Conference Abstracts

Augmented-Sixth Chords and Tritone Substitutions, Structural Similarities and Contextual Differences - Julian Guillermo Brijaldo Acosta (University of Miami, Frost School of Music)


Notwithstanding the increasingly wide variety of repertoires explored within the core music theory curriculum, existing textbooks trail far behind in adjusting traditional conceptual and analytical methodologies to these developments. For instance, the notion of Tritone Substitution, commonly addressed within the jazz and popular music genres, is only introduced in a handful of textbooks (Jones, Shaftel, Chattah 2013) and a few articles on music theory pedagogy (Biamonte, 2008). As these authors recognize, Augmented 6th chords, in the common practice repertoire, and Tritone Substitution chords, in popular repertoires, share numerous features: intervallic structure, tendency tones, and function. In this paper, I delve more deeply into the similarities and differences between these two seemingly equivalent structures (Augmented 6th chords and Tritone Substitution chords). By critically exploring numerous examples from a wide variety of repertoires, I offer a contextually nuanced reexamination of their labeling, usage, and function. This provides valuable analytical tools that the students will be able to internalize during the core music curriculum and use to approach non-classical repertoires.

The Use of the Parallel Period in Aural Skills through Melodic Dictation and Error Detection - Alexander Amato (Stephen F. Austin State University, TX)


Among exercises in Aural-Skills courses, it is the melodic dictation that often poses the most challenges for the students. The pitches of a melody can sound as random scalar notes to the ear of the first-year undergraduate. When this randomness occurs, melodic dictation is reduced to a mere abstract exercise at detecting scale degrees and/or intervals between adjacent notes, completely oblivious to rhythm or other aspects that could be used as contextual clues. The main points of the exercise such as absorbing the motivic content and shape of the melodic line end up taking a back seat in the process. This demonstration features a classroom-tested procedure of improving students’ accuracy and understanding of melodic dictations through an approach that systematically uses parallel periods and combines listening with internalization. My approach comes from several perspectives. First, I introduce the parallel period as a model. Using musical memory (Karpinski 2000) and error-detection (Rogers 2004), students come to expect rhythmic emphasis on 2ˆ and 1ˆ at the ends of the antecedent and consequent phrases, respectively. Second, I use a musical agent/narrative perspective that personifies the melody and illustrates the similarities between a parallel period and the basic outline of a story’s plot (Bailey- Shea 2011). Third, I use the basic aspects of an interrupted fundamental line (Schenker 1979) that dictates the shape of the melodic line. This procedure has resulted in significant improvement in both the students’ hearing and singing of melodies. Overall, it has increased student engagement in Aural-Skills courses through an objective approach.

Improvisation as Analytical Pedagogy: The Concerto’s “Display Episode” Within a Sonata – Andrew Aziz (San Diego State University)


In previous work (2015), I have prescribed how an instructor can employ recomposition and improvisation as active learning tools for sonata theory pedagogy; these techniques enliven ambiguous boundary points between thematic sections—including transition, secondary theme, and closing—and propose that it is advantageous to analyze by considering hypothetical versions of a given work. The current presentation expands upon the issue of improvisational structures within masterworks of the High Classical period and reexamines the definition of “analyzing improvisation,” especially in the works of accomplished improvisers Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. While the aesthetic of improvisation is often built into fantasia and concerto forms, this paper examines virtuosic passages within sonata form which blur the lines between compositional and improvisational domains. Echoing Rosen (1988), who declares that “the relation of concerto to sonata is reciprocal” (97) as it is “only too easy to find examples of their articulating the form of a sonata with this kind of virtuoso passagework” (79), I use the concerto form as a point of departure, agreeing with Dahlhaus that the concept of “display episode” (1991, 101-02)—a term that distinguishes virtuosic from lyrical music within a second theme—need not be limited to concertos. This differs from Hepokoski and Darcy (2006), who apply the term exclusively to concerto forms. Through four High Classical sonata examples—including live improvised piano supplements—I discuss how “display episode” is a valuable tool for sonata theory pedagogy, underscoring how the concept of improvisation is an integral part of the Formenlehre toolbox.

Teaching Counterpoint, Harmony, and Voice-Leading with Galant Schemas - Nathan Baker (Casper College)


Undergraduate music majors seem to be entering our schools not having previously acquired a basic grasp of the grammar of classical music through exposure to it. Without a familiarity of the common practice style to draw upon, traditional abstract methods of teaching counterpoint, harmony, and voice leading result in student writing that is unstylistic and all too often unmusical. I have found more satisfying results are produced by using Robert Gjerdingen’s galant schemas as the basis for students writing two-voice counterpoint. After being introduced to the basic structure of a schema, students proceed to embellish the structure, and thereby naturally learn principles of structural hierarchy, melodic figuration, and musical gestures that are stylistically idiomatic. By recognizing commonalities across multiple schemas, students acquire an organic understanding of harmony. Adding a third voice to the music leads students to write smooth but interesting lines for each voice in a multi- part texture, rather than awkwardly trying to link one isolated vertical chunk of notes to the next. With very little difficulty, students soon find themselves writing first a complete phrase of music, then a period, and finally a full piece in rounded binary form. In this workshop, I will demonstrate the use of galant schemas in the introductory theory classroom, leading participants starting from basic schema structures, through the process of embellishment, and finally through the creation of a simple but complete and satisfying piece of music idiomatic to the galant style.

Tetractys Modes and Third Substitutions: An Expanded Model of Harmonic Functionality - Nathan Baker (Casper College)


In their 2011 paper “Fundamental Passacaglia: Harmonic Functions and the Modes of the Musical Tetractys,” Karst de Jong and Thomas Noll built upon the well-formed structural scale of Norman Carey and David Clampitt and expanded the tonic-predominant-dominant model of harmonic functionality, which has long been represented by the chord progression I-IV-V-I, to include I-ii-V-I and I- IV-bVII-I. By plotting their three modes of the musical tetractys on the tonnetz along with third substitutions of the tetractys chords, I have created an expanded model of functionality that accounts for a wide variety of harmonic progressions, which are used in early polyphonic music, the common practice era, and the contemporary writing of pop/rock songs and video game scores. Further, I propose renaming these expanded predominant and dominant harmonic areas to plagal and authentic, respectively, thereby acknowledging that the authentic function can be served by chords other than the dominant and that music that progresses in a tonic-authentic-plagal cycle is not merely “backwards” compared to common practice (as implied by the term predominant). Finally, I demonstrate how this expanded view better models functionality in a variety of styles of music. Specific examples I will discuss include Lydian, Phrygian, and Dorian/Mixolydian cadences; the opening to Mendelssohn’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream Overture”; the classic blues progression; two pop/rock songs (“Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster the People and “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk); and pieces of video game music featuring the bVI-bVII- I cadential progression.

Assessing Assessments:  Research-Based Methods to Improve your Grading Practices – Sara Bakker (Utah State University)


Much of the innovation in music theory pedagogy has focused on the realm of teaching—problem-based learning, expanding canonic repertoires, flipped classrooms, new technology, etc. The other half of the educational coin—assessment—is relatively neglected, garnering little attention beyond criterion-referenced grading in the music- theory pedagogy literature. Yet assessment is critically important to educators and students alike: it allows educators to discover whether their goals are being met, and it gives students crucial information for improvement. In this paper, I will summarize recent research on effective approaches to assessment and suggest applications for the music-theory classroom. I will review several key components of learning, such as the importance of processing information while learning it, solving challenging problems at all stages of learning, and incorporating delayed, but repeated retrieval. Then, drawing on the work of assessment researchers such as Grant Wiggins, Trudy Banta, and David Carless, I will discuss assessments that effectively gauge knowledge and skill in music theory. First, I will address ways to tweak existing assessments, such as interleaving exam topics and converting summative tests to formative, perhaps requiring a minimum score by the due date. Second, I will address how to design new assignments based on best practices. For example, research shows great benefit in assigning projects that require the sophisticated application of knowledge and in adopting elements of collaborative evaluation. Attendees will understand what makes some assessments better than others and leave ready to implement improved strategies of assessment in written and aural theory classes alike.

Designing a New Course: Team Teaching Music and Math – Christine Boone (University of North Carolina, Asheville)


The connections between music and math have often been explored, but most studies on the subject are aimed at either music scholars or mathematicians, not both. This presentation outlines the preparation and implementation of a team-taught course in music and math aimed at undergraduate music and math majors, taught by a music theory and a math professor. The class, cross-listed in both the music and math departments, covers a wide range of material, from tuning and temperament to serial music to algorithmic composition. To address these subjects, we used a combination of lecture, listening, analysis, computation, composition, and hands-on lab experiences (e.g. a monochord lab). One of the biggest challenges of creating the course was designing a final project that would accurately assess the students’ comprehension of both mathematical processes and musical aesthetics. Each music student was partnered with a math student, and each pair was instructed to compose and perform a piece of music that was informed by a mathematical technique. In addition to chronicling the execution of the course as a whole, this presentation describes the guidelines for the final project and how we arrived at them, which pieces and composers served as models for the students, details about the assessment process, and actual student compositions that were submitted. To conclude, I offer concrete suggestions for professors considering teaching a course about the intersection of music and math, as well as general recommendations for team teaching, and for working with students from multiple disciplines.

Shaping the Undergraduate Aural Skills Class: A Comparison of Traditional Dictation Strategies and Informal Learning Strategies - Chelsea Brinda (Indiana University)


Anyone with experience teaching aural skills has likely encountered the student who is reluctant to learn or lacking confidence. Using ideas from psychologist Albert Bandura, we might say that the student has low motivation, self-efficacy, or responsibility. This study explores the potential for informal learning to improve student attitude and achievement. Introduced by music educator Lucy Green, informal learning implements non-traditional strategies such as cooperative, student-led learning and use of popular music. Participants in this study will be assigned to either a traditional-learning group (control group) or an informal-learning group (experimental group). The two groups will contain equally-skilled participants, based on self-reported achievement in a freshman aural skills course. The traditional group will perform a melodic dictation in an instructor-led classroom setting. Participants in the informal group will be unsupervised, they will choose their dictation piece, and they will complete the dictation with a partner. I will compare pre- and post-test survey responses and examine participants’ accuracy on the dictation. The following questions are of interest: 1. Will informal learning correlate with a higher sense of self-efficacy and responsibility? 2. Can informal learning help create a sense of confidence in one’s dictation ability? 3. Will informal learning affect how one perceives their achievement? 4. Is there a difference in accuracy between each group? Because of the collaborative nature of informal learning, I anticipate that using this strategy will positively influence the experience of doing a melodic dictation. This outcome would correspond with previous research by Green.

The Issue of Mixing vs. Grouping in Undergraduate Music Theory Pedagogy – Michael Callahan (Michigan State University)


In disciplines ranging from natural science to art history, researchers in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) have compared the effectiveness of two opposing methods of presenting and practicing new material: mixing and grouping. In class, is it better for students to discuss five impressionist paintings, then five symbolist ones, then five expressionist ones (grouping), or instead to alternate among three styles in an interleaved presentation (mixing)? Should physics or mathematics students solve ten problems requiring Equation A, then ten requiring Equation B, etc. (grouping), or instead be confronted immediately with the difficulty of having to choose the correct equation for each problem in a mixed set? The intuitive advantages of grouping—clear explanation, better structured and less frustrating practice, and the potential to master one concept before moving onto a related one—have been shown, perhaps counterintuitively, to be outweighed by the benefits of mixing to both learning and long-term retention; and not despite mixing being a more effortful, struggle-inducing, even frustrating learning process, but precisely because of these so-called “desirable difficulties.” This presentation has three aims: first, to summarize SoTL research that defines mixing and grouping and attests to the advantages of the former; second, to apply these ideas to music theory pedagogy, considering the implications for topics commonly taught through grouping, such as species counterpoint, chromaticism, and form; and third, to report on specific curricular redesigns in my undergraduate courses as well the design of a formal impact study planned for fall 2017.

