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become the most Inspiring Music Teachers

Spring 2024 MECA

Continuing Education Courses


Tonal Music Theory Review for Teachers, Composers, and Arrangers


February 12-May 3, 2024

Course Code



3 Graduate Credits*


$1,125 is due in full with registration. A $15 Early Bird Discount will be applied until January 14.


An online refresher course of basic and chromatic theory. Candidates who need to brush up on their knowledge of theory before registering for a course in arranging should consider this elective. Theory Review will also serve as residency electives for students seeking a master of music education degree at VanderCook.

*Students enrolled in the MMEd degree program at VanderCook may register for this course at the 500-level through the student portal. Please contact Dean Sinclair at [email protected] if academic advising is needed.


Chat Session

Optional drop-in Q & A via Zoom on Tuesdays 4-5 PM Central.


Since this is a review course, it is assumed and expected that the students have had four semesters/two years of theory in the college program in the past, and are able to read treble and bass clef fluently.

Required Text(s)

Music Theory for the 21st Century Classroom:

Optional Text: The Musician’s Guide to Theory and Analysis, fourth edition, by Jane Piper Clendinning & Elizabeth West Marvin

Learning Platform Information (Online Courses Only)

Schoology is a learning management system that allows you to interact directly with your instructors, fellow students, and members of the greater VanderCook community.

The evening  before your class begins, be on the lookout for an email from Schoology with log-in instructions. Once you receive credentials, visit to login. 

Some courses have specific online chat meeting times (please see course descriptions), while others have a flexible meeting schedule. You can expect all courses to meet together in a live online chat. If a live meeting time doesn’t work, you can work with your instructor to make other arrangements.

More information about Schoology can be found at

Please see specific software/hardware requirements in the course description.

Online course grades are available within two weeks of the course(s) completion.  If you need a transcript, please CLICK HERE to access the online transcript request form. For a faster turnaround time, please submit the transcript request to the registrar prior to the end of your course(s).


I Hsuan Tsai

I-Hsuan Tsai

Associate Professor, Theory and Piano

Dr. Olivia I-Hsuan Tsai serves as an associate professor at VanderCook College of Music. She is a frequent presenter at conferences of Illinois Music Teachers Association, Music Teachers National Association, and College Music Society, featuring music of Chinese and Taiwanese heritage. Her book “Schubert’s Piano Trios” was published by Scholar’s Press in Germany in 2014. Dr. Tsai is appointed in 2017 as guest professor at Lanzhou Northwestern University. She also performs at many colleges and universities, including Roosevelt University and Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, Coastal Carolina College in NC and Nebraska University in Kearney.

In addition, Dr. Tsai has appeared as a soloist with QingDao Concert Hall Orchestra, Southern Illinois Symphony Orchestra, and Highland Park Strings. She was the staff pianist of the world renowned Aspen Music Festival and Musicorda Music Festival in the US, as well as artist faculty/performer of Oficina Music Festival, Curitiba Music Festival in Brazil and Algarve Music Festival in Portugal.

In 2018, she founded Yang and Olivia Foundation and organized a cultural exchange concert where she performed as part of the diverse and dynamic chamber group Momento Virtuosi, celebrating Qingdao’s Sound of Phoenix Grand Theater grand opening. Since the pandemics, the foundation has helped raise funds for concert venues, individuals in need, and performed for churches and schools via live stream.

Dr. Tsai came to the United States in 1993 not only as a pianist but also a bassoonist. She received her Bachelor of Music degree with high scholastic achievement award in 1996, and Master of Music in both piano and bassoon at Indiana University in Bloomington as Emma E. Claus Scholarship recipient in 1999. She went on to earn her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in piano at the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music (UC, CCM) as a recipient of graduate scholarship, where she also served as faculty at CCM’s preparatory department. During her student years, she was the winner of the Buckeye Piano Competition, Graves Piano Competition in the US, and Young Artist Series in Taiwan.

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The mission of VanderCook College of Music is to enrich the lives of present and future generations by developing uniquely skilled music teachers who exhibit strong character, professionalism, and a commitment to excellence.

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