Teaching Choir During COVID-19: Part 3

Awwww yeah, it’s music theory time, my friends!  Now, remember, before you freak out: it’s not rocket science!

And today’s post is about one of my favorite tools for teaching music theory, and that is the website: www.musictheory.net

The folks at musictheory.net do have a couple of paid apps, if you are interested in those (more info on their website).  However, my experience is you can get plenty done with the website by itself–and, it’s free to use!


My discussion is going to focus on the Lessons and the Exercises on the website.  There’s also an area with quite a few helpful Tools, and also an “Exercise Customizer” for teachers that lets you create assignments as well.


The lessons are basically powerpoint presentations.  There’s a few moving parts as you go from slide to slide; each presentation explains the concepts by showing what things look like on a staff as well as on a piano.  You can easily go back and forth from slide to slide.  I find the lessons very straight-forward; it clearly explains the concepts, in a way that a complete beginner (which some of my students are) can understand.


With my classes I have gone through the lesson presentations via Zoom.  I share my screen with them, and then I go through the lesson step-by-step, explaining the concepts.  I then gave them an assignment: with each exercise, they had to do 20 exercises with a 90% success rate.  I did the lessons on note identification and key signatures, both of which were mostly review, and then we dove into intervals.  If I had more time, I’d start in on the different types of scales and chords, but we probably won’t get to those by the end of the year.


My school uses Canvas, so I just had my students take a screenshot of their completed assignment, which they then submitted to receive credit.  But musictheory.net has a system where you can create assignments. 


Here’s a quick tutorial:

1-At the bottom of the “Exercises” page there is a tab that says “Exercise Customizer”.  Once you click on that, you come to a page where you can select the exercise you want (I’ll use Key Signature Identification as the example).


2-Once you select the exercise, there are several different parameters to assign.  For assignments, it’s helpful to use “Challenge Mode”.  With this turned on, you can limit the number of questions, you can assign a time limit, and you can decide if the student gets multiple chances at a question.  For this example, “multiple chances” is turned off, I assigned a limit of 3 minutes, and there is a limit of 20 questions.  You can change any of these parameters, depending on how many exercises you want them to do, what you want the minimum percentage correct to be, etc.



3-Once that is all set, you can go to the very bottom of the page where there is a weblink listed–this changes as you change the different aspects of the assignment.  When you have everything set, you copy the weblink, and that is what you send to your students.  They receive the link, and they are taken directly to the assignment.



4-Once the student finishes the assignment, they are given their percentage correct and the time it took to complete the assignment. 



They then have the option to “View Report”–clicking on this button takes you to a “report” with the different statistics relating to the assignment.



5-At the top of this page there is a field where the student can “sign” the report.  They type in their name and submit, which then gives them a link to copy.  That link is what the student then sends to you, the teacher, allowing you to see their score on the assignment.  



Again, if you have an LMS that students can use to submit assignments, it might just be easiest for the student to take a screenshot of their score report and then submit the photo for the assignment.  But for those teachers that don’t have that type of system at their disposal, this is a way that allows you to use the system for assignments, even if it is a bit complicated.  Still very much worth it! 


Even if you don’t use musictheory.net for the assignments–the lessons are still a great way to cover music theory topics with your students online.  And if you are a teacher that is having to do “voluntary” learning activities with choice boards, etc.,  this would be a great opportunity to include some music theory activities for your students!


If you have any questions about musictheory.net, or if you have other ways that you are covering music theory topics online with your singers, send me an email at: 

Matt@ChoirDirectorCorner.com. I’d love to hear from you!  

Hope you enjoyed the post, see you tomorrow for Part 4!  


And for more great content and a fantastic online community of choir directors, head over to our FREE Facebook Group, The Choir Director Corner Community!  You can find it at:  www.ChoirDirectorCornerCommunity.com.

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