You can download the free music theory note naming "explainer" and worksheet shown above from this page
Above you can see some of our resources themed around developing an understanding of whole-step and half-step intervals. The "explainer" can be downloaded free from this page. Our "one click download" now features answer papers for the portion of our resources dealing with the five "basics" of music theory featured in this section
When students are secure in their knowledge of how to name notes and are familiar with whole and half-step intervals they are ready to use the capabilities developed to this point to construct, first the C Major Scale and from there (using the same sequence of intervals) all other Major Scales
The Major Scale "Explainer" in the illustration can be downloaded free from this page
The free to download (from this page) "explainer" above deals with constructing chords from scales while the worksheets and answer sheets support class work (or distance learning materials) using the principles under study
When students are able to construct three note Major and minor triads they are ready to look at how they can be combined within keys
This site is designed to help teachers to get ALL of their music students to develop a "joined up" working knowledge of music theory. The handouts and worksheets below are drawn from various stages of the programme. They can all be used (and are very useful) as a "stand alone" music theory resource but are much more effective when used in the correct sequence as set out in out lesson plans (which you can download from further down this page)
If our students cannot confidently supply the correct name for a note or the correct choice of names that are assigned to accidentals then they will struggle with every other aspect of music theory
The explainer below sets out to make sense of the situation in which some notes on the keyboard (the white ones) can have only one name while others (the notes found under the black keys) can be assigned one of two names
Above you can see the Music Theory "Explainer" and below two of the five note naming worksheets in the download. If you study the worksheet you will see that students are required to identify the name of the note to be found under the white keys and to supply the two possible letter names (with appropriate sharps and flats) for the notes located under the black keys. The "explainer" encourages students to commit to memory the fact that they will always be able to find a note of C immediately to the left of any grouping of two black keys. From there it is possible to work out the location of any other note
Above you can see the note naming "Explainer" alongside some of the 300+ worksheets in our ($18.00 "one click download") package designed to help students become aware of, and then familiar with the principles that govern the correct naming of notes
If our students do not get this stage absolutely right then they will struggle with every other area of music theory
The free explainer (and the resources if you decide to buy them?) can be distributed to your students during lessons or can be sent to them by email as well as being uploaded to a school or college IT system so that they can access it for home study. It can also be laminated and pinned up on a music classroom wall for "quick reference" during lessons
As a prelude to understanding scales our students need to become aware of the two types of musical intervals (whole and half-step intervals) that combine in sequence to create the scales that underpin just about all of the music that we hear today
Music Theory Teachers can help to make sure that students retain and reinforce their knowledge of this material by combining them with worksheets. When students are familiar with the concept of applying the correct name to a note and with the principles that underpin movement through whole-step and half-step intervals then they are ready to use that knowledge to investigate the construction of scales
The music theory explainer document above is a great reference for your learners. It explains clearly and concisely how the two basic intervals of a whole-step and a half-step combine to construct Major scales. You can print and give them to your students during classroom sessions. You can also send them via email or upload them to school or college learning portals or IT systems for distance learning.
When (and only when) a learner can assign the correct name (or potential choice of names) to any given note and are familiar with whole-step and half-step intervals are they ready to move on to study scales
If you look at the graphic above you will see that the two worksheets on the left require that students only provide the letter names for each note of the scale while the worksheet on the right can be used with more advanced students or students who have a "traditional" and formal musical training within a group who are familiar with notation etc. The use of two worksheets covering the same material at different levels is a great way to demonstrate to those who judge us on concepts such as "differentiated learning" etc where we need to engage a group of students who have wildly different experiences and "prior learning" history before coming into our classrooms (which when you think about it is every student group that we teach)
The picture below shows a couple of the Major Scale construction Worksheets from our download. Notice how the sequence of whole and half-step intervals is specified by the letters "W" and "H" in the shapes that link the circles where students supply the letter names. This device gives students a visual cue every step of the way and in the early stages of study, helps break down the sequence of intervals that make up the scale into a set of simple, manageable steps
Having firmly established the logic underpinning the construction of Major scales it is now a good time to turn our attention to minor scales. To see that they too are constructed from a series of whole and half-step intervals (just in a different order) and to take a closer look at the differences (and similarities) between the two scales
The study of this material is the perfect preparation for the next topic where we turn our attention to the study of Major and minor chords
Below is a Free Printable Music Theory Worksheet which invites students to examine the notes that make up major and minor triads and to go on to identify the chords in question. This music theoryworksheet (like all of our resources) can be used in the traditional way during classroom sessions or can be compiled with others to make up "revision booklets" etc. You can also use these materials in order to "stretch" more capable students of music theory while you spend some time helping less able members of the classroom group to get to grips with concepts that they find difficult?