Gamification and Repetition Pedagogy Components in the Web App, Picardy - Hermes Camacho and Alex Newton (Picardy Learning)


Educational technologies play a pivotal role in higher education, with many pedagogues using applications and websites that either serve as useful supplements or as resources for students. Of particular note is Duolingo, an app that boasts millions of global users learning languages from Spanish to Vietnamese. The company attributes much of its success to the implementation of gamification and repetition within its pedagogy. How might these concepts fit in, adapt to, or contradict with current trends in music theory and aural skills pedagogy? Built by music theory and composition professors and professionals, Picardy is a web application that makes explicit and implicit use of game components and repetition. It uses a progress bar and a heart count to increase student motivation, but more importantly it repeats topics in a deliberate manner. That is, we sequence repetitions to provide multiple perspectives for understanding the same concepts, helping students approach musicianship in deeper and more multifaceted ways. This workshop breaks into two parts. First, we will demonstrate the various features as well as the unique content of Picardy, highlighting its use of gamification and repetition. In the second part, audience members will play an active role by using the program with the presenters fielding comments and questions.

Peer Learning Strategies in the Flipped Music Theory Classroom - Hermes Camacho (Picardy) & Scott C. Schumann (Central Michigan University)


Peer learning is a pedagogical approach that involves “students learning from and with each other in both formal and informal ways” (David Boud, 2013: 4). These strategies can be particularly effective in music theory courses when combined with a flipped classroom model – Harold Bloom’s taxonomy has been used to explain the benefits of this model in a music theory classroom (Duker, Gawboy, Hughes, Shaffer: 2015). In this way, students learn fundamental concepts outside of class (remembering, understanding), and work on more advanced concepts in class (applying, analyzing, evaluating, creating). Peer learning also allows for a wider array of classroom interactions (peer-to-peer, and student-to-instructor), which can ultimately help students achieve higher levels of learning. While this model can be applied using a number of different methods, this paper will discuss specific ways to potentially achieve these higher levels, with a particular focus on in-classroom peer learning strategies for the traditional four-semester undergraduate music theory sequence. We will discuss three ways in which this model can be applied: focused reading responses (written reactions that are discussed/evaluated in class), collaborative assessment (students working together to grade their own work), and instructor-supervised peer teaching (students teaching students certain concepts with instructor guidance). By combining these approaches within the flipped classroom model, the teacher can focus more time on helping students gain a deeper understanding of the more complex concepts in a typical music theory curriculum.

Reverse-Engineering Working Memory Tests to Generate Aural Skills Exercises - Timothy Chenette (Utah State University)


To be successful in taking musical dictation, students must be able to control their focus, store large amounts of musical information in memory, and retain that information with integrity while subjecting it to processing. These capacities are treated separately in Karpinski’s classic book on aural skills pedagogy, but neuropsychologists consider them together under the concept of “working memory.” This presentation will review recent research on working memory that is relevant to aural skills instruction, demonstrating the importance of improving working memory performance, suggesting methods of doing so, and pointing out some important ramifications for how aural skills classes are structured and assessed. A brief discussion of definitions and important principles will demonstrate the importance of working memory to aural skills, particularly dictation. The core of the presentation will describe tests used by researchers to measure working memory, particularly the N-back test, and how we might reverse-engineer these to turn them into music-specific exercises. The presentation will close by pointing out that stress dramatically decreases working-memory capacity and suggesting some ramifications for how we assess students. Attendees to this presentation will thus come away with an awareness of this cognitive capacity that is important to our students’ success, a series of practical recommendations for specific exercises to use in class, and ideas for new methods of assessment.

Teaching Pitch-Class Sets Intuitively and Efficiently - Timothy Chenette (Utah State University)


Pitch-class set analysis is a standard topic in classes on early twentieth-century music, but it presents a number of challenges. In particular, students often perceive the method as “mathematical” rather than musical, since teachers typically use numbers to help students conceptualize an equal-tempered chromatic space and teach a series of steps that involve logical operations such as permutation and inversion that can be difficult to relate to the sound of the music. This poster will share a method of teaching prime-form derivation that uses musical sounds, interactive visual aids, and the physicality of instruments to help students understand set classes and their relationships to sounding music more intuitively and efficiently. This method gets students quite comfortable with prime forms over the course of two class days and one homework assignment. In the first class, students use their instruments and voices to play/sing a number of chords and divide them into two categories based on their “pure sounds.” This generates a discussion of the criteria students used, the basic principles of pitch-class set theory, and the elements it does and does not reflect. A homework assignment then asks students to derive prime forms for a series of sets using an interactive computer program. The program and worksheet make clear why some sets are more difficult than others and encourage experimentation. Finally, the second class follows up on any questions students have and asks students to apply the method to different kinds of music.

Techniques for Teaching the Reading of Atonal Melodies - Kent Cleland (Baldwin Wallace University)


One of the more challenging skills that students and teachers alike face in the aural skills classroom is the reading of atonal melodies. While one may be tempted to omit this topic from the curriculum, atonally structured music does appear in the literature, and it remains a musical texture from which modern composers draw when creating certain sonic landscapes. As a result, it is important to teach students how to effectively read, hear and understand sounds composed using this musical language. The challenge arises because, unlike tonal literature, atonal music lacks intuitively recognizable points of reference from which a student can re- orient himself or herself as melodic material progresses. Furthermore, atonal musical languages are organized and structured in ways that run counter to the ways that the human mind biologically, culturally and socially understands music. This presentation offers some strategies for the teaching of atonal music reading, as well as a suggested pacing of the introduction of these strategies within the context of a comprehensive aural skills curriculum. These include 1) singing and improvising symmetrical scale structures, 2) identifying and singing intervallic content, 3) identifying identical or closely located pitches across spans of melodic material, and 4) identifying and utilizing rapidly shifting tonal centers in the music. The presentation will conclude with a demonstration of how these techniques may be used to read an atonal melody.

Teaching Chorale Harmonization and AP Music Theory’s FR7 – Jane Piper Clendinning (College of Music, Florida State University)


With the college and university music theory classroom, teachers often choose to emphasize figured-bass or partwriting exercises rather than chorale melody harmonization because the latter is difficult and time-consuming to teach, and often results in less than desirable student solutions. Likewise, for Advanced Placement Music Theory Teachers, FR7 (Free Response question 7—Harmonization of a Chorale Melody) is one of the most complex and challenging tasks they teach. Chorale melody harmonization—setting an eighteenth-century chorale melody with a contrapuntally- appropriate bass line and chords, at a harmonic rhythm of one chord per melody note or per beat—is problematic because there are so many possible answers, ranging from beautiful and stylistically-correct choices to disasters, with most student responses falling between those in ways that make it difficult to know how to help them improve their solutions. Yet the chorale melody harmonization task can be valuable because it requires students to think contrapuntally to construct correct soprano-bass pairings, harmonically to choose chord progressions, and engages higher-level thinking to creatively and flexibly envision multiple approaches to historically-informed musical challenges. This hands-on workshop demonstrates how to teach students to harmonize chorale-style melodies (such as those in FR7) confidently, quickly, and accurately, by combining the concept of the Basic Phrase Model for harmonic progression and learned chord progression and voice-leading “chunks” suitable for the beginning, middle, and end of a phrase, with simple concepts from note-to-note and 2:1 species counterpoint. Participants will depart with enough information to begin implementing this content in their own classes.

World Music Theory and Analysis: Music from the Andes - Jane Piper Clendinning (College of Music, Florida State University)

This hands-on workshop demonstrates how folklorico music from the Andes can be used to teach core music theory concepts. The term folklorico refers both to traditional folk performances and cosmopolitan music performance styles referencing indigenous and mestizo (mixed heritage) folk musics from the South American altiplano (high plateau), stretching from Peru and Bolivia southward to Chile and Argentina. Traditional performances of these dance pieces are accompanied by siku (panpipes), bombo (a large wooden drum with rope-tightened hair-covered skin heads), and high-pitched vocals, but professional performers add charangos (a small-bodied fretted string instrument), guitars, quena (end-blown flute), guitars, and other instruments. In my experience, the music featured in this workshop immediately captures the imagination and interest of students hearing it for the first time, and invites them to consider why it sounds the way it does, and what we can learn from listening, studying, and performing it. Participants will learn to play and sing several tunes using siku, quena, bombo, and other instruments (supplied by the workshop facilitator) that can be taught easily by rote or using notation to music majors, non-majors, or pre-college students. Music theory and analytical topics engaged include rhythm, meter, major and minor modality, notation and transcription, musical form, timbre and texture, and performance practices. Additional classroom learning objectives include participatory engagement, team-building and developing a sense of community. Participants will depart with enough information to implement this content in their own classes.


The Nashville Number System: A Pop(ular) Alternative to Roman Numerals and Figured Bass - Trevor deClercq (Middle Tennessee State University)


Since the late 1950s, the Nashville Number System has been used by studio and live musicians as an efficient way to represent the harmony and form of a song on a single sheet of paper. In essence, the notation converts standard pop chord symbols (e.g., Dm7/F) into Arabic numbers (in the key of C: 2m7/4) so as to represent the harmony of a song in a functional, key-independent manner similar to Roman numerals and figured bass. The Nashville Number System holds distinct advantages over the traditional functional system of Roman numerals, though, such as the ability to distinguish between chord extensions and chord inversions instead of entangling these two aspects into a single figure. Yet despite its notational advantages, applicability to most styles of popular music (not just country), and widespread use within the modern commercial music industry, the Nashville Number System remains unknown to most high school and college music theory teachers. Fortunately, any musician trained in Roman numerals can pick up the system rather quickly. In this workshop, I begin with a pithy summary of the system’s notational details. Participants will then engage in a “hands-on” component, whereby they will have the opportunity to create their own charts given only the audio recording of a song. (Session musicians typically create these charts in real time with just a single hearing.) The workshop ends with an open discussion of the system’s benefits and limitations, along with advice and ideas on the use of these charts in the classroom.


Swing, Shuffle, Half-Time, Double: Beyond Traditional Time Signatures in Meter Classification for Pop/Rock Music - Trevor deClercq and Samantha Waddell (Middle Tennessee State University)


The aural identification of meter—normally taken to be a basic task relegated to the early weeks of musicianship coursework—typically involves assigning a piece of music to one of a small palette of standard time signatures (e.g., 3/4, 12/8), based on the number of beats per measure (i.e., duple, triple, quadruple) and how the beat is divided (i.e., simple or compound). While this scheme is a useful starting point for meter classification in pop/rock music, it ignores two additional factors—swing rhythms and drum feels—that are central components to rhythmic organization in this style. For example, many pop/rock songs in 6/8 (e.g., “Norwegian Wood”) include swing at the sixteenth-note level, a feature which even trained musicians are often unaware of, perhaps due in part to a traditional lack of concern with this aspect. Additionally, although kick and snare are customarily taken to imply the primary beat level, “half- time” and “double-time” feels—in which the kick and snare imply a tactus above or below the primary beat—create a further layer of metric complexity. In this workshop, I begin with a brief overview of this enhanced methodology for meter classification, which I developed over the past few semesters in my own teaching. From there, I present participants with a variety of real-world meter identification examples—such as the half- time shuffle, “Fool in the Rain”—each of which serves as “hands on” practice in meter classification beyond the traditional time signature as well as a focal point for discussion.

Scaling to Real Music: Rebuilding Aural Skills Pedagogy from the Ground Up - Philip Duker and Daniel Stevens (University of Delaware)


Despite steady progress in improving aural skills classes over the past decade, there often remains a disconnect between the goals that we want students to achieve, the activities and techniques we use to meet those goals, and the methods and strategies students use to complete the activities. Consequently, many students struggle to apply their acquired skills to outside listening experiences and to retain learning beyond their time in the theory core. In response, we endeavored to rebuild the Aural Skills sequence at our institution from the ground up, starting with a set of pedagogical assumptions and methodological goals inspired by backwards design: (1) focusing almost exclusively on real pieces of music from different styles/genres, (2) developing active listening in which students make music as a means of understanding music that is heard, (3) developing musical fluency through regular improvisation exercises before sight-singing and dictation, (4) simplifying and retooling dictation to increase practical application and musical relevance, and (5) using group work and problem-based learning to engage students in real-world application and critical thinking. In this poster presentation, we provide a sequential pathway through a first-year Aural Skills course, sharing some of the unique challenges involved in using real pieces to teach fundamental listening skills. Scaling our Aural Skills curriculum to real music has invigorated every aspect of teaching and learning, helping students understand the relevance of improvisation and careful listening to all their musical activities.

