Music Theory Instruction

The following materials are available for your consideration in planning music theory instruction.

You may organize music theory instruction as independent study or as a class setting. When I ran the class in my high school, I taught it as an after school credited class one or two days per week. At one time I often had three different levels of theory classes, but more often there were two (the upper level class working with advanced compositional techniques or jazz theory, the lower with basic fundamentals). Although I was not this lucky, some schools have Music Theory as a registered class during the day. The other possibility may be to assign the work as an independent study for credit and meet when needed.

Suggested Sequence of Student Learning Expectations:

 Content

Year One Student Learning Expectations

Treble, Bass, & C clefs
Note and Rest durations and rhythmic identification/composition
Pitch placement and melodic organization/composition on all clefs
Visual and Aural identification of all intervals in both directions up to an octave.
Visual and Aural identification of root inversion triads in Major, Minor, Diminished and Augmented
Visual and Aural identification of harmonic movement using Tonic, Sub-dominant, Dominant chords with roman numeral

Year Two Student Learning Expectations


Four-part voice leading principles and composition skills
Writing of all major and minor scales and key signatures
Visual and Aural identification of all triad and 7th chord inversions
Visual and Aural identification of all intervals in both directions up to a 15th
Identification of major historical periods and the major composers/compositions
Visual and Aural identification of harmonic movement using all diatonic chords with roman numeral
Transposition of all major instruments in the band and orchestra

Year Three Student Learning Expectations


Visual and Aural identification of Jazz harmonies and progressions
Basic visual analysis of harmonic structures
Composition skills through solo/ensemble performance of original composition in any style
Identification of 20th Century musical styles, composers, compositions, and performers

 

The following free websites are recommended for preparation of collegiate music study. These are listed in order of recommendation.

1. Musictheory.net: http://www.musictheory.net/index.html

  • lessons = text (as in a book) that explains the material.
  • trainers = interactive exercises to practice material learned in the lesson. Remember to explore all possibilities for each trainer exercise. You can control how easy/difficult the questions will be.

2. Theory on the Web: http://www.smu.edu/totw

3. Jazz Theoryhttp://www.petethomas.co.uk/jazz-theory.html

4. Jazz Classhttp://www.jazclass.aust.com/contents.htm

5: A Passion for Jazz! Music History and Education History of Jazz music, styles and musicians featuring timeline, festivals, photos, guitar & piano chords, scales, glossary & online lessons. http://www.apassion4jazz.net/

6: A collection of sites: http://dmoz.org/Arts/Music/Theory/

7: Music Resources for Kids http://www.samedaymusic.com/library--musicresourcesforkids

8: teoria http://www.teoria.com/

9: eMusicTheory http://www.emusictheory.com/

10: G Major Music Theory http://gmajormusictheory.org/Fundamentals/workbooks.html

11: MuseScore: Free music composition and notation software http://musescore.org/

12: Crescendo Music Notation Software: Free music score writing and composing software http://www.nch.com.au/index.html (search for Crescendo)

13: NoteFlight: online music notation software http://www.noteflight.com/

14: SonicFit: web-based tool to develop aural and sight singing skills and drill fundamentals and theory. http://www.SonicFit.com

This link leads you to the AP Music Theory Exam from the College Boards: http://store.collegeboard.com/productdetail.do?Itemkey=254386

Lesson Tutor : Index of Music lesson plans, worksheets, puzzles ...Interactive puzzles, music notation notes and lesson plans with ... Music and Music History ... ABC of Music : A Short Practical Guide to the Basics http://www.lessontutor.com/musicgenhome.html

The following programmed theory books may also be used for preparation of collegiate music study. These are listed in order of recommendation. As a reference point, these prices were recently found on barnesandnoble.com.

  • Manoff, Tom. The Music Kit. 4th edition. New York: W.W. Norton, 2000. Includes CD and computer software (with interactive exercises that return personal feedback and scores). ($67.75) The software is Macintosh and Windows compatible.
  • Clough, John and Joyce Conley. Scales, Intervals, Keys, Triads, Rhythm, and Meter. 3rd edition. New York: W.W. Norton, 1999. Includes CD. ($49.75)
  • Steinke, Greg and Paul Harder. Basic Materials in Music Theory: A Programmed Course. 10th edition. New Jersey: Prentice Hall Professional Technical Reference, 2002. ($72.00)
  • Feldstein, Sandy. Practical Theory Complete: A Self-Instruction Music Theory Course. New York: Alfred Publishing Co. Inc., 1997. ($9.95, which is quite inexpensive!)
  • Surmani, Andrew, Morton Manus, and Karen Farnum Surmani. Alfred’s Essentials of Music Theory: Complete. New York: Alfred Publishing Co. Inc., 2000. ($12.50)
  • Surmani, Andrew, Morton Manus, and Karen Farnum Surmani. Alfred’s Essentials of Music Theory, Teacher’s Answer Key Book. New York: Alfred Publishing Co., Inc., 2000. ($18.50)