Theory Bingo - Resource of the Week

Bringing theory to life - that's got to be the challenge for teachers. It's all too easy to compartmentalise theory learning, to treat it as something you do in "that" book for just a few minutes a week. I really believe though that that's a dangerously limiting approach. Here is a brilliant blog post from David Werfelmann explaining, far better than I could, the Top 10 Reasons for Learning Theory (and Aural Skills). 

Suffice to say, if nothing else, learning theory should make you a better player as you can more accurately interpret a composer's intentions. So theory should be something that you are always connecting with, whether you are composing, learning aural, learning pieces... and these Theory Bingo cards are designed to help students do just that! 


I will be issuing the full set to students at once, printed out on some nice brightly coloured card stock (or perhaps crisp white if I think that student would either like to colour in as they go or would prefer a smarter, more sophisticated look). As my students work through their pieces they should come across some (hopefully all!) of the terms and symbols on the Theory Bingo cards, ticking off the terms as they go, hoping to complete cards!

When students encounter a term or symbol they should complete the title of the piece in which it was found and the composer. To further engage students in learning what a term means they are also asked to find out a term that means the opposite. In some cases this will take them outside of the terms given at a certain grade, but that's no bad thing. Admittedly, there are some terms or symbols which I really couldn't think of an opposite for: tempo anyone? So I've taken that field out in those cases.

As you can see from the image of the flyer I've included, I'm planning on treating these bingo cards as an ongoing challenge, completion of which will lead to small prizes - pencils, rubbers, stickers... Now there's a lot to be said for NOT training your students to expect more than intrinsic rewards but that's a discussion for another day!

Once students have worked through this challenge, these cards will serve as a great revision resource: By having a blank set of cards in front of them I can read out the meanings of the musical terms and symbols and the students have to tick off the appropriate Italian term! It's more challenging to try to recall information that way but it will help students to remember it far better.

As always, it's great to hear from YOU, so let me know in the comments, or by email how you get on with these cards; what uses you put them to; what great ideas YOU have for bringing theory to life!

N.B. So far I've only uploaded the beginner up to grade 3 cards - I will be updating this post with the other cards that I make soon, so do come back to check for more. A good way to ensure you are alerted to this would be to subscribe to this specific post by email.