Scuba Diving in the 21st Century:  Exploring the Goals of Analysis through Contemporary Repertoire as the Capstone to the Core - Nora Engebretsen (Bowling Green State University)


For many music students, Theory IV—post-tonal techniques—is the end of the undergraduate core and the last theory course they will ever take. Yet rather than presenting a culminating, integrative experience, this class is often marked by intrinsic disjunctions, as familiar tonal topics give way to collections, sets, series, and “new approaches” to time and form. This paper suggests concrete ways in which Theory IV can be refocused to serve as a true capstone to the core, emphasizing the relationship between theory and analysis and the goals of thinking and writing about music. One key aspect of this refocusing is a greater emphasis on non-pitch parameters (a common refrain in recent pedagogical literature), particularly through engagement with time, texture, and timbre in later 20th- and early-21st century repertoire for which pre-existing theoretical and analytical models are scarce. My plan draws on a range of existing theoretical and pedagogical work, but conceptually centers on Brian Alegant’s less-is-more “scuba diving” strategy and multiple analytical approaches to a set of touchstone pieces. Deeper consideration of non-pitch domains (necessitating some dilution of traditional topics) is cultivated via La Rue’s “SHMRG” categories, followed by theoretical exploration (Ravenscroft, Leydon, Rifkin, etc.). Ultimately, engagement with “how pieces work” is understood as a frame for higher-level discussions of analysis resonant with ideas in Lochhead 2015. The paper offers two course plans, one organized by historical sequence and one by domains (texture/timbre, melody/harmony, time), identifies repertoire and related resources, and provides sample assignments, writing prompts and other activities.

Writing “Renegade” Parallelism in Initial Part-Writing Lessons - Gabriel Fankhauser (University of North Georgia)


Theory I students face a notably difficult hurdle dividing the unit on spelling triads and the unit on part writing, for which instructors often lay down a list of ten or so commandments: avoid parallel fifths, avoid voice overlaps, and so on. For some students, this hurdle feels overwhelming, especially when confused by the periodic exceptions to some “rules.” To make the subject both more attainable and engaging to students, I have developed a brief intermediary unit that continues to reinforce triadic spelling while introducing the most important concept of voice leading: the law of the closest way. The smoothest voice leading often avoids other issues, like unresolved leading tones and awkward leaps. The risk of strictly parsimonious voice leading, however, is its propensity to create parallels between adjacent chords, like IV–V or V–VI, which present common pitfalls for students. I counter common pedagogical practice momentarily by allowing parallels in order to concentrate solely on finding the smoothest voice leading. Students write SATB parts and sing along with many familiar excerpts of popular music that contain parallel voice leading. Some excerpts may contain chromatic harmonic relations that defy traditional analysis and therefore would not likely enter into the first year of theory. Parallel triads at the beginning of Styx’s “Renegade” was one inspiration behind this approach. An instructor’s initial clemency toward parallels nurtures class discussion on parallelism and deepens students’ experience and appreciation of why some styles may allow parallels while others conceal or avoid them.

Advocating for Integration of Metacognitive Strategies into Music Theory Instruction – Anna Ferenc (Wilfrid Laurier University)


In his long-standing text on music theory pedagogy published in 1984, Teaching Approaches in Music Theory, Michael Rogers observes that: “Music theory...is not a subject like pharmacy with labels to learn and prescriptions to fill, but it is an activity—more like composition or performance. The activity is theorizing: i.e. thinking about what we hear and hearing what we think about—and I would include even thinking about what we think.” By including “thinking about what we think,” Rogers connects theorizing with metacognition, a term coined by psychologist John Flavell to denote knowledge of cognition and monitoring, regulating and controlling such knowledge. Since Flavell’s introduction of the term in 1976, a significant body of literature has emerged in psychology and education research promoting metacognitive strategies to facilitate deep learning experiences and self-regulated learning. Discussion of metacognition in the domain of music appears in literature on performance and teaching at primary and secondary levels, but is paradoxically lacking in theory pedagogy research despite the recognition by Rogers over thirty years ago that metacognition defines the activity of the discipline. This paper takes a step toward rectifying this omission from undergraduate pedagogical consideration. Drawing on metacognition research, it presents a rationale for including metacognitive strategies into music theory pedagogy, offers an example of a strategy adaptable to both traditional and active learning environments without adding more content to an already crowded curriculum, and discusses its effect on matters of enduring concern for music theory instructors such as student engagement, self-regulation, and motivation.

The Rest is Noise: A Modular, Historically Integrated Approach to Post-Tonal Pedagogy –  Amy Fleming and Aaron Grant (Eastman School of Music)


Post-tonal music poses three overarching pedagogical problems. First, most core theory sequences prioritize common-practice music, meaning that students o en receive only a cursory one- semester introduction to post-tonal theory. Second, because many sophomores and juniors do not have much experience playing post-tonal music, the theory professor frequently has the additional responsibility of introducing new and o en initially inaccessible compositional styles in ways that connect with the students musically. Finally, the sheer variety of styles poses difficulties not only for determining what to teach and in what order, but also for  nding ways to illustrate the intertwining of theory and history throughout the twentieth and twenty- rst centuries: in other words how and—just as importantly—why these styles developed. To address these concerns, we propose a curriculum in which theory and history are presented as inseparable entities. Alex Ross’s  e Rest is Noise is the foundation of the course, and his   een chapters —rearrangeable depending on the instructor's preferences—align with a typical   een-week semester. Using Ross’s monograph to introduce topics allows students to encounter music in an engaging, personal, and historically contextualized way. We have augmented these chapters by designing theory, listening, writing, and aural skills modules that can be tailored to  t one’s pedagogical goals.  is modular approach allows not only for  exibility of execution depending on the institutional circumstances, but also for the curriculum to be adjusted for any population of students—even non- majors and the public.


Building a Bridge: Transitioning from Tonal to Post-Tonal Aural Skills in the Undergraduate Core Curriculum - David Geary and Robert Komaniecki (Indiana University)


One of the greatest pedagogical challenges is smoothly transitioning between musical idioms, instilling a sense of continuity without under-emphasizing important stylistic differences. A particular difficulty is the shift from tonal to post-tonal aural skills in the undergraduate core curriculum. An initial survey of nearly a dozen institutions reveals an array of perspectives and approaches: Some conclude their tonal studies with distant-key modulations using chromatic harmonies and begin their post-tonal work with concepts related to the second Viennese tradition; others attempt to create a bridge between tonal and atonal practices by incorporating topics such as diatonic modes and octatonicism. The goal of this presentation is to underscore the range of pedagogical approaches available to instructors, with emphasis on the specific methodologies employed by the current authors, in an effort to help initiate a field-wide discussion about the types of activities and instructive strategies relevant to 20th-century aural skills. Our talk unfolds in two phases. In Part I, a brief overview of the leading teaching materials shows that many published resources have great strengths but numerous shortcomings, leading instructors to create their own anthologies that support their individualized approach to 20th-century aural skills. Part II describes how the current authors treat the study of melody in a 15-week course. In a repertoire-based class, students begin singing and dictating examples that stretch the application of tonal principles, interjecting an interval-based approach sparingly. Throughout the semester, the emphases are gradually reversed: Students move towards an interval-based approach while occasionally recalling tonal principles.

From Harmonic Looking to Harmonic Listening: Harmonic Dictation via Harmonic Singing - Cynthia I. Gonzales (Texas State University) and Bonnie Smith (AP Music Theory Instructor at Churchill High School in San Antonio, TX)


In Aural Skills Acquisition (2000), Karpinski describes a common approach to harmonic dictation as “parallel melodic dictation” followed by “harmonic looking.” This demonstration provides an alternative methodology for harmonic dictation that prioritizes “harmonic listening,” a skill developed by singing chord arpeggios, an activity we refer to as “harmonic singing.” Each harmony is sung as an arpeggio, as if played on the piano in close position. Furthermore, every arpeggio ascends from its “guide tone,” which is a chord member that is tonic, the leading tone, or stepwise from tonic: do, ti, re, te, or ra. (Alvarez 1980, 1981; Rahn and McKay, 1988; Wallace, 2007; Stevens, 2013). The tonic chord, thereby, is Do-Mi-So; the dominant Ti-Re- So; the subdominant Do-Fa-La; etc. Though harmonic singing is primarily a tool for harmonic listening, it also aids sight singing and melodic dictation. To prepare students to take harmonic dictation, students practice harmonic singing with excerpts of ‘real’ music literature from a variety of musical styles and textures, internalizing the labeled sound of each arpeggio. Harmonic singing culminates in a methodology for harmonic dictation that focuses on harmonic listening: (1) discern the guide tone; (2) identify the harmony; (3) determine the bass and, as needed, add figures to the Roman numeral; and finally (4) notate the soprano. Workshop participants will actively engage in harmonic singing with musical excerpts from a variety of styles and apply the guide-tone method to take harmonic dictation. Activities will focus on major and minor diatonic contexts; resources will be provided for chromatic harmonies.


SmartMusic®: The Electronic Ear-Training Tutor that Delivers a Comprehensive Aural-Skills Curriculum - Cynthia I. Gonzales (Texas State University)


Pitch-class set analysis is a standard topic in classes on early twentieth-century music, but it presents a number of challenges. In particular, students often perceive the method as “mathematical” rather than musical, since teachers typically use numbers to help students conceptualize an equal-tempered chromatic space and teach a series of steps that involve logical operations such as permutation and inversion that can be difficult to relate to the sound of the music. This poster will share a method of teaching prime-form derivation that uses musical sounds, interactive visual aids, and the physicality of instruments to help students understand set classes and their relationships to sounding music more intuitively and efficiently. This method gets students quite comfortable with prime forms over the course of two class days and one homework assignment. In the first class, students use their instruments and voices to play/sing a number of chords and divide them into two categories based on their “pure sounds.” This generates a discussion of the criteria students used, the basic principles of pitch-class set theory, and the elements it does and does not reflect. A homework assignment then asks students to derive prime forms for a series of sets using an interactive computer program. The program and worksheet make clear why some sets are more difficult than others and encourage experimentation. Finally, the second class follows up on any questions students have and asks students to apply the method to different kinds of music. This presentation will model each activity as delivered via SmartMusic® and highlight best practices for administering an aural skills curriculum via the software, which specifically includes managing the gradebook and the assignment library.

The Rest is Noise: A Modular, Historically Integrated Approach to Post-Tonal Pedagogy –  Amy Fleming and Aaron Grant (Eastman School of Music)


Post-tonal music poses three overarching pedagogical problems. First, most core theory sequences prioritize common-practice music, meaning that students o en receive only a cursory one- semester introduction to post-tonal theory. Second, because many sophomores and juniors do not have much experience playing post-tonal music, the theory professor frequently has the additional responsibility of introducing new and o en initially inaccessible compositional styles in ways that connect with the students musically. Finally, the sheer variety of styles poses difficulties not only for determining what to teach and in what order, but also for  nding ways to illustrate the intertwining of theory and history throughout the twentieth and twenty- rst centuries: in other words how and—just as importantly—why these styles developed. To address these concerns, we propose a curriculum in which theory and history are presented as inseparable entities. Alex Ross’s  e Rest is Noise is the foundation of the course, and his   een chapters —rearrangeable depending on the instructor's preferences—align with a typical   een-week semester. Using Ross’s monograph to introduce topics allows students to encounter music in an engaging, personal, and historically contextualized way. We have augmented these chapters by designing theory, listening, writing, and aural skills modules that can be tailored to  t one’s pedagogical goals.  is modular approach allows not only for  exibility of execution depending on the institutional circumstances, but also for the curriculum to be adjusted for any population of students—even non- majors and the public.


