We had a conversation about uTheory with Nicole Avesani, an experienced choral director, voice teacher and owner of Avesani Voice Studio. Nicole teaches 40 students per week, ranging from 6-18+ years old. Read on to see why Nicole uses uTheory in her studio.
Teaching music theory is difficult.
Planning efficient music theory instruction and hands-on, engaging practice for students is a challenge. Finding the right resources takes time, as does grading student work and giving meaningful feedback. Sending students off to practice independently with a written assignment, when they don’t know if they’re answering correctly and can’t hear what's on the page, may not be the best use of time either. Nicole noted that theory workbooks just weren’t motiving enough for her middle and high school students, and written work wasn’t connecting the dots when the concepts were rooted in sound. “It’s hard for singers to conceptualize theory because we use our ears more than our eyes sometimes. So a lot of singers don’t know theory, and they just rely on listening and repeating.”
Why did Nicole chose uTheory?
uTheory is a mastery-based online learning platform for music theory. Lessons in uTheory are based on decades of experience teaching as well as up-to-date knowledge of music theory pedagogy. Students hear music for every question they answer, helping them quickly connect theoretical concepts to sound. Students learn best when they're engaged, and uTheory has hundreds of interactive exercises and immediate feedback to give them that experience. “I liked the videos, I loved the practice and the price. Honestly, I thought it was really a great value – affordable for me to integrate into my studio,” says Nicole.
“This, somebody can do it right away from their first day. They see the examples, they watch the video and they can practice in real-time. I think that’s really a useful tool.”
uTheory allows teachers to integrate powerful technology, increasing student success and saving valuable time. According to Nicole, “It’s easy. I don’t have to create a lesson. I don’t have to pull resources. And that makes my life so much easier, especially because I have 40 students – I have to tailor to each student, and this is definitely easy for me to use as a teacher.”
With uTheory, students receive adaptive practice tailored to their needs based on their performance and immediate feedback. Teachers are presented with detailed data about their student’s progress, without grading a single assessment or spending any time searching for practice resources.
The results: increased student engagement and understanding.
uTheory provides lessons, practice and feedback that lead students to understanding. Nicole talked about the success she saw with her students after using uTheory, based on how they’ve applied what they learn to their repertoire in lessons. She also noticed that her students were motivated by the practice exercises in uTheory. “It’s very challenging, but it’s also not a drag – it’s fun. It really does encourage them. They’re challenged, and they’re excited when they get it and a little frustrated when they don’t, but that’s good because it drives them...and it just clicks.”
And a final plea from Nicole: “Teaching theory is so essential. We’re not doing justice to our students if we’re not giving them a music education. It has to go beyond just playing the piano or singing songs. We can take 10 minutes or 15 minutes and give them a much richer education.”