Donna R. Hood

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Music



First Advisor

Dr. Robert Ricci

Second Advisor

Dr. Joan Boucher

Third Advisor

Dr. Donald Para

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


"The Teaching of Music Theory in the Piano Lesson: A Survey of Methods" is a functional study for piano teachers designed to demonstrate that most instruction books do not contain enough music theory. Methods included were selected on popularity and availability to piano teachers of beginning students.

Each of the sixty-six methods reviewed are listed with a general description, the intended age level, and the purpose of the course. A list of the theoretical strengths and weaknesses follows . The theoretical areas considered for the survey include rhythm/meter, melody/intervals, harmony, tonality/scales/keys, analysis, ear training, composition, and improvisation.

No single method ideally presents all of these aspects of music theory. The areas of composition, improvisation, ear training, and rhythm are shown to be predominant theoretical weaknesses. Sample exercises are offered as suggestions for inclusion of these skill areas into the piano lesson. Combinations of methods are also recommended.