Music Theory Pedagogy teacher with theory student.

Pedagogy | Music Theory Pedagogy

Course description

This 15-hour course focuses on pedagogical approaches and examination expectations in view of the new harmony/analysis requirements in The Royal Conservatory Theory Syllabus, 2016 Edition. It is designed to provide practical support for music theory instructors of Advanced theory levels (Level 9 Harmony, Level 10 Harmony and Counterpoint, ARCT Harmony and Counterpoint and ARCT Analysis). 

Unfolding as a progressive sequence, the course presents several interconnected units ('Harmony', 'Melody', 'Counterpoint', 'Tonal Hierarchy', 'Analytical Procedures', 'Forms and Structural Elements', 'Modern Techniques/Post-Tonal Materials') which can be taught concurrently and may be reordered to adapt to the learning capacities of a student or class. Each unit contains an overview of the corresponding Syllabus concepts, discusses teaching strategies and presents various skill-building activities. Teachers will complete sample exercises, mark sample student workings of exam questions, and reflect on the pedagogical value of the individual theory components. 

Music Theory Pedagogy is intended primarily for teachers of music theory, or those seeking to expand their teaching to advanced theory (harmony and analysis) levels, and particularly those who are preparing students for these advanced level examinations. It would also benefit teachers of practical disciplines who wish to gain insights into advanced theory studies, and how they support the development of complete musicianship. 

The course will inspire classroom creativity and encourage development of instructors' personal teaching styles. 

The learning objectives of the course are: 

  • To guide teachers who are working with students in preparation for advanced level theory examinations 
  • To clarify examination expectations
  • To discuss the pedagogical value of each examination question
  • To provide resources and classroom strategies for teaching the theory component of The Royal Conservatory Certificate Program
  • To make theory more relevant, accessible and immediate to students' experience as musicians
  • To shift from a descriptive, nomenclature-focused approach, to critically informed interpretive teaching and learning activities 
  • To discuss the ways of engaging active hearing, and connecting students? music instincts with analysis and part-writing 
  • To foster conscious application of theory skills to live music making
  • To bring the analytical and compositional repertoire closer to the modern practices 

The course is based on The Royal Conservatory Celebrate Theory Series, Levels 9-ARCT. Supplementary resources include bibliography, references to RCM on-line courses and digital resources, sample assignments, practice exercises, music examples and tables, lists of terms, symbols and common music theory vocabulary. 

Course requirements: Celebrate Theory Series (Level 9 Harmony, Level 10 Harmony and Counterpoint, ARCT Harmony and Counterpoint and ARCT Analysis).