Music Theory for Teens that isn’t “cutesy”
I don’t know about you, but I struggle to teach music theory. I often feel as if I don’t have the time in lessons, and the things I do teach quickly fall on deaf ears.
In addition, I hesitate to buy expensive music theory books, or ask my teenage students to buy them, because they all seem to be overwhelming college texts, or cheesy workbooks clearly designed for small children.
So, what are we to do?
A few weeks ago, I discovered a free language-learning app called Memrise. It is designed to teach foreign language skills using a game like format, and you earn points based on the tasks you complete. I was excited to review my pitiful German skills, so I quickly got started.
Upon exploring the app, I was delighted to find that, not only could you study languages, you can memorize a whole variety of topics. Most importantly, you can study music theory, history, and ear training!!!!
I know. I was pumped too.
So why should we use Memrise to teach these skills to our students?
1. Repetition. The app is designed to ask you for the same information in a variety of ways. It keeps coming back to you over and over until it is LOCKED DOWN.
2. Mnemonics. For each fact or piece of information, they offer a few different mnemonic devices. So if one doesn’t work with your particular brain, there probably is another there to help you!
3. Portability and Access. Nearly everyone has a smart phone these days, and teenagers are never without theirs. It’s not too hard to play memrise for a couple minutes in the car or while waiting for the bus. A music theory text or workbook isn’t going to be with them at every second of the day. If your students don’t have a smartphone, they can access Memrise from their desktop computer. It’s awesome.
4. Price. It’s free. I love free. Playing the violin can be pretty pricey. It’s always nice to give your students (and their parents) a freebie!
So, if I haven’t convinced you that Memrise is the way to go, just go to Memrise.com or download Memrise from the iTunes App Store or Google Play. You won’t be disappointed! They should be paying me for this glowing review. Haha, I wish.
Coming soon, step by step instructions on using Memrise to complete our studio’s Summer Theory Challenge.
How do you teach music theory skills? Have you tried Memrise? What do you think? Share your tips and tricks here!