How to Make Music Theory Stick

music theory

A majority of musicians are familiar with music theory. Some of us took a class in high school, others may have learned about it in college or private lessons. For a majority of younger students, however, music theory is less familiar, though it is still important. How can you help your students remember what they have learned?

Apps have become more and more popular as a learning tool. Leila Viss personally likes using Quizlet and Heads Up. She discusses how to use these apps and the importance of music theory in her article, “Make Music Theory Stick with Quizlet and Heads Up and Why Theory is Important.”



One of my favorite ways to review music terms and historical facts is with an app called Quizlet. Since my students prepare for the National Federation of Music theory tests, I created flashcards within the app that cover the material for each level.


Quizlet is a great resource for all types of learning. Music theory, in particular, can be learned more easily with visual aids which Quizlet provides. You can show your students different keys, time signatures, tempo markings, dynamics, etc. without having the answer directly underneath.



All group lessons ended with a rousing (and rowdy!) game of Heads Up. Ellen DeGeneres introduced Heads Up for her show years ago. The app comes with a variety of game “decks” unrelated to music but, it also includes a customizable deck that you can edit for use in your music studio. Additional customizable decks are available for purchase within the app.


Heads up is a great game regardless of the topic, but can be a particularly fun way to learn music theory. It provides students with music theory basics while allowing them to have fun and interact with one another. Encouraging gameplay in the studio or classroom is a great way to keep students engaged while still allowing them to learn.


Leila Viss owns a tech-savvy, creative-based piano studio, blogs at and authored The iPad Piano Studio. Viss is an organist, a nationally-recognized clinician, co-founder of 88 Creative Keys with Bradley Sowash and coordinator of the Piano Preparatory Program at the University of Denver. To read her full list on how to use Quizlet and Heads Up, please view the original article at

Cassidy is the Digital Marketing Manager at Making Music and has recently begun her career in the music industry. In May 2017, she graduated from the Crane School of Music with a double degree in Music Business and Music Theory. Upon graduating college, Cassidy did an internship with DANSR, Inc. in Illinois before moving to Southern California where she was the NAMM intern for six months. Her favorite instrument is the clarinet, but she also enjoys dabbling with guitar, piano, ukulele, saxophone, and flute.

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