If you’re a music teacher like me you know that most music students roll their eyes when you mention that you are going to bring out a music theory worksheet for them. Many even at the mention of music theory tend to get scared and feel that it really isn’t for them, when there is no need to feel that way. Music Theory is really quite an easy thing to master, if approached in the right way.
Firstly, always relate the music theory to something practical on the students instrument. This point cannot be emphasized enough if thinking about music theory in a practical way.
Music is a practical subject, and always will be. For a musician to develop and grow they must always be developing their practical musicianship skills on their instrument as well as developing their ability in their mind.
The worksheets that they are working on should always relate to their practical work. It is silly for example to teach a guitarist or drummer how to analyze a Mozart Flute concerto. They will be bored, they will be disruptive and not engaged in the activity. An activity where the guitarist and drummer have to analyze the chords of a Van Halen song is far more likely to keep them engaged and interested during the lesson.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t engage students in a lesson learning about different musical styles – It is very important to improve students sphere of influences, as this will shape them as musicians. However, music theory is one of those areas where the students will get very bored and disruptive if they can’t see an application for what they are learning.
The next idea in keeping music theory worksheets fun and engaging for the students is to try and add in some games at the end of the lesson, or tied up into the activity. There are a lot of educational music games available now which help in this area. The games can either be played on an interactive whiteboard, or used on a network of computers.
hopefully if we can use a couple of these ideas then students will be more engaged and less difficult to manage in the music theory classes.