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Elective Classes



The Carnegie Mellon Music Preparatory School believes in a well-rounded student musician. Classes are offered in Dalcroze Eurhythmics, Musicianship, Theory and Composition, Improvisation and Solfege. 

Students taking private lessons receive one elective class included in their tuition each semester. 

Click the "Details" tab above for more information on classes and schedules.


The Beginning Piano Program includes a weekly group class, private lesson, and a class in Eurhythmics. 

Classes meet each Saturday in Margaret Morrison Carnegie Hall (MM) or the College of Fine Arts (CFA). Campus Map

Quick Links to Programs


and Theory


  Creative Expression


Group String



Dalcroze Eurhythmics

Pre-school Eurhythmics
(children ages 4-5)
Pre-School Eurhythmics is based on the principles of Emile Jaques-Dalcroze who provided the first structured musical experience for very young children. Movement, ear training and improvisation are integrated into a joyful half-hour of walking, running, skipping, swinging, singing and playing instruments. The opportunity to respond to music in a group setting while experiencing the elements basic to all music is an exciting introduction to the art.

MM 119 — 12:00 – 12:30pm *30 minute class

(children ages 5-9)
Eurhythmics helps students experience music throughout their bodies. Based on the principles of Emile Jacques-Dalcroze, Eurhythmics integrates movement, ear training, and improvisation. Classes are grouped by age. Contact the Music Preparatory Office 412.268.3667 for more information.
MM 119 — 9:45am – 10:30am
MM 119 — 10:30am – 11:15am
MM 119 — 11:15am – 12:00 pm

Advanced Eurhythmics
(children ages 8-11)
Students who have completed the Beginning Piano Curriculum or students in this age group who have not had prior Eurhythmics experience explore the elements of music through movement, ear training, and improvisation.
MM 119 — 9:00am – 9:45am

Mindfulness for Young Musicians 

This new and innovative class will introduce young musicians to the experience of Mindfulness practice by offering tools and techniques to integrate Mindfulness into both their instrumental practice and performance.

This class will provide students with the skills necessary to become more Mindful and successful during instrumental practice as well as before and during performances. Cutting edge neuroscience research has shown that regular Mindfulness practice has the power to change the functioning of our brains. Students will learn about the parts of the brain associated with Mindfulness, while engaging in kinesthetic activities involving breathing, listening, moving, focusing, connecting, and relaxing.


11:00am - 11:45am (ages 7-9)

12:00pm - 12:45pm (ages 10-13)

Musicianship and Theory

Musicianship I
(two consecutive semesters - Fall/Spring)
This course is designed to provide students with a better understanding of the language of music. Students will be guided through a series of listening, reading, and writing exercises that will develop strong aural skills and support a thorough understanding of the work they are doing in private lessons.
MM 127 — 9:30am - 10:15am

Musicianship II
(two consecutive semesters - Fall/Spring)
Taken upon completion of Musicianship I, this course is a continuation of the listening, reading, and writing exercises designed to develop strong aural skills and a thorough understanding of musical concepts. A focus on rhythmic and tonal dictations will provide students with the foundations to begin more advanced theoretical analysis.
MM 127 — 10:30am – 11:15am

Theory (two consecutive semesters - Fall/Spring)

Taken upon completion of Musicianship I and II, this course develops listening skills and provides a foundation for analysis of harmony and musical structure. Also included in the Theory course is a historical context for music from the Medieval through 20th Century periods.
MM 127 — 11:30am - 12:15pm

Advanced Music Theory and Composition
Advanced Music Theory and Composition is a student-centered, achievement-based program that is designed to achieve and exceed national and state standards. It is interactive in its design and has peer and self-assessment components. It contains a highly individualized and active sequence of learning experiences. Students create new, original music composition projects that reflect their level of craftsmanship and aesthetic decision making.
MM 119A — 11:15am – 12:00pm
MM 119A — 12:15pm - 1:00pm 


This course is designed to train the ear to recognize and identify intervals and pitches. Based on the system of solfege, (do,re,mi...), students practice sight singing and dictation to build ear training skills that can be applied to their instrument.

