Hello Winthrop music students, fellow theory teachers, and random people searching the internet. This webtext, Flippin’ Theory!, is an online resource for the music theory and aural skills classes I teach at Winthrop University. I hope you find it helpful and useful.
One of the main difficulties of teaching or taking a music theory class is the textbook. It is often a necessary evil, one that no one feels satisfied with. They are often good resources, but I keep running up against the fact that my students have trouble sifting the important from the unimportant as they read these things. I have had this experience with multiple books at multiple schools. This is not the students’ fault; it is ours as teachers and textbook authors.
So my goal here is to supplement my theory classes with this webtext. I have created short webpages on the basic information my students need so we can get to the deep learning as soon as possible; that’s where all the fun is.
Now, I don’t recommend just sitting down and reading this things straight through, because you will miss a lot. This is a reference, not a book. I have built this for my specific needs using flipped pedagogy. For those of you who are my students, this means we will do activities in class where you discover something new. Then I will send you here to learn the basics you need to move forward. Then we will incorporate and practice these new concepts and skills in class. And you can always refer back to this website as you practice, study, and when you forget. So for everyone, this resource serves both as a starting point and as a reminder.
Notice that I said “supplement” earlier. We still use the textbook. I can’t just throw the book away, although I want to sometimes. But a music theory core sequence is multiple linked classes taught by multiple different professors over multiple years. This requires coordination to make sure every student gets a similar good grounding in theory over their four semesters.
One nice thing about housing this thing on the internet is that I can change it at any time. I can add new pages. I can update information, make corrections, and reword sections that are confusing. So if something in this webtext doesn’t make sense to you, or if you spot a problem or a mistake, let me know. This will help me improve the quality of Flippin’ Theory!.
I want to thank Matthew Harnage for giving me a student’s viewpoint. I found it very helpful to run these pages by someone who just fininshed taking freshman theory, and can better remember what it is like to not know this stuff. As I wrote the sections on Fundamentals and Harmony, he read what I came up with and gave me comments. I am grateful for his help finding places that were confusing and reminding me to include ideas that I forgot or discounted.
8/22/14 Rock Hill, SC