Theory Class – Fun to Success


Theory Class - 20 Weeks of Fun to Exam Success!

Theory Class has taken on a whole new meaning since Dianne Potts started her Ultimate Music Theory Class.

Guest Blogger - Dianne Potts ARCT RMT is an award winning professional piano teacher, performer, composer, accompanist, musical director and owner of Sound Education.

Dianne enjoys teaching theory class and creating musical activities for all kinds of learners.  Here's how her Theory Class went from 20 weeks of fun to exam success!

Theory Class - Dianne Potts

What happens when you take a group of students in a theory class with a goal of completing an exam in 20 weeks?  That theory class celebrated completing 2 books in 20 weeks by having a pizza party!

Theory Class - Pizza PartyWell, this year, that "Pizza Party" Theory Class completed Basic Rudiments. Then, they went ahead and started into the first 3 lessons of the Intermediate Rudiments Workbook, while they reviewed point by point UMT's list of suggestions for writing a Basic exam.

They wrote 10 Basic Rudiments practice exams and wrote the RCM Basic Rudiments exam this May.

(Thanks for the UMT practice exam workbooks and marking schemes and exam answer books - super time savers!)

I look forward to theory classes each week. My students leave their books after class for me to mark that evening. I send out a weekly email with their homework assignment that must be printed off and all assignments checked off.  The students know exactly what they will be quizzed on next week.

In the email, I list the range of marks on each lesson review (no names given) and the students, along with their parents, can see where they fit in that range.  In the days to follow, I take up mistakes individually at their private piano lesson where I hand them back their books. No student knows how any other student is doing. There is no competition between them and that’s what I love about this theory class.

Theory class - AllSome other things we love to do at theory class:

  • Watch your UMT videos that your students have recorded explaining a concept.
  • Read your UMT blog of teaching tips together.
  • Compose something that includes a new theory concept.
  • Lately, they have become super sleuths by finding mistakes in other music publications that “don’t follow the rules” that they’ve learned at theory class.

These seven students ages 9 – 13, now love performing in ensembles together and offer suggestions to each other for compositions.  They share clothes, recommend books, talk about movies – this great theory class has become great friends!

The week after the RCM exam, we met to reflect on the exam, share the things they like about their UMT books and our weekly theory classes. We also set some goals for next year.

Theory class - CupcakesWe celebrated our achievements with a cupcake party.  While decorating their cupcakes, we talked about the craziest mistakes we’ve ever lost marks on, they played compositions for each other (which they now can notate on their own) and even broke out into improvising and dancing.

Parents have noticed the joy when they spring out the front door after theory class and how that has changed the way they enjoy and play piano all week long.

They got their RCM results … in the 90’s!  We’re all thrilled! Thanks, Glory & Shelagh!

~ Dianne Potts (and her Ultimate Music Theory Class)

P.S. Feel free to share your Ultimate Theory Class Success Stories below.  We love sharing stories.

Ultimate Music Theory Class - The Way to Score Success!


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