trip for spring break, please make arrangements to complete your online work!

February 28 2016

I wanted to take a minute to talk about late work. Because the second semester goes so fast, Dr. Tom and I have decided not to accept late work. Remember that in general, you have 2 weeks to complete any work in the course. If you complete any late work, please email me with the name of the assignment(s) so that I know to grade your work.

At this point in the course, you should be complete with chapters

Please note that the assignments for today are non-graded items. They are important, but be conscientious about make up work and time management today!

Do you think you might need some additional help in preparing our course material? Consider a Peer Tutor through the Peer Tutoring Center. Check out the link on our homepage for more info.

Shout out today to Addison for sending a redo of the Twinkle Twinkle assignment. Have you checked your feedback on last week's assignments? If I asked you for a redo, please send that ASAP so that you get more credit!

Did you know that NCVPS has a Peer Tutoring Center?

February 12, 2016

Dear Parents, ELAs, and students,

We have just completed week 22 of the course!

Please take note that our 'Modified No Zero' grade policy is now in effect! This means that any assignments not completed from weeks 19, 20, and 21 will have 0s in the grade book. Please take today to complete any missing assignments from week 22 (module 11) to avoid getting zeros on incomplete assignments in this module. Remember that module 10 is now closed to make up work but will remain accessible for studying.

Here are the graded assignments from Module 11:

Module 11 Checkpoint- Non-Chord Tones Quiz

Module 11 Non-chord Tones Quiz #1

Module 11 Non-chord Tones Quiz #2

Module 11 Non-chord Tones Quiz #3

Module 11 Non-chord Tones Quiz #4

Module 11 Non-chord Tones Quiz #5

Module 11 Aural Skills Quiz #1

Module 11 Aural Skills Quiz #2

Module 11 Aural Skills Quiz #3

Module 11 Lesson 3 Part Writing Quiz

Also, a progress report went out to the schools this week from NCVPS. Please ask your ELA for your grade update. You can also check the "grades" area of the course or ask me for your grade. Remember that when communicating grades, I will use a grade code consisting of letters that correspond to the numbers 0 to 9.

Here is the grade code:

A – 0
B – 1
C – 2
D – 3
E – 4
F – 5
G – 6
H – 7
I – 8
J – 9

Example 1: If you are sent a code of JD, then your student has a 93 as of the email/text.

Example 2: If you are sent a code of GI, then your student has a 68 as of the email/text.

Have a great weekend and contact me if you have any questions!

Did you know that NCVPS has a Peer Tutoring Center?

Students can access the PTC any time they need help! To learn more, please visit:

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Spring Semester Welcome! January 29, 2016

Dear Parents, Students, and ELAs,
Welcome to the spring semester!

We're nearly to the end of week 2. By this point, module 10 in the course should be complete. Since we have had some adverse weather, I will accept late work without a penalty, however, I ask that the students email or text me with a list of assignments that were completed late. This way, I will know that your work is ready to be graded (Moodle does not give me an indication that late work has been submitted).


Starting this week coming up (unless you were a late addition to the class) any incomplete work will be marked with a ZERO in the grade center. IF YOU WISH TO COMPLETE ASSIGNMENTS AFTER THE DUE DATE, YOU WILL NEED TO EMAIL OR TEXT ME WITH THE ASSIGNMENT NAMES. I WILL NEED TO REMOVE YOUR ZERO BEFORE YOU CAN SUBMIT ANY MAKE UP WORK. And remember that late work will incur a 5% deduction. Remember that I will not be taking late work beyond one week this semester.

Shout out today to Sammie and Sally for attending office hours last night! Office hours are every Wednesday at 6pm on Blackboard Instant Messenger. This is an opportunity for the student to ask questions individually. It's not required, but encouraged for clarifying concepts and answering questions.

The Peer Tutoring Center is here to help! Don't forget that if you'd like to be connected to a virtual buddy or peer tutor, the Peer Tutoring Center can be reached through BBIM (or just email me).

Thanks! Let's have a great semester!
Dr. L
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December 18, 2015

Dear Students, Parents, and ELAs,
Welcome to the last day before winter break!! We've come a long way in AP Music Theory and have finally covered all of our content for this semester!

As you might have noticed, the grade book is completely updated up to and including module 8. Module 9 is our current module, so that grading is ongoing and will be completed shortly. Here are some things to remember about make up work and redo assignments...

1 -I will NOT accept assignments completed on more than a grand staff unless the assignment specifically asks for it. This means that you will need to select "keyboard" instruments in Finale or Sibelius for anything that needs to be turned in on a staff.

