Comprehensive Theory Program From Early Childhood Through Adult Students

Fox River Academy Theory Classes are available for both Academy and non-Academy students wishing to supplement their musical education. Classes are designed to reinforce students’ understanding on theory concepts learned in private lessons, suchas rhythm, note-reading, musical terms, listening, etc. in a fun and comfortable group setting. Curriculum ranges from basicconcepts of music theory (ear training, music reading, and notation) to more advanced concepts (key systems, chord theory, style analysis, etc). Theory classes are once a week and last 50 minutes, and the majority of assignments are done in class.

At Fox River Academy, we want to ensure that students are placed in the appropriate theory level that will challenge them and provide the most optimum opportunity to advance in their music learning. Before starting (and at the conclusion of each consecutive quarter), students take a Placement Test specifically designed to assess the appropriate theory level the student should participate in. Students are placed in classes according to their skill level and musical experience.

Sessions are once each week for 45 minutes, and each class focuses on a specific area of music (history, ear-training, note reading, etc.).
Theory tuition for non-Academy students is $80 for each quarter. Currently enrolled Fox River Academy students receive a special discount, at $60 for each quarter. Each quarter contains ten theory sessions.

Class Listings

Current Music Theory Classes

Theory levels 1-4
Instructor: Mindi Chase
Time: Mondays 4:15-5pm
Tuition: $60 current student and $80 non-current student

Theory levels 5-10
Instructor: Mindi Chase
Time: Mondays 5-5:45pm
Tuition: $60 current student and $80 non-current student

Theory Instructors

Jordan Mandela-Knudson

Guitar, Theory


Jordan Mandela Knudson began his musical studies at the age of four on the violin. Shortly thereafter, he embarked on what would be a long search to find an instrument that spoke to him as both a listener and a player. Finally, eight years and nearly as many different instruments later, he picked up a guitar and has not looked back since.

Jordan’s confident technique, creative musicality and enthusiasm for his craft have won him praise from audiences, as well as in master classes by David Russell, Pavel Steidl, Marcin Dylla, Berta Rojas, and numerous others. He has twice won second prize in the Society of American Musicians competition, in 2009 and 2010. In summer of 2011, Jordan was awarded a full scholarship to attend the Aspen Music Festival.

Jordan earned his B.A. in guitar performance from Columbia College, and his Master of Music degree in performance from Roosevelt University. Jordan inherited the knowledge of several distinct musical legacies through his private study with Sharon Isbin, Denis Azabagic, Brazilian master Fabio Zanon, and historical keyboard virtuoso David Schrader. He now shares his own synthesis of these traditions with audiences as well as his private students. Jordan has performed and taught throughout the United States and internationally.

In addition to solo recitals, Jordan regularly performs in chamber music concerts, and has played as a soloist with the Knox-Galesburg Symphony Orchestra and the Signature Youth Orchestra. He also maintains an active teaching schedule.