Mastering Music Theory Monotony

How is it even possible to get a group of high school students interested in music theory?! If you’ve taken music lessons of any sort where the theory book was dragged out you know what we mean. It’s usually the dreaded subject when learning an instrument! I’ve heard my fair share of groans from people when the topic is even mentioned. Well, Benjamin and I were given the opportunity to teach music theory to the high schoolers at Emmaus Baptist Academy for a series of weeks and we weren’t about to pass up the opportunity and the challenge! I, for one, was very excited to share my enthusiasm of music theory that I gained while in school. Let’s just say, my perspective of music theory changed a lot in the past two years. 🙂

As we saw the school year approaching we began to concoct a plan. We knew we only had about 2 1/2 months to teach once a week so it was important that we make the most out of the time.

One of our goals is the show the teens that music theory can actually be fun to learn! Most people might be a little skeptical at that last statement, but we’ve excitedly taken on the challenge to prove that it’s true. Each lesson plan touches on a simple yet specific area of music theory that will be practically useful in their choir and handbell classes. But….even knowing that it’s useful information, learning note values and time signatures is not a fun thing usually! So we decided to make the entire 2 1/2 month class a competition. I don’t know many teens who don’t have a little competitiveness in them! So every week their team points are based on how they do as individuals on their homework and who wins the team games.

The biggest challenge with teaching this class has been the time restraint. 30 minutes a class is all we have! After quickly going through the basic concepts, we spend most of the class time playing a game to reinforce the terms and concepts. We have found this to be much more useful (and fun!) than lecturing for 30 minutes and sending them off with homework! And speaking of homework, you might notice our new Music Theory tab. My techy husband has ingeniously made it possible for the students to submit their homework online. Now THAT is bringing up to modern day.

We still have two months left to go in the class and we are thrilled to see the students getting excited about learning. We’ve had so much fun doing this together as with many other projects. Looking forward to more adventures together down the road!