Sounds and skills vs. notes and drills: re-thinking our approach to music fundamentals - Joshua Groffman (University of Pittsburgh)


Fundamentals is often an entry to the music curriculum as a prerequisite to the theory sequence or stand alone General Education introduction to the theory discipline. In this paper, I offer a philosophy of teaching fundamentals that seeks to align pedagogy with the way students listen, learn, and use music in today’s academy. My proposals stem from the discussion about curricula engendered by the College Music Society’s Transforming Music Study from its Foundations (TMSF); recent research on “pedagogies of engagement”; and my own study created with two other researchers on student expectations and motivations for studying music in college, some initial results of which I present here. I propose an ideal fundamentals course 1) approaches music as sound rather than notes via introductory investigations of pitch, sound, and temporal organization, 2) emphasizes active learning over lecture and rote drills, 3) requires students to use discipline-based analytical and critical thinking skills, and 4) assesses students’ foundational understanding of musical concepts rather than memorization of low-level facts (i.e., the number of sharps/flats in all key signatures). In achieving a conceptual understanding of the systems that undergird theory, students learn the tools of the discipline and are well-positioned to improve their facility in subsequent study with complex harmonies, keys, and rhythmic concepts. Rooted in sound, the course admits global and vernacular musics in addition to western art music. And via guided inquiry, groupwork, composition, improvisation, and performance, students learn to connect their study in the classroom to their diverse musical and career goals beyond it.

Open Educational Resources (OER’S) in the Music Theory Classroom: A Curricular Redesign Travelogue – Kyle Gullings (University of Texas at Tyler)


The open educational resources (OER) movement is roughly 20 years old. Teachers and learners in all fields have free access to myriad textbooks, assignments, software, and entire courses. Despite some progress, OER’s impact on music education has been comparatively smaller. In the context of rising college costs, OER’s can play an important role in promoting affordable access to quality post-secondary music theory education. I oversee my institution’s lower-division theory curriculum. Starting in Fall 2015, I began phasing out my commercial textbook, moving to a combination of openmusictheory.com, other online resources, and many course materials of my own design. This paper details my experience making this change. Firstly, my course materials are now tailored to my particular students' needs, and can be updated as needed. They are also completely customized to my teaching style and curricular goals. Authoring my homework materials has also forced me to become very deliberate in my presentation of topics. Drawbacks include the significant time required to curate sources and create materials, the lack of a built-in pedagogical approach, and the potential for "tunnel vision" from taking singular control over the curriculum. Our university students are not primarily paying for access to content, most of which is already freely available online. They're paying for access to a skilled educator who designs effective, inspiring educational experiences, gives real-time feedback, and models the skills they need to be successful in their field. Ultimately, I believe more music theory educators should and will adopt OER's in the future.


Interdisciplinary Assignments in the Music Fundamentals Curriculum - Chelsey Hamm (Missouri Western State University)


Instructors of collegiate music fundamentals courses face a myriad of challenges. Often times such classes are overpopulated, grading intensive, and are taught by more inexperienced teachers. Such instructors may be short on time and consequently may not be prepared to invent stimulating assignments that interact with disciplines outside of music. But not providing such interdisciplinary work is a disservice to students, especially those at liberal arts institutions where multidisciplinary curriculums are to be expected. This poster addresses this challenge by presenting five different assignments and five in- class activities invented for inquisitive non-music major students at a liberal arts institution. There will also be examples of completed assignments and activities from students, so that instructors may see both exceptional and average learning outcomes. Finally, these assignments and activities will be presented in a handout available for distribution. These interdisciplinary assignments and activities span throughout the duration of a music fundamentals course, covering a wide range of topics. For example, one assignment is designed for the first week of class; in it, students are asked to invent a music notation system and describe it in prose and with a musical example, combining elements of writing, graphic design, and musical analysis. By contrast, an in-class activity designed to fall near the end of the curriculum asks students to analyze a modern blues song found in the blockbuster movie The Hunger Games. Students combine elements of writing, poetic analysis, and film criticism to convincingly analyze the song in its original diegetic context.


Music Theory Debate Club: A Case for Analytical Debates in Beginning Music Theory Courses - Benjamin Hansberry (Columbia University)


Tasks in early music theory courses often bear little resemblance to music-theoretical scholarship. Many teachers combat the tedium that can accompany terminology and notation exercises with active learning techniques, including analytical debates (Bribitzer-Stull 2003). Often, however, debates are saved for later courses, after students have mastered the basics, and focus on more complex ideas. In this paper, I present a different perspective on analytical debate and argue for its inclusion in the earliest levels of music theory education. Delaying the introduction of analytical debate is often justified by theories of learning that suggest that mastery of basic skills is a prerequisite for serious, critical debate (Salley 2012). This perspective assumes that basic music-theoretical concepts are relatively simple—that they can be clearly understood prior to reflective thought—and that the aim of analytical debate is to develop critical thinking. However, advanced treatment of basic concepts like interval (Lewin 1987) or half cadence (Burstein 2014) show that they are not so simply defined. Moreover, there is evidence from pedagogy in other fields that misunderstanding followed by correction results in better comprehension (Muller 2008); in-class debate can thereby improve understanding these foundational, if complex, concepts. As a demonstration, I present a multiphase, in-class activity where students develop a middleground harmonic analysis from a figured-bass snippet (several well-formed analyses are possible). Following a discussion of various options, students write melody lines that reinforce their preferred interpretation. This activity allows students to express analyses musically, while trying out new ideas in discussion.

"We’ve taken the world apart but we have no idea what to do with the pieces”: Overhauling the theory curriculum – Matthew Heap (West Virginia University)


One of the most challenging topics facing a theory teacher is “What is Theory?” With the plethora of excellent textbooks, the guidelines given by the CMS manifesto, and the wide- ranging interests of students, threading the “satisfying everyone” needle can seem impossible. Add to this the pressure that I was explicitly hired to revamp the theory program, and the eye of the needle dwindles to nearly nothing, as I also have to satisfy the other theory instructors and the administration. This paper examines the steps I have taken at [my institution] to accomplish this task. Before my revisions, the theory program was largely based on figured-bass realization, with students looking at basic binary and ternary form in the second semester, and doing what amounted to a semester of form and analysis in the fourth. This paper will describe my use of pedagogical techniques such as Just-in-Time Teaching and the Flipped Classroom, and how they allowed us to move through the material more efficiently. This allowed additional time for both the study of music outside the basic Bach chorales, including popular music and non-Western music, and composition. These techniques’ efficacy will be demonstrated through use of statistical analysis that shows a high correlation between students who watched the videos and did well on the online quizzes and those who did well on the tests. The paper will also describe the myriad challenges that I encountered on this quest in the hopes of continuing the dialogue about how we approach theory pedagogy.

Student Engagement through Online Textbook-Based Tools - Justin Hoffman (W.W. Norton)


In a 2015 Music Theory Online article, Duker, Gawboy, Hughes, and Schaffer discuss several “hacks,” adapting pedagogical techniques “rigorously developed in other disciplines” into their music theory classes. While some teachers may have the time and resources needed to incorporate these researched-based techniques into their classes, textbooks can be an important resource in disseminating innovative pedagogy. In this paper, I will focus on one of these pedagogical techniques, Just in Time Teaching (JiTT), and its adaptation within textbooks. Instructors using JiTT assign students to complete assessment activities prior to class, then use the results to tailor class meetings to students’ needs. Recently developed theory textbooks have include quizzes designed for JiTT that are tightly integrated into the text. These quizzes feature a range of skills-based questions and enable instructors to assess their students’ knowledge of a range of learning objectives in advance of class. I will explore some of the commercial and technical challenges specific to developing research- based online resources in music theory. Key to overcoming these challenges has been the adaptation of quizzing software, originally developed for use in other disciplines, for the specific needs of music theory classes, which include giving students the ability to interact with musical notation and answer questions in response to aural stimuli. The collaborative process required to adapt the technology has helped bring concepts derived from learning psychology—particularly gamification—into the text. My paper closes by considering future prospects for development as textbooks and online tools become ever more tightly intertwined.

Modular Loops: Toward an Integrated Theory Pedagogy for Cycle-Based Popular Music - Matthew Hough (University of California, Berkeley)


Here  I  will  describe  an  integrated  approach  to  theory  pedagogy  (including  analysis,  recomposition  and  performance)  applicable  to  a  wide  range  of  cycle;based  popular  music. This method is facilitated by what I call a modular loop: a complete, notated  set of parts corresponding to a cycling portion of a larger work (see Example 1).     Initially, a modular loop can be treated as the object of analysis. This analysis should  include  a  discussion  of  melody,  harmony,  meter,  rhythm,  timbre,  attack  density  and  the  interaction  of  these  elements.  The  loop's  component  parts  (modules)  can  then  be altered by students in small groups to create arrangements that these groups will  perform for the class. Students may also be assigned to recompose the entire loop in  order  to  shift  one  or  more  global  elements  (e.g.  meter  or  harmonic  pattern).  Potential  further  study  includes  comparing  a  loop  to  other  loops  from  the  same  work  or  other  works.  Combined  with  collaborative  performance,  such  comparative  study  can  lead  to  important,  often  fundamental  questions  about  texture,  style,  structure and general musicianship.    Using example loops from a variety of popular music genres, I will share some of the  success  I  have  had  with  this  method  in  the  classroom.  I  will  provide  examples  of   student  analyses,  recompositions,  and  video  recorded  performances  of  student  arrangements.

Teaching Cadence Recognition - Samantha M. Inman (University of North Texas)


Analysis of tonal music requires the ability to reliably recognize cadences, yet students often struggle to acquire this fundamental skill. Part 1 of this presentation explores the difficulties inherent in cadence recognition, while Part 2 outlines materials and strategies for teaching this skill across the theory curriculum. Recognizing cadences requires more than identifying chords. While some students tend to miss cadences, more tend to hear cadences everywhere. Both extremes obfuscate the local phrase structure and details of the piece’s rhetoric. Consider the two readings of the cadences shown in mm. 13-51 of the attached score. Attending to localized harmony, my graduate students posited the frequent cadences in Reading 1. However, consideration of harmony along with the passage’s sentential structure and the motivic repetition through m. 30 favor the single cadence shown in Reading 2. This interrelation of cadence with harmony, phrasing, and formal function requires attention throughout the theory curriculum. Even the first lesson on cadences needs to stress that harmony is necessary but not sufficient to create each cadence type. Passages selected for analysis should contain one or more complete phrases, regardless of lesson focus. Musicianship classes likewise need to teach aural recognition of cadences, sentences, and periods. Upper level students need practice analyzing entire pieces, exploring the function of individual cadences in context along with any evasion tactics elevating the drama of these arrival points. Only when students have reached this level of mastery will they fully appreciate and apply the expressive potential of cadences.


Towards a Curriculum in Public Music Theory – J. Daniel Jenkins (University of South Carolina)


Music theory pedagogy often focuses on undergraduate or pre-college curricula. The role of music theory in graduate education is often less of a concern, but developing profound yet practical graduate courses for performers, conductors, etc. can often present a formidable challenge. One graduate course that I offered recently which helped me strike such a balance was called “Public Music Theory.” From the “Common Good” initiative of the NEH to master’s degrees in public musicology, there is an increasing emphasis on public engagement in the humanities in general and in music in particular. A course in public music theory legitimizes these concerns and encourages students to use music theory as they advocate for the arts. In creating the curriculum for this course, I began with examples of public scholarship, including the writings of Tovey, Bernstein, Schoenberg, Kapilow, Levitan, and others. We examined how music theory and analysis function in public spaces such as courtrooms (copyright lawsuits) and archives (evaluating musical forgeries). We also considered the role newer media are playing in the dissemination of music theoretical knowledge. Most importantly, the students created several of their own examples of public music theory, including pre-concert lectures, program notes, podcasts, videocasts, and blogs. In this paper, I detail the topics and activities of the course. I recount what I learned and how it has changed my thinking about teaching music theory in general. I close with suggestions for how an emphasis on public music theory may influence my undergraduate theory courses as well.

