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Methods for teaching music theory

By Kevin | March 30, 2010

At the Fun Music Company we are currently engaged in creating both music theory worksheets and software to assist in the teaching of music theory, through our upcoming product called interactive music games.

In thinking about these topics, I have been considering the methods that teachers use when sharing music theory with their students.

I’ve come up with three critical concepts which can assist in this area.

Critical Concept Number One – Begin with the music, then the theory.

One thing that nearly all music teachers agree with is that music tuition should begin with sound, and then move onto written understanding. Therefore it is important to always start with what something sounds like, then explain why it is the way it is. For example if showing students chords it is critical for a student to understand at first how a major or minor chord sounds, the emotion that it is conveying and the reasons why a major or minor chord might be chosen for a particular situation. Once they can hear the sound, and its reason for being the mechanical knowledge will follow.

Critical Concept Number Two – Try to understand one thing at a time

Music is a multi-dimensional language. What does that mean? Well it means that in order to read music many different pieces of information have to be absorbed at one moment. That is the concept that makes it most difficult. A given musical event has both a pitch (what note it is), and a duration (a length of time it is played for). Add to that it also has a dynamic (how loud it is) and also expression marks that have to be read by the musician. That is why music can be so difficult to learn to understand music theory.

Critical Concept Number Three – Keep it relevant

The final important concept with music theory is to keep it relevant. The music that the student is learning currently is the music that should be used to connect with their music theory. For example if a student is playing classical music then they shouldn’t be learning jazz harmony. The music that students are currently performing is what should be used as the basis for their music theory lessons.

I’ve also been researching a lot of Information about Music Theory Worksheets, and how they might relate to software products in the classroom.

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Topics: Educational Music Software, Music Software | No Comments »