2 -I will be deducting points for not drawing stems on your note heads or not drawing stems in the right directions.

3 -I will be deducting points for accidentals not drawn on the correct side (left) of the note head. Remember that the AP Readers will do the same thing, so please get into the habit of drawing them on the left, just as if you were reading and putting in quotes at the beginning of your sentence.

4- Late assignments will NOT be allowed a redo attempt.

5- The only assignments eligible for a redo attempt are those that I specifically ask for in the assignment feedback. Basically, READ YOUR ASSIGNMENT FEEDBACK.

6- Redo attempts should be completed within one week of the grading. Otherwise, the 50% score will remain.

7- If you complete any late work, please email or text me the names of the assignments. This is the ONLY way that I can grade your late work...Moodle does not alert me to late submissions.

8- All late work from modules 5-9 needs to be completed BEFORE January 8...the last day of the semester. The course will be open over the break. PLEASE TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS TIME TO CATCH UP ON LATE WORK.

9- The midterm MUST be completed during exam week after New Years.

**PLEASE NOTE: I will be checking my email occasionally over the break (Dec 19-Jan 3), but I will not be online grading each day. Please text me (919-410-6595) if you have an urgent question.**

December 4, 2015

Dear Parents, ELAs, and Students,
Welcome to December! This week, we finished Module 8. It is due by Friday 12/4 at 11:59pm. Looking ahead, we have 2 weeks left before the holiday break, during which time, we will cover module 9. This means that everything except the midterm should be complete before going on break.
Late work is accepted...
If you have late work to submit at any point before the end of the semester, please text or email me the NAMES of the assignments you complete. This is the ONLY way that I will know to grade your work if it comes in after the Friday deadline.

**Remember that if you're interested in being a peer tutor, I need to know by the end of the week. Please send me an email if you'd like to be considered!

Did you know that NCVPS has a Peer Tutoring Center?

Students can access the PTC any time they need help! To learn more, please visit:

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November 19, 2015

Dear parents, ELAs, and students,

We are currently working on Module 8 of our course (First Inversion Triads and Species Counterpoint). When we harmonize using First Inversion Chords, remember that we generally use these chords in passing positions. For example: I-I6-IV...etc. But, some chords are used in the first inversion to reinforce function (i.e.: ii6 as a pre-dominant) and some are used in the first inversion so that we avoid doubling tendency tones (i.e.: vii6).

Module 8, Lessons 1 and 2 will be due by Friday 11/20 by 11:59pm.

Thank you to those who attended our culture cafe session Tuesday night with NC Symphony assistant conductor David Glover! I've received some terrific reactions and extra credit assignments. If you missed the session, you can view it at this link:

If you'd like to submit extra credit, please watch the session and email me ( with 3 things that you learned. The last day I will accept these will be Friday 11/20 at 11:59pm.

Heads up...
NCVPS has class next week on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. We will have Thursday and Friday off for the holiday. This means that no new assignments will be posted, but the course is still open and you can go in o complete any work you need. This would be a great tine to catch up on anything missing in the open modules!

November 6, 2015

Dear parents, ELAs, and students,

We are now in the 2nd quarter and moving along to Module 7. The 2nd quarter will include grades from Modules 5-9 plus the midterm.

Remember that today we have assignments due from Module 7 lessons 1, 2, and 3:

Complete the Progression Quiz

Instrument Transposition Quiz

Transposing Bolero Assignment

Harmonization Identification Quiz

Fill in the blanks Quiz

Just a clarification on transposition (since I've seen so many questions)...we're taking the concert pitch (written in C for everyone) and turning it into a playable part for our three instruments. So, when completing the transposition assignment, keep in mind that we're going to have 3 different key signatures, 3 different pitch levels, and 3 different ranges.

Did you know that NCVPS has a Peer Tutoring Center?

Students can access the PTC any time they need help! To learn more, please visit:

Check out the video below for more info.

October 20, 2015

The end of the First Quarter grading period is fast-approaching!!

Remember that ALL make up work from modules 1-5 is due by Friday October 23 at 11:59pm. Anything completed from Modules 1-5 is subject to the late work penalty as well. Modules 1-5 will be on the grade report! PLEASE EMAIL OR TEXT ME when you have completed any work that needs to be updated in the grade book. Modules 1-5 will be closed to make up work after Friday 10/23 at 11:59pm.

Interested in learning about Halloween Music? It's that time of year! Join me and Dr. Tom as we explored this subject in next week's Culture Cafe:

Wednesday October 28th, 8pm
2015-2016 Culture Cafe Classroom
Participant dial in 571-392-7703

PIN: 942 684 936 988

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October 6, 2015

Happy October and welcome to week 7 of APMT!