Music Analysis and Accessibility in the Music Theory Classroom - Shersten Johnson (University of St. Thomas)


Part of the challenge of trying to understand how music works is that somehow one has to capture sound-imagery in order to measure, divide, and compare its components. Because of its ephemeral nature, we typically ask students to rely on printed scores and diagrams of the sound-image, which allow them to consider relationships and patterns outside the pressures of real-time performance. While the intention is to reduce out the distractions of musical detail, and while diagrams can often be extremely helpful in this regard, they are primarily mono-modal. Needless to say, overdependence on visual representations limits accessibility for some students (for example, those with low vision, aural or kinesthetic learners, and those whose musical experience is based on oral tradition rather than written) and thus disables a curriculum. Taking Bruce Quaglia’s adaptation of Universal Design principles (Quaglia 2015) as a point of departure, this paper explores broadening the sensorium of musical understanding, and considers a more universal design of music theory and analysis that enlists other senses. Certainly, other embodied means of perception must lead to comprehension; understanding is not only accomplished through seeing, but also feeling and touching and moving and hearing. With this in mind, this paper proposes some alternate ways to engage specific music theoretical concepts through other modalities of understanding that will, hopefully, benefit a variety of students.

Workshop in Assessing and Evaluating Melodic Dictation – Gary S. Karpinski (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)


How to grade students’ work in dictation can be a vexing problem for many aural-skills instructors. What constitutes a “correct” answer? How close is close enough? How can we tease apart errors in pitch from errors in rhythm? What other aspects of notation should count? How should all of that translate into a grade? And how best can we offer meaningful feedback beyond a grade? I propose to hold a 45-minute workshop on ways of assessing and evaluating students’ work in melodic dictation. After a brief survey of various extant approaches to gauging work in melodic dictation (e.g., College Board 2016, Gillespie 2001, Kraft 1999, Phillips 1998, Blombach 1990), I will present procedures for disentangling various aspects of students’ responses, marking correct and incorrect work, assigning numerical scores and letter grades to these findings, and offering meaningful feedback to assist students in their future work. I will then involve participants in applying these procedures using various samples of students’ actual work produced under test conditions. By engaging in the process of determining the accuracy (and inaccuracy) in these students’ work, and in being guided through rubrics designed to appraise the results of those findings, participants will also learn ways to adapt these approaches towards their own pedagogical ends. An important feature of this workshop will be the clear distinction between assessment (marking correct/incorrect work) and evaluation (assigning scores/grades to that work). We will also discuss the consequences of tailoring evaluation rubrics to various students and topics at hand.

Incorporating Mindfulness-Related Techniques in the Aural Skills Classroom for Students with Absolute Pitch - Dana Kaufman (University of Miami, Frost School of Music)


Mindfulness, as “a moment-to-moment, nonjudgmental awareness” (Kabat-Zinn, 2005), lends itself as an effective strategy in tackling challenging learning and cognitive deficiencies. Though mindfulness has emerged as a helpful tool in many musical settings, research on a potential relationship between mindfulness practices and improved listening for absolute pitch (AP) students has yet to be conducted. In this talk, I situate the practice and implementation of mindfulness as a pedagogical approach to help AP students ameliorate AP-specific deficiencies in the aural skills classroom. While exceptionally useful in many musical contexts, AP frequently proves a hindrance to students in various areas of aural perception. Most notably, AP possessors experience difficulty with tasks involving relative pitch and rely on AP even when a tonal context demands distinguishing pitch relations, which inhibits their ability to comprehend musical context and harmonic function (e.g. Miyazaki, 1993). Mindfulness has proven beneficial in increasing music listening sensitivity among students, and in particular to AP students (e.g. Anderson, 2016). Mindfulness-related exercises incorporating imagery (as a supplementary, non-auditory sense) offer an alternative approach to pitch perception that rivals traditional pedagogical methods in its effectiveness. After a review of literature on the intersection of mindfulness and AP, I will present a set of mindfulness exercises geared toward improving aural skills abilities. I argue that these exercises may help AP possessors engage with aural skills activities with a “moment-to-moment” perspective, and with increased attention to a functional and contextualized perception of music.

Building a Bridge: Transitioning from Tonal to Post-Tonal Aural Skills in the Undergraduate Core Curriculum - David Geary and Robert Komaniecki (Indiana University)


One of the greatest pedagogical challenges is smoothly transitioning between musical idioms, instilling a sense of continuity without under-emphasizing important stylistic differences. A particular difficulty is the shift from tonal to post-tonal aural skills in the undergraduate core curriculum. An initial survey of nearly a dozen institutions reveals an array of perspectives and approaches: Some conclude their tonal studies with distant-key modulations using chromatic harmonies and begin their post-tonal work with concepts related to the second Viennese tradition; others attempt to create a bridge between tonal and atonal practices by incorporating topics such as diatonic modes and octatonicism. The goal of this presentation is to underscore the range of pedagogical approaches available to instructors, with emphasis on the specific methodologies employed by the current authors, in an effort to help initiate a field-wide discussion about the types of activities and instructive strategies relevant to 20th-century aural skills. Our talk unfolds in two phases. In Part I, a brief overview of the leading teaching materials shows that many published resources have great strengths but numerous shortcomings, leading instructors to create their own anthologies that support their individualized approach to 20th-century aural skills. Part II describes how the current authors treat the study of melody in a 15-week course. In a repertoire-based class, students begin singing and dictating examples that stretch the application of tonal principles, interjecting an interval-based approach sparingly. Throughout the semester, the emphases are gradually reversed: Students move towards an interval-based approach while occasionally recalling tonal principles.

We Know It’s Important, But How Do We Do It?  Engaging Beginning Aural Skills Students in Meaningful Improvisation Activities - Jeffrey Lovell (Lebanon Valley College)


Improvisation as a core component of the music curricula has been a topic of great interest in higher education in recent years. Articles on the subject are not in short supply; music theory and musicianship textbooks have increasingly incorporated improvisation activities in their pages. Certainly, it can be an effective tool for evaluating musicianship development. In context of the aural skills classroom, improvisation is a means to an end, and not only an outlet for or manifestation of a student’s creative impulse. The immediacy of improvisation tells us something about the way in which the student assimilates essential bits of musical vocabulary. However, I have found that in some cases, at least for my population of first- year inexperienced aural skills students, the suggested improvisation exercises contained in these texts progress too rapidly in complexity for meaningful engagement to occur. With this in mind, I created four elementary improvisation “checkpoints” in the first term of our aural skills curriculum that correspond to specific learning objectives, and that appropriately gauge how well students have assimilated fundamental concepts. For this presentation, I will share the specifics of these “checkpoints” and other strategies for incorporating into and assessing improvisation in the aural skills classroom. I will discuss the types of learning activities that I use, the specific objectives for them, and how I evaluate student progress. I will provide anecdotal evidence that the systematic implementation of improvisational activities does in fact stimulate meaningful student development in a creative, immediate way.

Contracting Grades in Aural Skills; An Updated Model for Instruction and Evaluation - David Marvel (University of Tennessee, Knoxville)

Wonderful pedagogical advancements have been made in the Music Theory classroom in recent years. The skills oriented nature of ear training has made the class more resistant to change; at many institutions, the primary method for evaluating students comes in the form of a handful of stressful tests and quizzes. It is time to rethink how aural skills is effectively taught and evaluated!  In the Spring of 2017, I wrote and implemented a syllabus in the last class of a four semester Aural Skills curriculum at a large state university using a contract grading system; the primary form of evaluation is based on consistent, documented, evidence of work. I devised a rubric requiring minimum amounts of work in different categories to earn a passing grade. Throughout the course of the semester, students must document earnest practice of many skills; including sight singing, transcription of live and recorded performances, group singing, keyboard work, transposition, and error detection. Students must demonstrate a high level of proficiency in order to pass, but have more responsibility and flexibility to determine how they will focus/practice their skills.  In my presentation, I will elaborate on how the contracts are established, how to organize students’ documentation of work, and how class time can be used effectively in conjunction with the emphasis on out of class work. I will provide feedback from students who participated in the class and examples of student work representative of the wide possibilities that a contract system allows.


From History to Practice: Bringing 'Cadence et Marche' Pedagogy to Today’s Music Theory Classroom - Michael J. Masci (State University of New York at Geneseo)


Recent music scholarship has seen an increased interest in the history of practical music theory, including eighteenth-century Italian harmonic theory and partimento pedagogy in particular. In detailing the techniques used for teaching generations of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century musicians and composers, this research offers us a range of potential techniques and methods for enriching our music theory pedagogy today, particularly in regard to the teaching of functional, common-practice harmony. In addition, these techniques also afford us an opportunity to reexamine our broader approaches to the music theory classroom, including our relative reliance on formal and informal music theories, the role of improvisation in the theory classroom, and the integration of solfege and keyboard musicianship with written theory. This workshop aims to help bridge the gap between this recent scholarship and the classroom implementation of some of the practical techniques it has revealed, taking the writings of French harmonic theorist Charles-Simon Catel as a point of departure. By considering Catel’s catalog of “les cadences les plus usitées” from his 1801 Traité d’Harmonie, the first harmony treatise approved for use at the Paris Conservatory, this demonstration explores a number of informal techniques for writing functional progressions, techniques that offer alternatives to prescriptive and formal theories of harmonic syntax. Particular consideration will be given to techniques for melodic writing as well as to the role of solfege in composing functional harmony.

Psychologically Inspired Ear Training Exercises: Incorporating Insights from Auditory Scene Analysis - Alfonso Meave (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México) and Richard Parncutt (Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz)


Cultural and social changes are increasing the heterogeneity of students in ear- training classes at music schools. Some students find ear-training activities easy, while others struggle with the basics. A possible solution is to increase the cultural diversity of the materials while also shifting the focus toward quasi-universal perceptual abilities, while also helping students to develop their awareness and understanding of perceptual functions and principles such as temporal continuity or pitch proximity. Drawing on Huron’s derivations of voice-leading rules from perceptual principles, we created a series of ear-training activities that progress in small, easy steps. In each step, students first learn to recognize a musical element or pattern and then learn about the corresponding music theory and psychological theory. The new program was presented to 24 music undergraduates in a supplementary one-week ear-training course at Universidad de Occidente in Los Mochis, Mexico. Corresponding aural capacities of the participants were tested before and after the course; we were unfortunately unable to include a control group in this preliminary study. We also documented students’ opinions about the course’s effectiveness. Most participants felt that ear training exercises based on perceptual principles cannot substitute for exercises grounded in traditional music theory, but also gave us ideas for improving presentation. They nevertheless became more efficient at recognizing melodic and polyphonic contours, relating them to perceptual capacities and analyzing and organizing musical soundscapes on that basis. A revised course could promote the development of aural skills while at the same time broadening how musicians think about music.


There’s an App for That: A Part-Writing and Analysis Tool for the Music Theory Classroom - Rachel Mitchell (University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley)


This presentation introduces a new music theory application that can both edit and analyze tonal music notation. It provides a music notation editor as well as a powerful analytical engine that can interpret musical scores in real time. Using a variety of analytical algorithms, the software can automatically analyze the voice leading, harmonies, and pitches of nearly any tonal music example. Instructors can create a variety of part writing assignments and analytical exercises, that when completed in the app, can provide users with graded interactive feedback. The software’s ability to search and analyze musical scores in a user-friendly, graphic environment makes it a useful tool for core theory classrooms. Instructors can create interactive assignments requiring students to label chords, enter notes on a staff, answer multiple-choice questions, generate timed drills, and randomize tonal centers of part-writing exercises, providing students unlimited practice in multiple keys. Students can watch in-app instructional videos, complete and listen to exercises resembling those found in any textbook or workbook, and receive instant, graded feedback, all with the click of a button. The software complements any curriculum, as its features are completely customizable. Create content from the embedded library of Bach chorales, import a favorite example in MusicXML, or use the new in-app instructional library, which enables teachers to generate infinitely randomizable scores from pitches and intervals, to short four-voice progressions featuring chromatic harmonies. This presentation will demonstrate how the app works and will show how to quickly generate interactive, gradable assignments.


