Today’s music theory instructors face a changing environment, one where the traditional lecture format is in decline. The Routledge Companion to Music Theory Pedagogy addresses this change head-on, featuring battle-tested lesson plans alongside theoretical discussions of music theory curriculum and course design. With the modern student in mind, scholars are developing creative new approaches to teaching music theory, encouraging active student participation within contemporary contexts such as flipped classrooms, music industry programs, and popular music studies.

This volume takes a unique approach to provide resources for both the conceptual and pragmatic sides of music theory pedagogy. Each section includes thematic "anchor" chapters that address key issues, accompanied by short "topics" chapters offering applied examples that instructors can readily adopt in their own teaching. In eight parts, leading pedagogues from across North America explore how to most effectively teach the core elements of the music theory curriculum:

  • Fundamentals
  • Rhythm and Meter
  • Core Curriculum
  • Aural Skills
  • Post-Tonal Theory
  • Form
  • Popular Music
  • Who, What, and How We Teach

A broad musical repertoire demonstrates formal principles that transcend the Western canon, catering to a diverse student body with diverse musical goals. Reflecting growing interest in the field, and with an emphasis on easy implementation, The Routledge Companion to Music Theory Pedagogy presents strategies and challenges to illustrate and inspire, in a comprehensive resource for all teachers of music theory.

part II|40 pages

Rhythm and Meter

chapter 8|6 pages

Starting from Scratch

Representing Meter Using Simple Programming Tools

chapter 9|5 pages

“Computer Programmed With Just One Finger”

Transcribing Rap Beats with the Roland TR-808

chapter 10|4 pages

Rebeaming Rhythms

Helping Students “Feel” the Need for Correct Beaming

chapter 11|6 pages

Clapping for Credit

A Pedagogical Application of Reich’s Clapping Music

chapter 12|7 pages

Hindustani Tāl

Non-Western Explorations of Meter

part III|90 pages

Core Curriculum

chapter 15|3 pages

Voice-Leading Detectives

chapter 16|8 pages

Harmonic Sequences Simplified

The First Week of Instruction

chapter 17|6 pages

Grading the Song

chapter 21|6 pages

Plot Twists

Narrative Pivots and the Enharmonic Augmented-Sixth Chord

chapter 25|8 pages

“It’s an N, bro”

Teaching Enharmonic Reinterpretations of Fully Diminished Seventh Chords by Ear

part IV|48 pages

Aural Skills

chapter 26|10 pages

Defending the Straw Man

Modulation, Solmization, and What to Do with a Brain

chapter 27|13 pages

Speaking Music

chapter 28|4 pages

Finding Your Way Home

Methods for Finding Tonic

chapter 30|6 pages

In Search of Hidden Treasures

An Exercise in Symphonic Hearing

chapter 31|6 pages

An Aural Skills Introduction to Twelve-Tone Music

Dallapiccola’s “Vespro, Tutto Riporti”

part V|46 pages

Post-Tonal Theory

chapter 32|8 pages

Setting Sets Aside

Prioritizing Motive, Text, and Diversity in Post-Tonal Analysis Courses

chapter 34|5 pages

Starting the Twentieth Century with a Bang!

A Lesson Plan for Whole-Tone Scales in Tosca

chapter 35|6 pages

Twentieth-Century Polymodality

Scalar Layering, Chromatic Mismatch, and Symmetry

part VI|60 pages


chapter 39|8 pages

Principles of Form

chapter 40|5 pages

Recomposing Phrase Structure

chapter 42|5 pages

From Theory to Practice

How to Compose a Sentence

chapter 47|5 pages

Sonata-Allegro Form

Understanding the Drama

chapter 48|5 pages

Concerto Form

Transforming a Sonata into a Concerto

part VII|26 pages

Popular Music

chapter 50|5 pages

The Beatles’ “Day Tripper”

A Tortured Stretching of the Twelve-Bar Blues

chapter 51|5 pages

Making Borrowed Chords ‘Pop’

Teaching Modal Mixture through Popular Music

part VIII|126 pages

Who, What, and How We Teach

chapter 54|10 pages

More Than Just Four Chords

Teaching Music Theory/Aural Skills to Music Industry Majors

chapter 57|7 pages

Analytical Podcasting

chapter 60|7 pages

Accommodating Dyslexia in Aural Skills

A Case Study

chapter 64|7 pages

Putting It Together

Rethinking the Theory Curriculum

chapter 65|9 pages

Adapting the Aural Skills Curriculum

A Move Away From “The” Right Answer

chapter 66|10 pages

Cultivating Curiosity

Questions, Relevance, and Focus in the Theory Classroom

chapter |3 pages