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Commercial Music

At LAVC, Music Technology is the Commercial Music Program

Music Technology studentsThe industry may have moved from major recording studios to intimate home studios, but the skills remain the same. The Commercial Music Program can teach you what it takes to make professional recordings, using real-world gear, and all in a comfortable learning environment. Students have gone on to work at Sony Digital, Capital Records, and Skywalker Sound.

Music Technology studentsBeginning with the basics, students learn to run a session—micing and recording everything from small jazz combos to full symphony orchestras on professional equipment. Audio tracks are edited digitally on Pro Tools and mixed down to CD, and even edited and mixed to DVD for TV or film in 5.1 Surround Sound. Three control rooms, each offering studies in a unique area of recording, cater to students of all types and interests.

Music Technology studentsThe Commercial Music Program can take you from idea to finished product. Classes in commercial harmony, composition, arranging, computer music notation, MIDI production, recording engineering and digital audio editing, can teach you to write, orchestrate, sequence, record, mix and produce your own music.


Music 101 Fundamentals of Music
3 units: CSU:UC
Prerequisite: None.
Lecture, 3 hours.
Introductory course in reading and writing music. Covers notation, keys, scales, intervals, chords. Includes experience in sight singing and ear training.

Music 137 Music as a Business
3 units;
Prerequisite: None.
Lecture, 3 hours.
A study of the business aspects of music. The course addresses the skills and knowledge necessary for success in the music business and related careers.

Music 161 Introduction to Electronic Music
3 units; CSU
Prerequisite: None.
Lecture, 2 hours; laboratory, 2 hours.
This introductory course explores the history and use of electronic equipment, synthesizers, computers and recording equipment in the making of music. Topics include computer hardware and software, modern sequencing techniques, MIDI, and basic digital audio, using the Macintosh platform. It is assumed that the student have some proficiency at the keyboard, as well as the ability to read music.

Music 165 Introduction to Recording Arts
3 units; CSU
Prerequisite: None.
Lecture, 2 hours; laboratory, 2hours.
An introduction to the theory and practice of acoustics, audio, and recording. Topics include: the nature of sound; basic acoustics; audio systems and terminology; microphone principles and usage; recording styles; recording studio equipment; multi-track recording procedures.

Music 205 Commercial Harmony I ‡
3 units; CSU
Prerequisite: Music 101 or Music 200.
Lecture, 3 hours.
This course makes the transition from traditional harmony to commercial harmony. Terminology, notation, chord structure and usage are covered with an emphasis on part writing using open and closed 4ths, major 6th &7th chords, minor 7th chords, major, minor, pentatonic and blue scales, modes, blues and commercial chord progressions.

Music 206 Commercial Harmony II ‡
3 units; CSU
Prerequisite: Music 205.
Lecture, 3 hours.
Emphasis on harmonizing melodies in popular songs, both in written form and at the keyboard. Topics include establishing and identifying tonal centers, harmonic rhythm, root movement by fifth and step, characteristic chord progressions, voicing patterns and strategies, and use of altered and extended harmonies.

Music 241 Music Notation and Copying I
1 unit; CSU
Prerequisite: None.
Lecture, 1 hour.
Instruction and hands-on experience in the techniques of music, chord symbol and lyric notation. Training in lead sheet, piano, and master rhythm score construction, as well as score and part layout, as it is applied using the computer. It is assumed that the student has the ability to read music and has basic skills in computer use.

Music 242 Music Notation and Copying II
1 unit; CSU
Prerequisite: Music 241.
Lecture, 1 hour.
Continuation of Music 241. Advanced instruction and hands-on experience in the techniques of music, chord symbol and lyric notation. Training in full orchestral and big band score, as well as score and part layout, as it is applied using the computer. It is assumed that the student has the ability to read music and has basic skills in computer use.

Music 265 Recording Arts Workshop
3 units; CSU RPT2
Prerequisite: Music 165.
Lecture, 2 hours; laboratory, 2hours.
This course presents the basic technique of recording and mixing. Emphasis is placed on multi-track recording. The student will have the opportunity to prepare for and participate in recording sessions.

Music 281 Commercial Music Techniques I
3 units; CSU
Prerequisite: Music 206.
Lecture, 2 hours; lab/performance, 2 hours.
Emphasis on writing for rhythm section, jazz combo and big band. Projects include lead sheet, rhythm charts, three horn and big band arrangements. Projects are performed and recorded. Students conduct their projects and their recording sessions.

Music 282 Commercial Music Techniques II
3 units; CSU
Prerequisite: Music 206 and 281.
Lecture, 2 hours; lab/performance, 2 hours.
A continuation of Music 281, focusing on development of writing techniques for live and studio orchestra, as well as project studio. Emphasis is on larger forms, incorporating vocal arranging, synthesizer sweetening, and multi-track recording over-dubs, in a variety of contemporary styles. Introduction to scoring cues for film, television and video in a project studio setting.

This is a list of all available courses. Not all courses are offered every semester. Check the Class Schedule for course availability.

All students who are enrolling in a theory class (200, 201, 202, 203, 211, 212, 213) for the first time at LAVC should make sure they enroll in the proper level of the course. Most students should enroll at an introductory level: theory (200), piano (321), current musical events (152). Those with extensive prior study may take a placement examination to qualify them for higher levels of theory, of piano, and the performance workshop (250). This examination will be given the 1st meeting of class.

The lists of required and recommended classes for the Music Major and the Commercial Music Major are also available in either the Counseling office or the Music Department. Additional repeatability for the Music classes listed below is permitted for matriculated Music major students; see department chair or course instructor: Music 190, 250, 261, 321, 322, 323, 324, 414, 453, 501, 531, 563, 604, 614, 624, 654, 701, 711, 721, 731, 751, 771, 775, and 781.

All courses which meet the Major Requirements of the educational programs listed in this catalog may be applied toward graduation requirements for the Associate Degree. All transfer courses may also be applied to the Associate Degree.

  • UC - This course is acceptable for unit credit at all branches of the University of California.
  • CSU - This course is acceptable for credit at all branches of the California State Universities and Colleges.
  • NDA - Non Degree Applicable. Some courses which are offered for college credit, but which cannot be applied toward graduation requirements for the Associate Degree are designated by the code NDA, Non Degree Applicable.
  • RPT-The repetitive nature of a course is designated by the abbreviation RPT. The symbol RPT indicates the number of times a course may be repeated for credit. Example: Spanish 8, Conversational Spanish 2 units; RPT3. This course may be taken for four semesters at two units per semester.
  • ‡ - Courses not offered every semester are indicated by the symbol ‡. Students are advised to pay careful attention to the class schedule for current enrollment information.
  • Certain courses have some class sections which are designated as Transfer Alliance Program (formerly Honors). These classes are designed primarily for students who plan to transfer to a four-year college or university. Transfer Alliance classes are indicated in this section by the symbol which appears at the end of the course title line of information.
  • Several courses will show a California Articulation Number (CAN) in parentheses after the course title information. The CAN number is a common reference number used for courses statewide to identify course content.
Prerequisites are also indicated. Students may not receive credit for a course for which they have not met the prerequisites. Since agreements concerning transferability and equivalencies may change, students are advised to check with a counselor for exact information and to seek assistance from the appropriate department chairperson when making extended plans.
Los Angeles Valley College · 5800 Fulton Ave., Valley Glen, CA 91401 · Music Dept. Tel (818) 947-2346 ·