Malleable Mindsets: Reshaping Undergraduate Music Theory Curricula - Meghan Naxer (Kent State University)


Recent years have seen an increased interest in new methods of undergraduate music theory pedagogy, with a particular focus on student-centered approaches. Students in music theory courses are often anecdotally observed to be unengaged or unmotivated, and student- centered classrooms are one way to offer a more meaningful and engaging classroom environment. However, current music theory pedagogy research does not directly address the underlying problem of low student engagement or motivation. In contrast, fields like psychology, mathematics pedagogy, and video game design offer a wealth of potential pedagogical applications to improve student motivation. This presentation will focus on what we can learn and apply from an interdisciplinary approach to student motivation and engagement during the instructional design process. Carol Dweck’s research explores students’ self-theories: the mindsets that students bring to the study of any subject, which dictate whether they view a construct like intelligence or ability as being either malleable or fixed. I propose that students who adopt a more malleable mindset will experience a change in their motivation and an increase in their music theory abilities. By building on Dweck’s research, I will show how an instructional design specific to music theory may influence student self-theories. This model of design will help transform the way instructors create and conceptualize their curricula. Most importantly, considering and designing with student self-theories in mind will improve the learning environment for our students and help them gain a new fluency and understanding in music.

Gamification and Repetition Pedagogy Components in the Web App, Picardy - Hermes Camacho and Alex Newton (Picardy Learning)


Educational technologies play a pivotal role in higher education, with many pedagogues using applications and websites that either serve as useful supplements or as resources for students. Of particular note is Duolingo, an app that boasts millions of global users learning languages from Spanish to Vietnamese. The company attributes much of its success to the implementation of gamification and repetition within its pedagogy. How might these concepts fit in, adapt to, or contradict with current trends in music theory and aural skills pedagogy? Built by music theory and composition professors and professionals, Picardy is a web application that makes explicit and implicit use of game components and repetition. It uses a progress bar and a heart count to increase student motivation, but more importantly it repeats topics in a deliberate manner. That is, we sequence repetitions to provide multiple perspectives for understanding the same concepts, helping students approach musicianship in deeper and more multifaceted ways. This workshop breaks into two parts. First, we will demonstrate the various features as well as the unique content of Picardy, highlighting its use of gamification and repetition. In the second part, audience members will play an active role by using the program with the presenters fielding comments and questions.

Student Perceptions of Music Theory: Hidden Curricula in the Music Theory Classroom - Cora S. Palfy (Elon University)


Despite the advancement beyond the traditional canon reflected within the larger discipline, many music theory classrooms still reflect an older Western Art Music-heavy canon and, inherently, a system of valuation that can marginalize students within an increasingly socially diverse university system. An informal pilot study investigating the influence of the canon was run at a private Midwestern university (n = 16). Using both qualitative and quantitative questions, the research showed that many students find that the most “important” composers within music theory fall within the Western Art Music tradition, and were largely Caucasian and male (the most common cited examples being Beethoven, Bach, and Mozart). Despite student interest in this music and its related subfields and the efforts of the faculty to include diverse repertory such as popular music, world music, and film music, it appears that students continue to receive the message that the WAM canon is still the integral, defining genre for music theory as a field. This type of “hidden curriculum,” or an implicitly taught concept or group of concepts that is conveyed indirectly through course material, examples, or pedagogical focus, is clearly at odds with the efforts of the larger field. How, then, can music theory pedagogues more effectively communicate the transforming field of music theory and its application to a wider, more diverse range of music? I provide inclusive lesson plans, example resources, and sample activities, and take ideas recommended by previous and current students to amend the curriculum and create an inclusive classroom.

Psychologically Inspired Ear Training Exercises: Incorporating Insights from Auditory Scene Analysis - Alfonso Meave (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México) and Richard Parncutt (Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz)


Cultural and social changes are increasing the heterogeneity of students in ear- training classes at music schools. Some students find ear-training activities easy, while others struggle with the basics. A possible solution is to increase the cultural diversity of the materials while also shifting the focus toward quasi-universal perceptual abilities, while also helping students to develop their awareness and understanding of perceptual functions and principles such as temporal continuity or pitch proximity. Drawing on Huron’s derivations of voice-leading rules from perceptual principles, we created a series of ear-training activities that progress in small, easy steps. In each step, students first learn to recognize a musical element or pattern and then learn about the corresponding music theory and psychological theory. The new program was presented to 24 music undergraduates in a supplementary one-week ear-training course at Universidad de Occidente in Los Mochis, Mexico. Corresponding aural capacities of the participants were tested before and after the course; we were unfortunately unable to include a control group in this preliminary study. We also documented students’ opinions about the course’s effectiveness. Most participants felt that ear training exercises based on perceptual principles cannot substitute for exercises grounded in traditional music theory, but also gave us ideas for improving presentation. They nevertheless became more efficient at recognizing melodic and polyphonic contours, relating them to perceptual capacities and analyzing and organizing musical soundscapes on that basis. A revised course could promote the development of aural skills while at the same time broadening how musicians think about music.


The Mode Effect: Using Classroom Technology to Facilitate Learning in an Advanced Analysis Course - Brenda Ravenscroft (Queens University)


The move towards engaging students in active and collaborative learning during class time has driven a demand for classrooms configured to facilitate student interaction and group learning. Although technology is often incorporated into these active learning classrooms, questions remain about the necessity of the technology and how the mode of presentation may affect student learning. The “mode effect” has been examined most closely in studies on test taking (Noyes, Garland and Robbins, 2004; Leeson, 2006), but there is little research on how peer learning contributes to the mode effect, and whether differences in learning may occur in different modes. This presentation examines the mode effect in an advanced music analysis course. In addition to being designed using a flipped model, the course used a team-based learning approach, and took place in an active learning classroom, with separate tables, each with its own interactive whiteboard. Analytical tasks were completed in class, using both scores projected onto the interactive whiteboards, and conventional paper photocopies of the music. Several class sessions were videotaped and analyzed using thematic, componential and comparison analytical techniques to examine relationships between the mode (paper vs whiteboard), the type of analysis (micro vs macro-level) and interactions (group vs individual) (Leech and Onwuegbuzie, 2007). Analysis of the video footage will demonstrate the complementary ways in which students used technology and traditional paper scores, allowing audience members to gain insight into how classroom technology can facilitate analysis, particularly in a group setting, and to consider similar approaches in their own teaching.

Chorales in J.S. Bach’s Pedagogy: A Method for Teaching  Undergraduate Music Theory Inspired by a New Source - Derek Remeš (Eastman School of Music)


C.P.E. Bach reports that chorale harmonization played a central role in his father’s pedagogy. First, J.S. would supply a chorale melody with  gured bass and students would compose the inner voices; later, students would invent original basses. In 2016, Robin Leaver discovered a new source which likely originates from J.S. Bach’s students.  e anonymous manuscript contains 236  gured-bass chorales in a simple style for keyboard—a stark contrast to Bach’s ornamented vocal chorales.  e document suggests that Bach’s students began simply.  is presentation outlines a method for teaching undergraduate music theory using chorale melodies. Like Bach, the primary activity involves composing inner voices to a given outer- voice framework.  is provides a conceptual bridge between species counterpoint and part- writing.  e given bassline also sidesteps teaching harmonic function until after students have seen numerous models and can compose their own basses. But this method extends beyond harmony—because chorale melodies are miniature compositions, they facilitate expansion into broader concepts: formal analysis, cadence types, sequences, harmonic analysis, non-chord tones, and tonicization (Example 1). Unornamented harmonizations are also ideal for singing in the classroom, while ornamentation can form a composition project. I have prepared seventy chorales, which are freely available online with recordings and topical index. Each chorale is presented in  ve versions for students of differing abilities. All harmonizations draw from a limited stock of harmonic paradigms, which unites the collection stylistically and streamlines the realization process.

Mock Trials in the Music Theory Classroom – Angela Ripley (Baylor University)


Used to promote student engagement and critical thinking in fields outside of music, mock trials can help music theory students engage compositions whose thematic, formal, or tonal ambiguities invite multiple interpretations. I describe the structure of a music theory mock trial, present three sample cases, and discuss pedagogical benefits of using mock trials. Music theory mock trials consist of three phases: investigation, evidence, and verdict. During the investigation phase, students work together in small groups to analyze the score and gather musical evidence for the trial. The evidence phase comprises the majority of the mock trial as students adopt the roles of witness, lawyer, court reporter, and juror. Students demonstrate high levels of engagement as they present musical evidence to the class, question each other, and support their conflicting analytical interpretations with specific musical examples. After all the evidence has been presented, a student jury deliberates and renders a verdict. The structure of a music theory mock trial adapts well to a wide variety of analytical topics and repertoires, as demonstrated by three sample cases. In these cases, students investigate motivic material in Bach’s Invention in B-flat Major (BWV 785), confront cadential ambiguity in Schumann’s “Aus meinen Thränen spriessen” (Dichterliebe, no. 2), and join the scholarly debate surrounding Wagner’s enigmatic Tristan chord. By analyzing compositions via music theory mock trials, students learn to identify and articulate musical features to support their analyses, consider diverse music-analytical perspectives, and deepen critical-thinking skills while engaging their peers in a spirited, but respectful, dialogue.

What's in a National Anthem? - Rebecca Wade and Dina Rosas (Atlanta International School)


As teachers, we may be met with a classroom of students with little musical training. As co-teachers we have strategized how to empower a group of young high school students to take ownership over their learning of an unknown piece of music in a non-traditional general music setting. Over the past three years, teachers at an International Baccalaureate high school have implemented ways to engage students in relevant singing. Students participate in a project that use aural skills past singing simple melodies. This workshop will demonstrate the use of solfege to an unknown national anthem in order to build students’ fundamental understanding of intervallic relationships understanding of phrasing and basic melodic structure. This workshop will highlight how students were able to learn melodies outside of cultural norms and share the successes and challenges faced in teaching understanding of sol-fege in a nontraditional music classroom manner.

The Rule of the Octave in the Freshman Music Theory Curriculum: Teaching in the Twenty-First Century with Eighteenth-Century Strategies - Olga Sánchez-Kisielewska (Northwestern University)


From the Neapolitan conservatories to Mozart’s Vienna, eighteenth-century musicians commenced the study of harmony by learning a rule of thumb for the harmonization of scalar basses known as the Rule of the Octave (henceforth RO). In this paper I present a series of strategies to incorporate the RO into Freshman Music Theory, including activities for keyboard and aural skills.

The first stage of activities consists of memorizing the RO in writing, singing (arpeggios and melodic lines), and performing at the keyboard. Later on, this knowledge is applied to improvisation exercises in which students move up and down the scale using a given rhythmic pattern. We also incorporate the RO into the analysis of pieces in which segments of the bass- line move stepwise, inviting the comparison between the actual realization of the bass and the expectations derived from the rule. The goals of these activities include:

- Establishing a strong connection—intellectual, aural, and physical—between scale degrees and chords (i.e., a Mi bass is more frequently I6 than iii).

- Learning a variety of chords attached to a harmonic context. (i.e., V43 as passing chord).

- Becoming familiar with harmonic patterns and their typical voice-leading and function before their formal introduction (i.e., Aug6 as predominant).

- Increasing student motivation by re-enacting the experiences of real musicians of the past.

Sharing my personal experience with the RO in the classroom I hope to demonstrate the pedagogical benefits of recovering and updating a teaching resource crucial in the history of Western music.


Peer Learning Strategies in the Flipped Music Theory Classroom - Hermes Camacho (Picardy) & Scott C. Schumann (Central Michigan University)


Peer learning is a pedagogical approach that involves “students learning from and with each other in both formal and informal ways” (David Boud, 2013: 4). These strategies can be particularly effective in music theory courses when combined with a flipped classroom model – Harold Bloom’s taxonomy has been used to explain the benefits of this model in a music theory classroom (Duker, Gawboy, Hughes, Shaffer: 2015). In this way, students learn fundamental concepts outside of class (remembering, understanding), and work on more advanced concepts in class (applying, analyzing, evaluating, creating). Peer learning also allows for a wider array of classroom interactions (peer-to-peer, and student-to-instructor), which can ultimately help students achieve higher levels of learning. While this model can be applied using a number of different methods, this paper will discuss specific ways to potentially achieve these higher levels, with a particular focus on in-classroom peer learning strategies for the traditional four-semester undergraduate music theory sequence. We will discuss three ways in which this model can be applied: focused reading responses (written reactions that are discussed/evaluated in class), collaborative assessment (students working together to grade their own work), and instructor-supervised peer teaching (students teaching students certain concepts with instructor guidance). By combining these approaches within the flipped classroom model, the teacher can focus more time on helping students gain a deeper understanding of the more complex concepts in a typical music theory curriculum.

