Music Theory for Student Composers: A Course Designed for Engagement by Using Both a Flipped Classroom and Praxial Philosophy

Michelle Nagy

Document Type Article


In a world filled with innovation, technology and hands-on learning, the subject of music theory in the high school classroom has stayed relatively the same for the past fifty years for the student composer. By using the same tried-and-true methods, teachers are introducing concepts through lectures, while students reinforce concepts on their own during their homework assignments. Music examples are given on a regular basis and they are usually played on the piano by the professor or through recording. These methods, while effective, are not meeting the needs of today’s tech savvy and hands-on generation. While students are engaging with new material and interfaces in other subject areas, the content delivery for music theory for the student composer is in need of an update. Based off of recent literature in the field of the flipped classroom and the Praxial philosophy makes the case on behalf of the hands-on learner for the need of classroom innovation. This generation is not only excited about music, but it also desire to create its own content by using a variety of platforms. The development of easily accessible technology has given student composers a plethora of means to learn how to compose and distribute their content. However, student composers are in need of curriculum that can use those existing platforms and actively engage them in their compositional skills. While the common view of music theory is that it is a dry, dull, yet needed subject, a Praxial music theory course will be engaging and exciting for the aspiring student composer.