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Use of theory books
#2271400 05/05/14 10:40 AM
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I always put my beginner students in Primer & Level 1 Theory books, for several reasons. I'm thinking of continuing the use of them at least through the next 3 levels and wondered if other teachers use them or find no real need to add theory books to the students' books. I generally have each student in a lesson book and either a performance book or some additional book of music that interests them.


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Re: Use of theory books
chasingrainbows #2271421 05/05/14 11:32 AM
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My daughter started with Alfred theory books and then moved to ABRSM. She really enjoys theory. It reminds her of math. I think she would miss it if it weren't part of her homework.

Re: Use of theory books
chasingrainbows #2271431 05/05/14 12:03 PM
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Chasing Rainbows:
Which series that you are using?
I found that Piano Adventure's theory books are not enough information, so I am using the series that is parallel to CM test syllabus.


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Re: Use of theory books
chasingrainbows #2271458 05/05/14 01:24 PM
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What's the age range?

In my experience, children under 8 are completely put off by theory books, either by their lack of vocabulary development or lack of mental capacity due to age. The theory books that come with the method books are okay at best, and they move very slowly. There's not enough reinforcement, and if you couple that problem with parents who don't make sure their kids do their theory homework, you'll end up with many pages left undone.

I've used this series of books to some degree of success:

http://www.kjos.com/sub_section.php?division=5&series=215

Their books do not align with CM at all, but I don't make my first graders take CM, anyway.


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Re: Use of theory books
bzpiano #2271525 05/05/14 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by ezpiano.org
Chasing Rainbows:
Which series that you are using?
I found that Piano Adventure's theory books are not enough information, so I am using the series that is parallel to CM test syllabus.


ezpiano, I use Piano Adventures. What series do you use that is "parallel to CM test syllabus"? Thanks.


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Re: Use of theory books
MaggieGirl #2271526 05/05/14 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by MaggieGirl
My daughter started with Alfred theory books and then moved to ABRSM. She really enjoys theory. It reminds her of math. I think she would miss it if it weren't part of her homework.


Thanks,MaggieGirl. My students enjoy doing theory - I think they also like a break from playing their pieces. smile


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Re: Use of theory books
chasingrainbows #2271527 05/05/14 03:54 PM
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AZN, I found that one series of theory books differ in content from another series. Thanks for the link, I'll check it out!


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Re: Use of theory books
chasingrainbows #2271539 05/05/14 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by chasingrainbows
AZN, I found that one series of theory books differ in content from another series. Thanks for the link, I'll check it out!

Yes, those books are quite different. Obviously, a lot of work went into the making of those books, and it's not one brainless repetitive exercise after another like most other theory books. I recommend getting the answer key as well, because it took up way too much of lesson time for me to come up with the answers.


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Re: Use of theory books
chasingrainbows #2271555 05/05/14 04:39 PM
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I am using both Julie McIntosh Johnson and Peggy O'Dell theory books. Both doesn't have any pictures, I would say, looks pretty serious for young kids if they are all depending on colorful pictures. Peggy's is pretty much practices and leave the explanation to teachers to cover.


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Re: Use of theory books
chasingrainbows #2271581 05/05/14 05:48 PM
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I was looking at TCW's books, they looks very interesting for young kid to do their theory homework. Price tag at $19.95, I imagine it is more than 50 pages each book?


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Re: Use of theory books
bzpiano #2271607 05/05/14 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by ezpiano.org
I was looking at TCW's books, they looks very interesting for young kid to do their theory homework. Price tag at $19.95, I imagine it is more than 50 pages each book?

Closer to 150 pages.

But, if the kids hate theory (or hate thinking, period), then no matter how interesting the material is, they won't learn. It's the same with any academic subject. Some kids just don't thrive at learning, period.

You can buy these books in bulk at the MTAC Convention for a significant discount.


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Re: Use of theory books
chasingrainbows #2271614 05/05/14 07:42 PM
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I do CM and like to use the 'Just the Facts' series for Prep and Lev 1 kids. Each lesson is short and concise; there are no lengthly descriptions or directions. After that, I like the Keith Snell 'Fundamentals of Music Theory' series. Very detailed and wordy but my later elementary kids can usually do the lessons on their own. Even parents who help at home can understand it.

I am thinking, though, that for this coming year I will try the O'dell series just to see how it is. Many teachers in my branch use it.


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Re: Use of theory books
dumdumdiddle #2271865 05/06/14 11:40 AM
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I, too, use Fundamentals of Music Theory. Students are upper elementary through HS seniors.


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Re: Use of theory books
chasingrainbows #2272353 05/07/14 11:14 AM
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Not sure if this is an option for older kids, but my daughter takes courses all summer on Coursera (they are free) and she is signed up for https://www.coursera.org/course/musictheory

while not a book, she finds the courses she has taken to be engaging (intro to physics, poetry, art).

Re: Use of theory books
chasingrainbows #2276317 05/15/14 01:25 AM
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I use the method series (whichever I'm using with the student, my favorites are piano town and Alfred) through prep level or level one. Then I switch to one in sync with CM. I use the ones already listed (Johnson or Snell/Ashleigh)


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