Can I Borrow a Feeling? Modal Mixture Reconsidered - Christopher Segall (College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati)


Although most contemporary American theory textbooks present a linear approach to harmony (e.g., V6 is interpreted as a neighbor harmony expanding I), they abandon this approach with modal mixture, teaching instead that select harmonies are “borrowed” from the parallel key, usually for expressive purposes. This creates several pedagogical problems: (1) students must learn new techniques for chromatic harmony, without continuity from diatonic harmony; (2) students do not learn consistent techniques for different chromatic harmonies (e.g., the Neapolitan, which is not “borrowed,” is relegated to its own chapter); (3) students learn only the individual harmonies covered in their textbook, rather than a set of techniques for understanding chromatic harmony in general. Building on work by Dmitri Tymoczko, this paper proposes an alternative approach to chromatic harmony based on semitonal voice leading. Through this model, students can understand the standard chromatic harmonies (modal mixture, Neapolitan, augmented sixth), more advanced harmonies (altered chords, common-tone chords), and harmonies not typically identified in textbooks (e.g., V7 with lowered root, fifth, and seventh in Schoenberg, op. 10; augmented sixth with natural ^3 in Glière, op. 9). This paper outlines a half- semester curriculum for chromatic harmony, culminating in a class workshop where students derive new chromatic harmonies and progressions. Replacing “borrowed” chords with semitonal voice leading helps students to understand chromatic harmony as an intensification, rather than a rejection, of linear procedures.

#TEXTBOOKLESS: Creating your own Online Educational Resource - Kate Sekula (University of Sciences and Arts of Oklahoma)


Academic textbook costs continually rise and it is probably a correct assumption that not every professor teaches at an institution where departmental and student monetary resources are endless. Many states are cutting support to higher education and it is necessary to look for educational resources that are not only highly effective but also cost effective. This demonstration will present a systematic procedure for creating an OER (online education resource) for a music theory curriculum, including steps on writing a script that caters content to institutional and departmental goals, creating slides, recording and editing audio and video, and finally sharing content. The presentation will include descriptions of both open-source and priced resources. Participants can use this information for several purposes: 1) creating lectures for missed days of class; 2) providing lecture content to students with a disability; 3) providing course content to an English-language learner; and 4) creating a series of lectures with audio, visual, and text content that can cater to the various ways in which students learn and ultimately replace the use of a textbook in the music theory classroom.

One Bite at a Time: Writing in Harmony Class - Jennifer Shafer (University of Delaware and Temple University)


Writing about music is rightfully lauded as a challenging task. For an undergraduate who may already be struggling to apply music theory concepts in analysis, the thought of describing these concepts and their implications in writing can be especially daunting. This project presents a series of small-scale writing assignments used to introduce students in a freshman-level harmony class to the skill of writing about music. Each writing assignment is preceded by an “analysis day,” a class period devoted to guided analysis work. Students work individually and in groups to complete specified analysis tasks, which provide them with the necessary information to respond to writing prompts for a short paper the following week. This scaffolded design allows students to gain experience writing about music in an environment that guides the content of their papers through carefully crafted prompts, which encourage critical thinking and engagement with issues of performance and musically informed decision-making. Thus, the act of writing becomes the primary task, since content is already learned. This design allows the instructor to adjust expectations relative to the material accomplished in class, or to provide altered prompts or additional materials. Students are invited to edit their papers after receiving feedback, which decreases concerns over assessment and encourages focus on the final product. Student feedback on this project indicates that although the assignments were difficult to do initially, they became easier with practice, and that they “...were a great learning experience and put me out of my comfort zone, which [was] really appreciated.”

Teaching Musical Borrowing in the Music Theory Classroom – Peter Silberman (Ithaca College)


This presentation describes a theory course on musical borrowing (incorporating material from an earlier composition into a newer composition) I taught to first-year music majors that was designed to answer three questions: 1. How does borrowed material interact with new material to form a work’s structure? 2. How is the borrowed material altered in order to fit into its new environment? 3. How does the use of borrowed material convey meaning to the listener? Investigating these questions enabled us to learn about such staples of theory instruction as form, motives, and harmony in a way that engaged students who had little theory knowledge beyond fundamentals. We were able to explore a wide variety of musical repertoire, from Handel through Lady Gaga, and styles ranging from Baroque to rap. Along the way we touched on topics such as how music conveys meaning, and how listeners perceive various musical parameters. My presentation will begin with an overview of this course, discussing goals and objectives. I then will describe two sample analyses (songs of Ives and Jason Derulo), showing how an investigation of borrowing can introduce concepts of motivic connections and musical form. I then will discuss the approach I took to explaining musical meaning and will introduce the concept of a meaning chain, a series of interrelated meanings that connect borrowed material to the work in which it appears. I will conclude by showing samples of student final projects (a composition that employed borrowing) and student reactions as evidenced by course evaluations.

From Harmonic Looking to Harmonic Listening: Harmonic Dictation via Harmonic Singing - Cynthia I. Gonzales (Texas State University) and Bonnie Smith (AP Music Theory Instructor at Churchill High School in San Antonio, TX)


In Aural Skills Acquisition (2000), Karpinski describes a common approach to harmonic dictation as “parallel melodic dictation” followed by “harmonic looking.” This demonstration provides an alternative methodology for harmonic dictation that prioritizes “harmonic listening,” a skill developed by singing chord arpeggios, an activity we refer to as “harmonic singing.” Each harmony is sung as an arpeggio, as if played on the piano in close position. Furthermore, every arpeggio ascends from its “guide tone,” which is a chord member that is tonic, the leading tone, or stepwise from tonic: do, ti, re, te, or ra. (Alvarez 1980, 1981; Rahn and McKay, 1988; Wallace, 2007; Stevens, 2013). The tonic chord, thereby, is Do-Mi-So; the dominant Ti-Re- So; the subdominant Do-Fa-La; etc. Though harmonic singing is primarily a tool for harmonic listening, it also aids sight singing and melodic dictation. To prepare students to take harmonic dictation, students practice harmonic singing with excerpts of ‘real’ music literature from a variety of musical styles and textures, internalizing the labeled sound of each arpeggio. Harmonic singing culminates in a methodology for harmonic dictation that focuses on harmonic listening: (1) discern the guide tone; (2) identify the harmony; (3) determine the bass and, as needed, add figures to the Roman numeral; and finally (4) notate the soprano. Workshop participants will actively engage in harmonic singing with musical excerpts from a variety of styles and apply the guide-tone method to take harmonic dictation. Activities will focus on major and minor diatonic contexts; resources will be provided for chromatic harmonies.


Scaling to Real Music: Rebuilding Aural Skills Pedagogy from the Ground Up - Philip Duker and Daniel Stevens (University of Delaware)


Despite steady progress in improving aural skills classes over the past decade, there often remains a disconnect between the goals that we want students to achieve, the activities and techniques we use to meet those goals, and the methods and strategies students use to complete the activities. Consequently, many students struggle to apply their acquired skills to outside listening experiences and to retain learning beyond their time in the theory core. In response, we endeavored to rebuild the Aural Skills sequence at our institution from the ground up, starting with a set of pedagogical assumptions and methodological goals inspired by backwards design: (1) focusing almost exclusively on real pieces of music from different styles/genres, (2) developing active listening in which students make music as a means of understanding music that is heard, (3) developing musical fluency through regular improvisation exercises before sight-singing and dictation, (4) simplifying and retooling dictation to increase practical application and musical relevance, and (5) using group work and problem-based learning to engage students in real-world application and critical thinking. In this poster presentation, we provide a sequential pathway through a first-year Aural Skills course, sharing some of the unique challenges involved in using real pieces to teach fundamental listening skills. Scaling our Aural Skills curriculum to real music has invigorated every aspect of teaching and learning, helping students understand the relevance of improvisation and careful listening to all their musical activities.

Classical Variation in the Undergraduate Curriculum – James Sullivan and Samantha Waddell (University of Evansville)


Classical variation is o en downplayed in pedagogical situations because of its apparent formal simplicity, particularly when measured against sonata form. Yet, variation sets were valued by Classical composers for different reasons than sonata form (Ivanovitch 2010). Furthermore, like sonata form, they functioned as a laboratory for formal innovation (Sisman 1990 and 1993).  is presentation argues that Classical variation deserves more sustained attention than it typically gets in an undergraduate theory curriculum and demonstrates how to develop a unit that deeply engages the topic. Sisman (1990) and (1993) offer a useful framework for such a unit. Her research shows that many variation sets by Haydn and Mozart are subject to broad organizational principles, which in turn rely upon standard variation techniques. Movements from Mozart’s K. 331 and K. 564, as well as from Haydn’s Symphonies No. 63 and No. 103, demonstrate such principles for single-theme and alternating variations, respectively. Beethoven’s innovative treatment of each type is demonstrated by movements from his Op. 18, No. 5 and Ninth Symphony. By directly incorporating Sisman’s Beethoven analyses, the proposed unit offers a context for undergraduate students to engage with theoretical research in a critical manner. It provides yet another context for understanding Beethoven as a formal innovator, and it shows that Classical variation, like sonata form, developed dialogically (Hepokoski and Darcy 2006). Classical variation is also an ideal context for exploring phrase form and manipulation, phrase rhythm, hypermeter, and binary form, suggesting how the unit best  ts into a broader curriculum.

Parallel Period Improvisation in Undergraduate Aural Skills – James Sullivan (University of Evansville)


At any stage of an aural skills curriculum, improvisation is an ideal way for students to develop, synthesize, and apply all kinds of skills and knowledge. Yet, students and instructors are frequently reluctant to engage with improvisation-based activities.  is fear is undoubtably due to improvisation’s inherent freedom, something absent in most of our and our students’ classical training.  us, for instructors wishing to incorporate more improvisation into their curricula, activities that have a high degree of structure are good places to start.  is workshop focuses on one such activity: the improvisation of parallel periods.  e instructor sings or plays an antecedent, and the student sings back a parallel consequent, all without notation.  e activity is simple and highly structured because of the degree of repetition. At the same time, it engages students’ musical memory, tonal audiation, and sense of melody, cadence, and phrase rhythm, all within the context of an essential Classical phrase prototype.  e activity is  exible and can incorporate chromaticism, modulation, diatonic modes, and post-tonal scales.  e example below gives some sample antecedents and viable consequents. In this interactive workshop, participants will be shown how to implement and evaluate period improvisation in several different contexts and at different levels of difficulty. We will discuss what the activity accomplishes for the student’s musicianship and how it can be positioned effectively relative to other topics in an aural skills curriculum.

Engaging Students in the Theory Classroom Through Solo Repertoire – Alexander Trygstad (Eastman School of Music)


A central challenge for music theory teachers is how to make theoretical concepts both relevant and engaging to students. One common complaint from students is that they are required to study repertoire in the theory classroom that has little direct relevance to their career as a performer or teacher. Some methodologies address this complaint by using repertoire that many student may be playing, such as large-ensemble pieces, or by having students perform anthology repertoire in class on their own instruments irrespective of the original instrumentation. While these methods are effective to a degree, I submit in this paper that incorporating students’ solo repertoire more pervasively into the curriculum will more effectively engage students toward learning theoretical concepts. Because students spend significantly more time practicing and listening to their solo repertoire than any other music, their intimate familiarity with and interest in this repertoire makes it an ideal tool for instilling theoretical knowledge and skill. I will present several methods for how to implement this incorporation including compiling examples from repertoire students are currently learning, utilizing examples from a database I have created of commonly-played pieces for each instrument, and giving students the opportunity to present and perform their current repertoire in class from a theoretical perspective. This paper will illustrate how to integrate solo repertoire into the classroom in a way that is not overly time- consuming for the teacher or demanding on the existing curriculum and that is effective in engaging students with theoretical concepts.