Please note that our first quarter is almost over! First quarter grades will be submitted after week 9, so if you have lingering assignments from modules 1-4, please get those in ASAP. We are now in module 5.

This week's topic is Major and Minor scales (module 5)...

Major scales are pretty easy. They always take on the same pattern of steps: WWHWWWH.

Remember though that there are three forms of minor: natural, harmonic, and melodic. When we're identifying chords built on the diatonic minor scale notes, we usually use either the harmonic or melodic scales...we don't use the natural minor as much because the dominant in that scale is minor and not a functional chord (dominant needs to be major to be functional). We discussed this in more detail in WW week 3. If you need to review, you can watch the archive here:

Another question this week was about how to arrange root position for a chord that spans treble and bass clefs. Follow these steps...
1. Put all pitches in one clef.
2. Stack in a snowman (root position).
3. Eliminate duplicate pitches. If you are analyzing a chord in 4 voices and the chord is a triad, you will have doubles of one of the chord tones at the octave. When we have this, we only need to count that note once in our root position analysis.

If you have questions about these or other topics (harmonic dictation, modes, key signatures, etc.) please plan on asking for clarification at either my office hours Wednesdays at 6pm on BBIM or Webinar Wednesday at one of the following times: 8:30am, 9:30am, 10:30am, 11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm, 2:30pm, 3:30pm, 4:30, 6:30pm, and 8:30pm.

Did you know that NCVPS has a Peer Tutoring Center?

Students can access the PTC any time they need help! To learn more, please visit

September 21, 2015

Welcome to week 5 of APMT!

We are moving along to Module 4 this week (week 5): Building Chords!

Questions to consider about Triads...

Triads are some of the most basic structures in music. What are the others?

How do we get the name "triad"?

How many triads are in a given key area?

If you have access to it, the video below is a good one for explaining triads (courtesy of one of my AP reader colleagues!)!


Please bring your questions! Choose one of the following sessions to attend...

8:30am, 9:30am, 10:30am, 11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm, 2:30pm, 3:30pm, 4:30, 6:30pm, and 8:30pm.

Have you checked your progress report grade?
Grades were submitted to the NCVPS registration system last week and should be accessible to your ELA. If you have grading questions, please contact me!
phone/text: 919-410-6595

Did you know that NCVPS has a Peer Tutoring Center?

Students can access the PTC any time they need help! To learn more, please visit

AP Music Theory : How to build Triads

September 8, 2015

Hi and welcome to a new year of AP Music Theory!

For those of you who do not know me yet, my name is Dr. Lindsay Leach-Sparks and I'm thrilled to be taking you through this music theory journey to the AP Exam in May. I will be posting (emailing) a bi-weekly message here throughout the course. Feel free to check it as often as needed to get info or to respond to it with questions.

Last week, Dr. Tom and I did a voluntary Webinar Wednesday...these are our weekly lectures where we clarify concepts and give the students an opportunity to ask questions in real time. This week's Webinar Wednesday will be required and hosted LIVE at 8:30 am, 9:30 am, 10:30 am, 11:30 am, 12:30 pm, 1:30 pm, 2:30 pm, 3:30 pm, 4:30 pm, 6:30 pm and 8:30 pm. We will keep this schedule on Wednesday's throughout the year

Last week, we discussed the technique of the Mannheim School called the Mannheim Steamroller (click the link here if you did not have a chance to attend This technique of a long and slow crescendo to a thundering end defines the term "Mannheim Steamroller" from which the current band Mannheim Steamroller takes their name. Taking a pretty basic musical concept and showing the "why's" and "how's" music came to be is a mentality that we will need to mold as we progress in AP Music Theory.

One other item is that of communicating grading information to stakeholders (parents and/or schools). In accordance with the General Assembly and NCVPS policy, all communication concerning student grades must be sent using password-protected documents. Password-protected documents can be cumbersome for both the user and the receiver. The Leadership Development team has adopted a more user-friendly method of communicating grades that still protects student privacy. Instead of a password-protected document, you will receive a grade code via email or text. The grade code will consist of letters that correspond to the numbers 0 to 9.

Here is the grade code:

A – 0
B – 1
C – 2
D – 3
E – 4
F – 5
G – 6
H – 7
I – 8
J – 9

Example 1: If you are sent a code of JD, then your student has a 93 as of the email/text.

Example 2: If you are sent a code of GI, then your student has a 68 as of the email/text.

Please let me know if you have any questions and have a great week!
Dr. L