Prerequisite: Musicianship I

CFA 160 — 1:30-2:15pm

Improvisation Classes

Improvisation Classes
Students create music spontaneously using rhythms, melodies, and harmonies.
CFA 157 — 12:00pm-12:30pm (Beginners)

CFA 157— 12:30-1:00pm (Beginners)

CFA 157 - 1:00-1:45pm (Advanced)


Creative Expression 1

We'll take theory principles out of the book and learn them on our instruments, creating original works using the building blocks of music. Students will be able to perform on their own instruments and percussion instruments as we compose and bring theory to life. Students will come away from the class with a thorough understanding of music theory after applying it in their own works, and we will end the semester with a performance of our original compositions. 

CFA A2 - 10:45am-11:30am

Creative Expression 2

Students use instruments, voices, and percussion to create their own original compositions.  Students will find joy in making music and will enjoy a creative and social outlet for their talents.  Practical application of music theory and compositional techniques from classical masterworks blends as students create their pieces in small ensembles.  Students will aslo explore the score behind the great composers and their music.

Prerequisite: Musicianship, Thoery, or Creative Expression I

CFA A2 - 12:30pm-1:15pm

Creative Expression 3

Students use instruments, voices, and percussion to create their own original compositions.  Students will find joy in making music and will enjoy a creative and social outlet for their talents.  Practical application of music theory and compositional techniques from classical masterworks blends as students create their pieces in small ensembles.  Students will aslo explore the score behind the great composers and their music.

Prerequisite: Creative Expression 1 & 2

CFA A2 - 11:45am-12:30pm

Creative Expression 4

Students use instruments, voices, and percussion to create their own original compositions.  Working with Jennie Dorris, who has developed creative projects with young musicians across the country, students will find joy in making music and will enjoy a creative and social outlet for their talents.  Practical application of music theory and compositional techniques from classical masterworks blends as students create their pieces in small ensembles.  Students will also explore the scores and stories behind the great composers and their music.

Prerequisite: Creative Expression 3.

CFA Percussion Studio - 11:45-12:30pm

Community Engagement

Students will engage closely with a community partner and create a custom, creative concert program.  This advanced, highly collaborative class builds on the principles of composition from Creative Expression.

Prerequisite: Creative Expression I, II, and teacher invitation.

CFA Percussion Studio 10:45-11:30am

Percussion Ensemble (Spring Only) 

Any student looking to strengthen his or her rhythmic reading, ensemble playing, and repertoire knowledge is welcome to join Percussion Ensemble. Percussion ensemble literature gives students a chance to experience composers throughout history (we play Gregorian chant and brand-new works) and a wide range of instruments, from mallets to timpani to a range of drums. Students will work in duos, trios, and larger groups, and will become proficient percussion performers, as well as bringing strong rhythm and collaboration skills back to their primary instrument. 

CFA Percussion Studio - 10:45am-11:30am

Group String Classes

Group String Class (Fall and Spring Semesters only)
Learning to play with other strings is fundamental to a student's proficiency. Group violin and cello classes are open to non-Preparatory School students at appropriate age and skill level. Availability of group classes depends upon student enrollment. Please contact the Music Preparatory Office for information on appropriate level for your child. Students will be placed in the appropriate Group Class by String Faculty.

Times and locations for Group String Classes TBD 

Young Artists Orchestra: This chamber orchestra is comprised of intermediate/advanced string students ages approximately 9-14 years old.  This ensemble meets weekly from September to May on Saturdays from 1:00-2:30 pm in Margaret Morrison 119.  The conductor is Mr. Steve Erhlich, Orchestra Director of the East Allegheny Schools.  There is a final performance at the conclusion of each semester as part of a showcase event featuring several of our performing groups and based on a unique theme.  

Eligibility: Students should have prior group or ensemble experience if possible.  Students should have competency with note reading, shifting into higher positions, and vibrato.  Entrance is based on audition.

Audition Information:

For all instruments, please prepare the following for the audition:

1. A solo piece (preferably a concerto) of your choice that includes shifting to 3rd position (no accompaniment necessary)

2. The following scales in at least 2 octaves (3 octaves encouraged): G, D, A, C, F, B-flat

3. An etude of your choice that shows shifting to 3rd position or higher

4. Sight reading may be asked.

Please print and submit application form by May 31, 2017.