Improvisation in Aural Skills: Building Connections and Musicianship - Tiffany Valvo (Syracuse University and Nazareth College)


After three degrees in clarinet performance, I spend my days teaching aural skills and theory, my nights learning concertos. As a performer and now classroom teacher, I have become infatuated with aural skills’ potential to get to the core of students’ musicianship. One of the ways I have realized that potential is by teaching my students a process for learning how to improvise in the context of aural skills. Teaching students to improvise, no matter how simple their creation, can help eliminate the guess work, fear and frustration that often plagues aural skills classrooms, that plagued mine when I was a student. The first semester I implemented these techniques, 75% of my sixty students had never improvised; at the end of the semester, 77% reported it was the most rewarding part of the class. In this workshop, I will first demonstrate a process for learning to improvise using simple harmonic progressions, within and out of the context of melody. This not only teaches students common phrase models, bass lines and voice leading, but allows them to engage with these vital concepts as the creator of the music that uses them. Additionally, I will demonstrate how to use rhythmic improvisation to develop pulse and meter, discussing the importance of feeling meter before making students read rhythms. Finally, no teaching method would be complete without reliable assessment methods. Throughout the demonstration, I will suggest strategies for assessing improvisation that will promote student growth and improve instruction.


Classical Variation in the Undergraduate Curriculum – James Sullivan and Samantha Waddell (University of Evansville)


Classical variation is often downplayed in pedagogical situations because of its apparent formal simplicity, particularly when measured against sonata form. Yet, variation sets were valued by Classical composers for different reasons than sonata form (Ivanovitch 2010). Furthermore, like sonata form, they functioned as a laboratory for formal innovation (Sisman 1990 and 1993).  is presentation argues that Classical variation deserves more sustained attention than it typically gets in an undergraduate theory curriculum and demonstrates how to develop a unit that deeply engages the topic. Sisman (1990) and (1993) offer a useful framework for such a unit. Her research shows that many variation sets by Haydn and Mozart are subject to broad organizational principles, which in turn rely upon standard variation techniques. Movements from Mozart’s K. 331 and K. 564, as well as from Haydn’s Symphonies No. 63 and No. 103, demonstrate such principles for single-theme and alternating variations, respectively. Beethoven’s innovative treatment of each type is demonstrated by movements from his Op. 18, No. 5 and Ninth Symphony. By directly incorporating Sisman’s Beethoven analyses, the proposed unit offers a context for undergraduate students to engage with theoretical research in a critical manner. It provides yet another context for understanding Beethoven as a formal innovator, and it shows that Classical variation, like sonata form, developed dialogically (Hepokoski and Darcy 2006). Classical variation is also an ideal context for exploring phrase form and manipulation, phrase rhythm, hypermeter, and binary form, suggesting how the unit best  ts into a broader curriculum.

Swing, Shuffle, Half-Time, Double: Beyond Traditional Time Signatures in Meter Classification for Pop/Rock Music - Trevor deClercq and Samantha Waddell (Middle Tennessee State University)


The aural identification of meter—normally taken to be a basic task relegated to the early weeks of musicianship coursework—typically involves assigning a piece of music to one of a small palette of standard time signatures (e.g., 3/4, 12/8), based on the number of beats per measure (i.e., duple, triple, quadruple) and how the beat is divided (i.e., simple or compound). While this scheme is a useful starting point for meter classification in pop/rock music, it ignores two additional factors—swing rhythms and drum feels—that are central components to rhythmic organization in this style. For example, many pop/rock songs in 6/8 (e.g., “Norwegian Wood”) include swing at the sixteenth-note level, a feature which even trained musicians are often unaware of, perhaps due in part to a traditional lack of concern with this aspect. Additionally, although kick and snare are customarily taken to imply the primary beat level, “half- time” and “double-time” feels—in which the kick and snare imply a tactus above or below the primary beat—create a further layer of metric complexity. In this workshop, I begin with a brief overview of this enhanced methodology for meter classification, which I developed over the past few semesters in my own teaching. From there, I present participants with a variety of real-world meter identification examples—such as the half- time shuffle, “Fool in the Rain”—each of which serves as “hands on” practice in meter classification beyond the traditional time signature as well as a focal point for discussion.

What's in a National Anthem? - Rebecca Wade and Dina Rosas (Atlanta International School)

As teachers, we may be met with a classroom of students with little musical training. As co-teachers we have strategized how to empower a group of young high school students to take ownership over their learning of an unknown piece of music in a non-traditional general music setting. Over the past three years, teachers at an International Baccalaureate high school have implemented ways to engage students in relevant singing. Students participate in a project that use aural skills past singing simple melodies. This workshop will demonstrate the use of solfege to an unknown national anthem in order to build students’ fundamental understanding of intervallic relationships understanding of phrasing and basic melodic structure. This workshop will highlight how students were able to learn melodies outside of cultural norms and share the successes and challenges faced in teaching understanding of sol-fege in a nontraditional music classroom manner.


A Learning Taxonomy for Schenkerian Analysis – Benjamin K. Wadsworth (Kennesaw State University)


The teacher of introductory courses in Schenkerian analysis faces difficulties in weighing all details of a musical context while moving through course content sequentially. In their discussions of graphing procedures, Schenkerian textbooks (Forte and Gilbert 1982; Cadwallader and Gagné 2011; Pankhurst 2008) often skip over foundational elements to introduce high-order concepts all at once: for instance, in Cadwallader and Gagné 2011, 110–113, after the foreground continuo is identified, the Ursatz and middleground are inferred in one step (their Example 5.4a). Unsurprisingly, then, many students in introductory courses struggle in deciding issues of hierarchical weight and notational conventions. A learning taxonomy, a cumulative hierarchy of cognitive processes involved in learning and ranging from simple to complex, is thus helpful for the pedagogy of these courses. Drawing from previous learning taxonomies (e.g., Bloom 1956; Anderson and Krathwohl 2001; and Rifkin and Stoecker 2011), I propose for Schenkerian analysis two levels, a “macro” one describing all course activities, and a “micro” one describing graphing procedures. I note differences between this taxonomy and analytical procedures from current Schenkerian textbooks, and infer a wide range of classroom activities. Particularly effective ones in my introductory course have included one-page memory aids for prolongation techniques and their notation, and the preliminary sketching of hypothetical structures using horizontal lines and colors. These innovations (and others) have helped my students successfully complete in-class, timed exams.

Reshaping the Focus and Content of Freshman Music Theory:  Using the keyboard as a tool to improve student learning - Barbara K. Wallace and Jennifer Weaver (Dallas Baptist University)


This presentation will focus on a core music theory curricular redesign which incorporates kinesthetic learning into the curriculum via a small portable keyboard. Many new music majors have strong musical instincts but limited fluency with music notation as well as limited keyboard experience. Because of these limitations they struggle to make connections between music theory courses and other types of music-making. With cross-curricular connections as the goal, we re-ordered the core theory curriculum and incorporated keyboard drills and exercises to reinforce theory concepts kinesthetically and aurally. Our presentation will layout the structure of the re-designed curriculum, demonstrate the types of keyboard exercises and present results from the first year.

Reshaping the Focus and Content of Freshman Music Theory:  Using the keyboard as a tool to improve student learning - Barbara K. Wallace and Jennifer Weaver (Dallas Baptist University)


This presentation will focus on a core music theory curricular redesign which incorporates kinesthetic learning into the curriculum via a small portable keyboard. Many new music majors have strong musical instincts but limited fluency with music notation as well as limited keyboard experience. Because of these limitations they struggle to make connections between music theory courses and other types of music-making. With cross-curricular connections as the goal, we re-ordered the core theory curriculum and incorporated keyboard drills and exercises to reinforce theory concepts kinesthetically and aurally. Our presentation will layout the structure of the re-designed curriculum, demonstrate the types of keyboard exercises and present results from the first year.

Dalcroze-inspired Analysis in Music Theory Classroom - Ji Hyun Woo (State University of New York at Fredonia)


Music analysis at the college level in music theory classes often focuses on score analysis at the expense of performance practice. Likewise, most traditional music theory curricula tend to focus on the training of the mind, with little emphasis on approaches that engage the moving body. My adoption of the Dalcroze approach attempts to bridge the mind/body gap that exists in the pedagogical tradition of analysis.  This paper provides a method for incorporating kinesthetic movement into the teaching and learning of music and analysis. First, the pedagogical guidelines of a Dalcroze lesson are briefly summarized in relation to specific examples of Dalcroze’s methods in exercising aural, visual and kinesthetic capacities in musical training. Next, empirical and pedagogical studies of the Dalcroze approach are presented by proposing a possible three-step model of music analysis: aural, formal, and visual (Figure 1). The lesson plan based on the three-step model is developed using the third movement of Ravel’s Valses Nobles et sentimentales (1911). Finally, the paper concludes with the effect on music theory of college students analyzing music with the Dalcroze approach by sharing video clips and self-reflection of their performance. By introducing physical movement into music analysis focusing on student- oriented process and the harmonious experience of mind and body, this study suggests that the students not only learned each part in greater detail, but also developed their aural skills, inner hearing, and memorizing skill as well as enhanced their musicality.


How to develop sight-singing, transposition, improvisation, and composition skills using a quasi 12-tone matrix - Ji Hyun Woo (State University of New York at Fredonia)


This study demonstrates a method of developing sight-reading, transposition, improvisation, and composition skills in an inviting manner by using a quasi 12-tone matrix.1 Pedagogical studies of the new approach in learning serial music are presented proposing a possible four-step model of music analysis: Sight- singing, Transposition, Improvisation, and Composition (STIC). To demonstrate this approach, I will present a lesson plan based on the four- step model is developed using the 12-tone row from the first movement of Berg’s Lyric Suite (1925-1926), which is an all-interval row containing all eleven intervals from the minor second to the major seventh. As the lesson plan shows, for improving sight-singing skills I introduce Berg’s 12-tone row (Example 1: a clef is omitted since students can choose a clef) and have the students sing through row P0 forward and backward until the students get familiar with the intervallic pattern. Second, they sing rows from P1 to Pe using the matrix and then sing the R, I, and RI row forms to help the students both sight-singing and transposition skills. Third, they are introduced to an improvisation method in solo, partner, and group activities choosing any row form and clef. Lastly, the students write their composition (a 16-measure theme) by choosing one row form from Example 1. Learning through STIC activities using a quasi 12-tone matrix in musical analysis provide that the students not only experience all intervals and various clefs, but allows them to improve their sight-singing skills as well as learn how to improvise and compose serial music

InQuizitive for Aural Skills: A Formative, Adaptive, Game-Based Learning Tool - Brent Yorgason (Brigham Young University)


In this poster session, I will demonstrate Inquizitive for Aural Skills to interested passersby. Inquizitive for Aural Skills is a formative, adaptive, game-based online learning tool that is being developed for W.W. Norton. Some of the principles guiding the creation of this tool were (a) to provide authentic listening situations using actual recordings of “real music” in a variety of timbres and genres—rather than relying on pre-designed exercises, MIDI files, and piano timbres alone; (b) to focus more on contextual listening activities and applicable skills like error detection than acontextual tasks like chord and interval drilling; and (c) to decouple ear training as much as possible from musical notation by focusing more heavily on a solfege representation of sound. The quiz-like interface of Inquizitive for Aural Skills actually encourages this decoupling, since it is much simpler to answer questions using solfege than complex music notation. My demonstration will include a series of online activities involving new and innovative approaches to melodic dictation, rhythmic dictation, harmonic dictation, and error detection, with an interface that enables students to get frequent feedback, win points, “level up,” and continue playing until they have mastered the necessary skills. I may also address some of the challenges and limitations of online aural- skills pedagogy and how I have attempted to address such difficulties with this project.