[Smt-talk] remedial theory question

Timothy Cutler tsc10 at case.edu
Sun Oct 10 11:22:41 PDT 2010

As the years go by, here at the Cleveland Institute of Music we find
ourselves placing more and more incoming freshman into remedial theory
classes. Our expectations for Theory 101 are not outrageous—a decent
knowledge of major and minor scales, key signatures, intervals, and minimal
(and I stress *minimal*) aural and keyboard skills are all we expect. Yet, a
growing number of freshmen enter their first year with no clue of these
basic concepts and skills. Is this a growing trend nationally? Are other
schools experiencing the same issues? We are seeking suggestions for ways to
help more freshmen place into Theory 101 rather than remedial courses. We
have made a pedagogical video accessible to all incoming freshmen as soon as
they are accepted at CIM, but so far it has had little impact. We are also
considering online tutorials, theory workshops during orientation week, and
attaching scholarship bonuses/penalties to theory placement. What other
ideas should we consider? Thanks very much!

Dr. Tim Cutler

Professor of Music Theory

Cleveland Institute of Music
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