I don’t know how many times I have found a student using a pen or inappropriate pencil for their music theory homework.

Music is an art form, and when writing music on manuscript the dots, lines and curves are a graphical representation of that art. Therefore students need to develop a manuscript style of their own, and learn to write impeccably when writing manuscript.

The most important tool is a pencil. Certainly when starting out with music theory the pencil is the one and only tool that should be used for writing manuscript.

Once they have completed the work in pencil many composers and music copyists traditionally completed their final drafts using a fine felt tipped pen – this makes for an excellent manuscript style. This makes it easy to photocopy and makes it easy to use. These days however this practice is quite out-dated, as computer layout programs will do this job in a much better way.

When completing simple music theory worksheets however the best rule of thumb is to stay with a pencil, as this will make corrections easy.

It is also important to choose a pencil which is appropriate for your writing style. If you are particularly heavy handed, then perhaps a hard pencil like a “H” might be appropriate, or if you are light then perhaps a “HB” or “2B”. Experiment and choose the best for you. It is always worth buying top quality pencils for music theory, as cheaper ones will break and not produce the best results.

The other important tool is a pencil sharpener. The pencil must always be 100% sharp, as this will really effect your manuscript style.

So when structuring a music lesson plan for music theory teachers should firstly make sure that their students have appropriate tools to write their music theory.