$150 per semester (for CMU Prep students choosing this course as their one Elective Class)

$285 for Non-CMU Preparatory students or CMU Prep students choosing this course as a second Elective

Online Courses

On-Line Music Theory and Composition
This state-of-the-art collection of learning experiences in music is designed to develop and produce new and innovative ways to give our students musical skills and knowledge in interactive and participatory ways.

* Currently enrolled Music Preparatory families – this course is not included in your private lesson tuition.

  • Registrants must have their own computers with internet and e-mail access. 
  • Dr. David Berlin will field all questions and proctor course work through
  • On-line course availability is limited to 14 weeks after which point access to course work will be shut off. 
  • This on-line course is designed for students 10 years (6th grade reading level) and older, including adults. Learn music theory with your children!
  • This course is appropriate for the beginner to advanced student. A placement test is given at the beginning to determine the student’s appropriate placement in the sequence of learning experiences. 

412-268-3667 or

For ages 10 through adult. (minimum of 6th grade reading level recommended) Designed and proctored by Dr. David Berlin.

Cost: $150

Please contact the Music Preparatory Office with any questions.


Jennie Dorris

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Jennie Dorris is a writer, percussionist, and interdisciplinary artist based in Pittsburgh. She performs with Alia Musica, a new music ensemble, and Crusic Percussion, with whom she has planned collaborative concerts featuring chamber music, writing, film, and dance.

Jennie has developed innovative education programs that allow students to create their own musical works. She is the new Education Director for the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, and she is a teaching artist through the Pittsburgh Symphony’s  Meet the Maestro program, where she has performed and taught interdisciplinary programs that weave music into the environment, the solar system, and film. 


Anne Jackovic Moskal

Artist Lecturer in Solfege

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Professional violinist, orchestral musician, and teacher, Anne Jackovic discovered her unique talent at the age of two. She exudes passion and dedication through exquisite performances. Her first training was received at the Carnegie Mellon Preparatory School while studying violin privately. After receiving her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Carnegie Mellon University in Violin Performance under the instruction of Cyrus Forough, she returned to obtain her Masters degree. Throughout her career, she has placed in many competitions throughout Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Keynotes Scholarship Competition, Pittsburgh Concert Society, WQED-FM, and Duquesne City Music Center recognized her talent and dedication through awards and Scholarships. Carnegie Mellon University chose Jackovic as the 2005 "Most Outstanding Senior", presenting her with the Harry G. Archer Award. Additionally, she was featured as a soloist in a royal concert for Prince Philippe and Princess Christine of Chimay, Belgium. Winning her first professional audition, Jackovic became a member of the Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra in September of 2005. Since that time, she has also won section positions with the Pittsburgh Opera Orchestra, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Wheeling Symphony Orchestra, and most recently, Assistant Concertmaster with the Erie Philharmonic

Jackovic teaches violin throughout the Pittsburgh community. While completing her Masters degree at Carnegie Mellon, she substituted as a Solfege instructor for several university level classes. In the summer of 2006, she was appointed to be the Solfege instructor for the Carnegie Mellon Pre-College students. She has recently been appointed Artist Lecturer in Solfege for the School of Music and is currently on the violin faculty for the String Preparatory School.


Shirli Nikolsburg

Mindfulness for Young Musicians

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Shirli Nikolsburg teaches Mindfulness for Young Musicians at the Carnegie Mellon Preparatory School of Music. Ms. Nikolsburg introduces young musicians to the experience of mindfulness practice into both their instrumental and performance practice.

Shirli is nationally trained in mindfulness technique. In 2017 she studied extensive Mindfulness practice with Dr. Deepak Chopra and Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn at the Chopra Center in California and also earned a teaching certificate in “Mindfulness in the Classroom” from Mindful Schools, a national organization that trains educators to integrate Mindfulness into the K-12 classroom.

Shirli holds a Master of Science in Applied Developmental Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh where she graduated as the Dean’s Scholar of the Year in 1999. She holds a postgraduate certificate in Gestalt psychotherapy from the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland.

Ms. Nikolsburg is licensed since 2015 by the State of PA to provide continuing education credit for teachers at “in-service” in early childhood education.

Having  received a Bachelor of Arts from Chatham University, Shirli has extensive experience teaching music, visual and the performing arts in the Pittsburgh region and in her native country of Israel.

 Ms. Nikolsburg is originally from Haifa Israel where she graduated from the department of piano at the conservatory of Donya Witzman in Haifa Israel.