[Smt-talk] remedial theory question

Ann K. Blombach ann at macgamut.com
Fri Oct 15 10:21:53 PDT 2010

Hi Tim,


There was a lot of discussion about this topic at the recent ATMI/CMS conference in Minneapolis, and the concerns were coming from faculty members teaching in all kinds of academic situations—from the smallest to the largest schools, from tiny music departments to large music conservatories.  You are definitely not alone.


 If you haven’t seen it yet, you might check out the info about Elizabeth Sayrs’ new Music Fundamentals e-Textbook for both Windows and Macintosh computers (http://www.macgamut.com/mfun.html).  You can try out a beta version of this software at the MacGAMUT booth (look for the balloons!) at the upcoming AMS/SMT conference in Indianapolis.  Elizabeth will be there to answer any questions you might have, but the short version is that her software was originally designed to meet the very need you’re describing.  Keeping in mind the concerns of the budget-conscious student, we expect the cost to be around $40 per copy.  A demo disk isn’t available yet, but there’s a link to request one on our website so that we can send the demo to you as soon as it’s ready.


All the best,



Ann K. Blombach
 <mailto:ann at macgamut.com> ann at macgamut.com
MacGAMUT Music Software, Inc.

Visit us on the web at  <http://www.macgamut.com/> www.macgamut.com
Toll-free Phone (US and Canada):  1-800-305-8731
Toll-free Fax (US and Canada):  1-877-370-1074




On Oct 10, 2010, at 2:22 PM, Timothy Cutler wrote:

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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