When a student understands major and minor triads then they are ready to move on to investigate how Major, minor and diminished chords combine to create Keys
The tracking system above is designed to provide simple and reliable data to music teachers (and their students) with regard to the learners functional understanding of the harmonic and melodic elements of music theory. The other materials on this site offer classroom music teachers a structured series of music worksheets designed to take students from a point where they have little or no functional understanding of how harmony and melody works to a place where they understand scales, chords, key signatures and harmonic systems
Below you can see an image of the tracker and hopefully you should be able to see just how simple (and foolproof!) it is to use. Each of the skills and capabilities required or desired from our students is listed and the completed worksheets give us evidence of progress to date. The tracker also comes with a "diagnostic" document that I get my students ti complete during a very first music theory session which allows me (and them and the administrators who always seem to require "evidence" of stuff before they leave us alone to get on with our jobs) to see how far there is to go from the outset of a course
It can be important to stress to students that the test is not an examination and is only there to help you (the teacher) to work out what needs to be done during the course of upcoming sessions. Take the pressure off by predicting that most people in the room will struggle to get any of the questions right but that by the end of the process everybody (just so long as they pay attention!) will "breeze it"
Follow the link below to get a whole load of lesson plans designed to take a student from the point that they have no functional understanding of music theory at all to a place where they completely "get" Notes, Scales, Chords and Keys
The reality is that most people who visit my site are not music teachers who will buy my stuff but are folks who have been pointed here by search engines because they have a query that an algorithm somewhere thought that I'd be able to help with. If you fall into that category please feel free to download the freebies and I genuinely hope it helps you. I use the internet as a huge source of free information too (such as for the correct way to spell algorithm just now which I was convinced had an "h" in it till google told me better?)
That leaves music teachers (like me) who are looking for stuff (preferably free) to make their lives easier and their teaching better. Again, use the explainers and all of the other stuff you can download gratis from this site to help you to do the things you do. If it helps you to spend less time on lesson preparation so that you can devote more of your life to filling forms in for those wonderful administrators who run our schools and colleges then its mission accomplished
I do not own or sell knowledge. I try to sell the tools to help teachers to transfer knowledge from their own brains into those of their students. It is that simple. Music got along just fine before I started messing with it and it will get along just fine when I stop. I do not "own" knowledge of music theory. What I do own though is the rights to a bunch of worksheets that I originally started to put together to make my own teaching life easier. I was tired of photocopying things from books and nailing a scheme of work together from a whole load of different sources, the owners of which would prefer to sell me and my students graded books that "drip-feed" stuff like major scales a few at a time as the grades progress. The resources on this site have all students understanding how all major scales (up to 5 sharps and flats) are constructed from the third lesson
When I realised (during my classroom sessions) thet the materials really worked for me I decided to try to sell other folks in my position the option to use hundreds of worksheets in a logical "common sense" sequence for less than the price of one of the graded books I used to rely on when I started classroom teaching. Its that simple really. I don't like all of the "this product will change your life" malarkey that we see attached to everything from telephones to toilet rolls but after purchase loads of folks are good enough to get in touch and tell me how much easier parts of their life are because they no longer have to scurry around cobbling things together before walking into a classroom pretending that they have it all under control (we've all been there!)
I (genuinely!) have customers tell me that the stuff is way too cheap (although they predictably tell me this after they have paid for and downloaded it). I've also had a few wiser (and richer) people than me tell me that I'm "doing the internet wrong" and that stuff like this should be presented as part of a subscription service. That I could make loads more money if I wasn't such a "Digital Hillbilly"
I (briefly) looked into it and it made me nervous. I don't like signing up to stuff and I hate getting "follow up" emails from anybody I might have given money to in the past who now imagines that because of this I'm a good bet to give them some more. I'm not. I'm Mr "unsubscribe from this mailing list" as I dont have enough money for the things I genuinely want without having somebody creeping into my inbox to try to prise cash out of me so they can buy another yacht.
If you buy my stuff you will get a single follow up email (normally within a few hours) asking if the materials downloaded ok. If you respond to that saying there was a problem then I sort it out and you get a new link. After that you can use the worksheets for the rest of your life and I promise I will never bother you again. There is no club to join and no subscriptions to be paid.