Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Question of the Week: May 28, 2012 - Making Theory Fun?!

My spring recital is over, the final week of lessons for the term is behind me, and I just have a few make-up lessons to get through this week before my term break! It's a good feeling. :)

I've spent some time over the last day or so looking over term evaluations from my students. I'm always interested to see what has worked for them and what is not working.

The most popular answer to the question of what they enjoyed the least over the term?
 Theory Homework!

All of my students use the Faber & Faber Piano Adventures Lesson, Technique, and Theory books, and while I rarely see any of them complaining about the first two, theory just seems to be something none of my students are crazy about. It's the one assignment that is most frequently incompleted when students show up for their lessons as well.
So I'm asking for your advice and suggestions. Do you have a problem getting your students on board with theory assignments? If so, what have you done to deal with the problem? Do you have any approaches toward theory in your studio that have really helped inspire students and gotten them excited about theory?

Please leave your comments and thoughts below!


  1. Bribes, pure and simple. I give them music money per page, that they can use to buy things from my treasure box. For older students who aren't interested in what is in the box I ask them what they are interested in, and we set a price for it.

    1. Thanks for your thoughts Sara. I already do a LOT of incentives in my studio, but this is an idea.

  2. I've started assigning the wonderful worksheets I've found on sites like yours as extra theory work. My students love the colorful graphics and new ways of presenting the "same old stuff!" In the summer, I give double stickers when they do the "extra" worksheets. I laugh at how excited they get over 2 stickers! They usually don't forget to do these sheets....:D


    1. Whitney,

      Do you use theory books in addition to the worksheets? It's funny, because my students usually never complain about extra worksheets, but the theory books get a lot of flack! I'm still trying to figure out how to work around that problem. :)