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 I|44 pages


chapter 1|10 pages

Music Theory and Working Memory

ByLeigh VanHandel

chapter 2|9 pages

Putting the Music in “Music Fundamentals”1

ByMelissa Hoag

chapter 3|5 pages

A Cornucopia of Accidentals

ByPaula J. Telesco

chapter 4|5 pages

Contouring as a Powerful Tool for Pitch Awareness

ByJan Miyake

chapter 5|5 pages

Incorporating Melodicas into the Music Theory Classroom

ByChelsey L. Hamm

chapter 6|8 pages

Music Fundamentals Games

ByStefanie Dickinson

part II|40 pages

Rhythm and Meter

chapter 7|10 pages

Introducing Musical Meter through Perception

ByStanley V. Kleppinger

chapter 8|6 pages

Starting from Scratch

Representing Meter Using Simple Programming Tools
ByDaniel B. Stevens

chapter 9|5 pages

“Computer Programmed With Just One Finger”

Transcribing Rap Beats with the Roland TR-808
ByMichael Berry

chapter 10|4 pages

Rebeaming Rhythms

Helping Students “Feel” the Need for Correct Beaming
ByGene S. Trantham

chapter 11|6 pages

Clapping for Credit

A Pedagogical Application of Reich’s Clapping Music
ByJon Kochavi

chapter 12|7 pages

Hindustani Tāl

Non-Western Explorations of Meter
ByAnjni H. Amin

part III|90 pages

Core Curriculum

chapter 13|9 pages

Small-Scale Improvisation in the Music Theory Classroom

ByNancy Rogers

chapter 14|11 pages

The Cognitive and Communicative Constraints of Part-Writing

ByDaniel Shanahan

chapter 15|3 pages

Voice-Leading Detectives

ByMeghan Naxer

chapter 16|8 pages

Harmonic Sequences Simplified

The First Week of Instruction
ByBrent Auerbach

chapter 17|6 pages

Grading the Song

ByMichael Baker

chapter 21|6 pages

Plot Twists

Narrative Pivots and the Enharmonic Augmented-Sixth Chord
ByJena Root

chapter 22|5 pages

Chromatic Mediants through the Context of Film Music

ByErik Heine

chapter 24|5 pages

Introduction to Common-Tone Diminished-Seventh Chords

ByNicole Biamonte

chapter 25|8 pages

“It’s an N, bro”

Teaching Enharmonic Reinterpretations of Fully Diminished Seventh Chords by Ear
ByDavid Heetderks

part IV|48 pages

Aural Skills

chapter 26|10 pages

Defending the Straw Man

Modulation, Solmization, and What to Do with a Brain
ByGary S. Karpinski

chapter 27|13 pages

Speaking Music

ByJustin Mariner, Peter Schubert

chapter 28|4 pages

Finding Your Way Home

Methods for Finding Tonic
ByTimothy Chenette

chapter 29|7 pages

Error Detection in Aural Skills Classes

ByAlexandrea Jonker

chapter 30|6 pages

In Search of Hidden Treasures

An Exercise in Symphonic Hearing
ByDaniel B. Stevens

chapter 31|6 pages

An Aural Skills Introduction to Twelve-Tone Music

Dallapiccola’s “Vespro, Tutto Riporti”
ByDavid Geary

part V|46 pages

Post-Tonal Theory

chapter 32|8 pages

Setting Sets Aside

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

chapter 33|6 pages

Teaching and Learning Early Twentieth-Century Techniques at the Keyboard

ByLynnsey J. Lambrecht

chapter 34|5 pages

Starting the Twentieth Century with a Bang!

A Lesson Plan for Whole-Tone Scales in Tosca
ByChristopher Doll

chapter 35|6 pages

Twentieth-Century Polymodality

Scalar Layering, Chromatic Mismatch, and Symmetry
ByJosé Oliveira Martins

part VI|60 pages


chapter 39|8 pages

Principles of Form

ByÁine Heneghan

chapter 40|5 pages

Recomposing Phrase Structure

ByEric Hogrefe

chapter 41|6 pages

Teaching Musical Structure through Disney Songs

ByAndrew Vagts, Douglas Donley

chapter 42|5 pages

From Theory to Practice

How to Compose a Sentence
ByAndrew Schartmann

chapter 43|6 pages

Incorporating Latin-American Popular Music in the Study of Musical Form

ByGabriel Navia, Gabriel Ferrao Moreira

chapter 44|4 pages

Binary Form through the Music of Underrepresented Composers

ByVictoria Malawey

chapter 45|6 pages

A Form-Functional Approach to Binary Form Analysis

ByAndreas Metz

chapter 47|5 pages

Sonata-Allegro Form

Understanding the Drama
ByThomas Childs

chapter 48|5 pages

Concerto Form

Transforming a Sonata into a Concerto
ByPatrick Johnson

part VII|26 pages

Popular Music

chapter 49|9 pages

Popular Music in the Theory Classroom

ByJohn Covach

chapter 50|5 pages

The Beatles’ “Day Tripper”

A Tortured Stretching of the Twelve-Bar Blues
ByWalter Everett

chapter 51|5 pages

Making Borrowed Chords ‘Pop’

Teaching Modal Mixture through Popular Music
ByJoshua Albrecht

chapter 52|5 pages

Chromatic Mediants in Popular Music

ByVictoria Malawey

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
ByJennifer Snodgrass

chapter 56|8 pages

Music Theory Pedagogy and Public Music Theory

ByJ. Daniel Jenkins

chapter 57|7 pages

Analytical Podcasting

ByWilliam O’Hara

chapter 58|10 pages

Designing for Access in the Classroom and Beyond

ByJennifer Iverson

chapter 59|6 pages

Music Analysis and Accessibility in the Music Theory Classroom

ByShersten Johnson

chapter 60|7 pages

Accommodating Dyslexia in Aural Skills

A Case Study
ByCharlene Romano

chapter 61|4 pages

Writing Exams Cooperatively with Students

ByJan Miyake

chapter 63|10 pages

Strategies for Revising Music Curricula for the Twenty-First Century

A Case Study
ByDeborah Rifkin

chapter 64|7 pages

Putting It Together

Rethinking the Theory Curriculum
ByMatthew Heap

chapter 65|9 pages

Adapting the Aural Skills Curriculum

A Move Away From “The” Right Answer
BySusan M. Piagentini

chapter 66|10 pages

Cultivating Curiosity

Questions, Relevance, and Focus in the Theory Classroom
ByPhilip Duker

chapter 67|6 pages

Using Video Technology in Music Theory Assignments

ByMarcelle Pierson

chapter |3 pages


ByLeigh VanHandel