Mr. Penksik teaches AP Music Theory.  He can be reached by email at


An online tool for practicing and assessing music theory fundamentals.  Links to several useful phone apps are included.

A comprehensive music theory website filled with practice exercises for aural and written music theory that includes many advanced concepts.

This website allows users to print blank staff paper in a variety of sizes and layouts.  You can print for free and save your favorite styles.

MakeMusic is a software company that specializes in music software.  Finale Notepad is a free version of their popular notation software.

All AP Exams are developed by The College Board.  The Music Theory class page at the AP Central site has a course description and example AP Exam materials.

What is AP Music Theory?

Advandced Placement (AP) Music Theory is an elective music course for advanced music students that follows the College Board suggestions for curriculum and ultimately prepares students for success on the AP Exam in May.  Students require the recommendation of an ensemble director or private lesson instructor.  Students interested in enrolling should talk to a Hinsdale Central music teacher for more information.

Why take AP Music Theory?
  • It is strongly recommended for all students planning on a music major or minor in college.  The curriculum is exactly what first-year music students study and, therefore, AP Music Theory students are prepared to succeed in their freshman year.

  • It prepares music students for music participation after high school.  Many Hinsdale Central students play or sing in collegiate ensembles, community bands or choirs, or church ensembles after graduation.  In addition, music is a common double major for pre-med and pre-law students.

  • It is the last chance for non-majors to study music at this level.  Most college majors leave little room for elective courses and, therefore, this is the last opportunity for many students to take an advanced music class.

  • It improves ever student's ensemble and performance skills.  A deeper understanding of music theory makes students better performers.

Passing scores on the AP Exam often receive college credit and the test and course cost far less to take than any college class.  Some students pass out of music classes, others can enroll in more advanced classes, and some only receive general credit.  If you are a Hinsdale Central student entering college with multiple AP credits it is possible to register as a sophomore, which guarantees enrollment in popular classes, or even graduate early, which saves a significant amount of money.
  • It trains your musical ear.  The curriculum includes teaching sight-singing, melodic dictation, harmonic dictation, and critical listening skills.

  • It teaches the music fundamentals and skills that improve composition skills.  Students in this class compose an invention in the style of Bach, a minuet in the style of Mozart, a piece based on a twelve tone matrix, and a theme and variation composition.