Complete Theory Homework – 3 Tips

How to complete homework - Be accountable.

Complete Theory Homework - 3 Tips to Inspire Students

Teaching our Students How to Complete Theory Homework on time is a subject that most Teachers will have discussed at some point in their teaching career. (And if you have never struggled to get a student to complete theory homework, then you probably haven't been teaching long enough!)

I decided to ask my students the Million Dollar Question - How do they complete their Theory Homework?

Yes - with a pencil. Ha-ha.

In looking at this age-old Pedagogical problem, I would like to introduce you to 3 of my students and share 3 tips that I have learned over these many years on how to inspire students to complete theory homework on time!

Meet Annella!

Complete Theory Homework - AnnellaAnnella, who is 9 years old, is in Prep 1 Rudiments and the Preparatory A Level in Piano. She stated that she does her theory as soon as she gets home from her music lesson so that she doesn't have to worry about it for the rest of the week.

Looking through Annella's Dictation Book, I realized that she has never had to be reassigned theory pages - she has always completed her theory every single week.

Why? Because it is the first thing that she does when she gets home from her music lesson.

Annella's parents have made practicing and theory completion a part of her (and her brothers Grant and Nolan) routine. They have their lesson during the day on Mondays at their school, and when they come home on Monday after school, they all do their theory homework!

Complete Theory Homework Tip #1 - Accountability

Chat with your students and explain that as they grow up, they will have to become accountable for completing tasks - especially when they get a job. So, learning about Accountability - an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one's actions - is important.

Who supports your student in being accountable to complete theory homework? A Parent? A Grandparent? Or are they accountable themselves?

Meet Cailin!

complete theory homework - CailinCailin is 11 years old and is working through Prep 2 Rudiments and Level 1 Piano. Cailin likes to do theory on the weekend when her mom is home to help her. She keeps her books very neat and organized.

She likes to put her Theory Workbook right back into her UMT Tote Bag when she finishes doing her theory. Cailin also keeps pencils and erasers in her Tote Bag so that when she is ready to do her Theory, she has everything she needs!

PS - Cailin's mom April was also a student of mine - she started lessons as a young girl, and now I am teaching her daughter. Yes, I am that old.

Complete Theory Homework Tip #2 - Accessibility

Does your student have a special tote bag for all their music books? Do they have a pencil, eraser and their UMT Ruler available to them with their Rudiments Workbook? If not, encourage their parents to buy them the UMT Tote Bag.

The UMT Tote Bag fits all their Music Books (piano, theory, voice, etc.) into the center pouch. The front zippered pouch is a perfect spot for their pencils, eraser, flashcards and their UMT Ruler.

If your student's theory supplies are not easily accessible, there is a good chance that they won't go searching the house to find a pencil and that they will probably not complete their homework.

Meet Madeline!

Complete Theory Homework - MadelineMadeline is 14 years old and in Basic Rudiments and Level 3 Piano. She is a member of the 100% Club after having received 100% on her Preparatory Rudiments last year.

For Madeline, she completes her theory homework when she does her school homework. That way, all her work is done at one time.

Even though I write the page number in Madeline's Dictation Book, Madeline says that she usually just grabs her book out of her bag, finds the pages with this weeks date, or where I placed her UMT Ruler, or the first page that is not "clipped", and she completes those pages.

As I have made several options available to her, Madeline is quickly able to figure out what she is supposed to complete and she finishes it.

Complete Theory Homework Tip #3 - Availability

Whether you use a Dictation Book, a printed At Home Practice Sheet or an emailed lesson plan, all students need to know exactly what they are supposed to complete at home....and it has to be easily available to them whenever they want to do it.

Here are some tips on making this week's assignment readily available for your students:

  • Write the lesson date at the top of the assigned page.
  • Put a sticker at the top of each completed page. If there is a sticker on the page, they know immediately that the page is correct.
  • When both sides of the page are completed (and corrected), clip the bottom corner of the page.
  • Use the UMT Ruler to bookmark the page. (This ruler clips perfectly into all Ultimate Music Theory Workbooks.)

Complete Theory Homework Bonus Tip - Bribery

Yes, when all else fails, I like to bribe, I mean encourage, my students to complete their theory. I will often run Theory Challenges - for every page that I clip in their workbook, the student gets to put a sticker on their chart.

Hey, sometimes you have to do whatever you have to do to teach a child how to complete theory homework on time!

Ultimate Music Theory App - UMT

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Keep on Learning... With a Smile and a Song!

Shelagh McKibbon-U'Ren

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