Pedagogy

In Defense of Music Theory

A few weeks ago, one of my graduate students emailed me a link to an article published on Slate.com. “How Can Traditional Music Theory Mesh With Modern Pop Music?” purports that music theory, as it’s taught in university music programs across North America, “serves practicing musicians pretty poorly.” The author, NYU graduate student Ethan Hein, proposes that music theory pedagogy should recast its mission and objectives to better suit the needs of today’s musicians, who are more interested in popular music than repertoire drawn from the common practice.