Learning Music Theory Theory Things   William Wieland
In the summer of 1999, I incorporated technology into MUS 110 Music Theory and created the following document: Pedagogical Philosophy of MUS 110 Music Theory. In the summer of 2009 I received a mobile computing stipend for course re-design and created the document you are reading.
The mobile computing goals of the NSU initiative are:
  1. to promote an environment that is conducive to anytime, anywhere learning
  2. to create a more learner-centered environment
  3. to promote acquisition of 21st century skills
Students turn to the Internet to socialize, game, aquire information, and even learn. To fulfill the first mobile computing goal, I will guide students to numerous excellent music websites, e.g. Key Trainer, Music Terms & Beautiful dreamer, as well as my own web pages, e.g. Textures & B flat Instrument Transposing Tutorial. They will also learn to find and evaluate online sources themselves. Todd Quinn guided me to Finding Information on the Internet & Five criteria for evaluating Web pages. My students will buy a small book and inexpensive music software this year. One day I hope to teach this course with all free online materials and applications, e.g. Melodia - Book I by Cole and Lewis (1904) & Anvil Studio.
To create a more learner-centered environment, I am trying to improve my course for students with diverse backgrounds. My 1994 course was chalk and textbooks 5 days a week in the same room. My 1999 course utilized electronic keyboards in 2 lab sections. My 2009 course focuses on students of different abilities. I have coupled weekly one-on-one and small group sessions with relevant computer and piano work. (See the Typical Week at the beginning of my MUS 110 Basic Music Theory I Schedule.) To challenge more experienced students, I am including more advanced materials and implementing more critical thinking, i.e. analysis and composition. To ensure that all music majors are prepared for upper level coursework and future careers, I am implementing music competencies tied to the MUS 110 final grade including: Guiding my work are standards from the National Association of Schools of Music Handbook 20092010, pp. 84 and 85, B. Common Body of Knowledge and Skills
  1. Performance. Students must acquire:
    1. n/a
    2. n/a
    3. The ability to read at sight with fluency...
    4. ...conducting skills...
    5. Keyboard competency.
    6. ...regular ensemble experiences.
  2. Musicianship Skills and Analysis. Students must acquire:
    1. An understanding of the common elements and organizational patterns of music and their interaction, the ability to employ this understanding in aural, verbal, and visual analyses, and the ability to take aural dictation.
    2. Sufficient understanding of and capability with musical forms, processes, and structures to use this knowledge and skill in compositional, performance, analytical, scholarly, and pedagogical applications according to the requisites of their specializations.
    3. The ability to place music in historical, cultural, and stylistic contexts.
  3. Composition and Improvisation. Students must acquire a rudimentary capacity to create derivative or original music both extemporaneously and in written form; for example, the imitation of various musical styles, improvisation on pre-existing materials, the creation of original compositions, experimentation with various sound sources, and manipulating the common elements in non-traditional ways.
  4. n/a
  5. Technology. Students must acquire the ability to use technologies current to their area of specialization.
To promote the acquisition of 21st century skills, I have incorporated a variety of instructional strategies including:
Because I believe music students must learn to write music, my courses are not paperless. See Music Fundamentals.
George D. Kuh, IN Univ Center for Postsecondary Research
The Fun Theory
I am also intrigued by Wikipedia's andragogy article:
  • Adults need to be involved in the planning and evaluation of their instruction.
  • Experience (including mistakes) provides the basis for learning activities.
  • Adults are most interested in learning subjects that have immediate relevance to their job or personal life.
  • Adult learning is problem-centered rather than content-oriented.