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THEORY TIME DIGITAL: Terms & Conditions

1. All Theory Time digital product sales are final (no refunds/exchanges)

2. Everyday 10% discount on all Theory Time digital products

3. Theory Time digital products are NOT eligible for Piano Pronto Customer Reward Level discounts.

4. Theory Time digital products are NOT downloadable, but always viewable in the Piano Pronto Music Viewer. Single-user license products must be printed within 7 days of purchase. Reproducible products are always printable from the Music Viewer.


Piano Pronto Methodology

Theory Time® has served public and private music educators and students since its inception in 1996. The company is located in Missouri City, Texas and is owned by Heather and Ron Rathnau. Theory Time® designs, creates, and publishes innovative material for general music theory education. The Workbook Series was successfully introduced at the Texas Music Teacher's Convention in June 1996 and was quickly adopted by teachers throughout Texas, Louisiana, and the southern region. The popularity of this series grew in a very short time, and music companies throughout the U.S. now offer Theory Time workbooks to their customers. Teacher Editions were produced to complement the workbooks. Private teachers, private and parochial schools, home school students and magnet schools are particularly attracted to the extensive reference material, drills, Fun and Challenge Sheets, review tests and self-study features included in the workbooks.

Theory Time® also serves music educators in public schools. The Reproducible Curriculum Series and complementary Answer Sheets, Fun & Challenge Sheet packets, and Test Packs were written for classroom use. The themed Summer Camp Reproducible packets (also used as cross-curriculum study material), Games, Flashcards and other Teaching Aids were also designed to enrich the learning process.


Author Heather Hearn Rathnau, NCTM, graduated Magna Cum Laude from Baylor University with a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Pedagogy. She also graduated from Baylor with a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance and Literature. Heather was the recipient of numerous scholarships for piano, academics and vocal performance, in addition to a graduate assistantship in accompanying. At Baylor, Heather was a member of several academic honor societies, and was also selected for the national music honor society, Pi Kappa Lambda, which recognizes the highest levels of musical achievement and academic scholarship in colleges, universities and other institutions of higher learning. The international professional music fraternity, Mu Phi Epsilon, also presented Heather its coveted "Sterling Achievement Award" as the outstanding senior Mu Phi student in the nation. Heather is a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music (NCTM) in Piano and maintains a successful private studio teaching piano and voice. She has directed children's choirs at her church, and also served as an adjudicator and clinician for children's choir workshops and seminars on vocal technique.


Is it necessary to work through every workbook in the Workbook Series?

No, it is not necessary for every student to work through every workbook in the series. There are suggestions for placement and leveling on the Theory Time website within the description of the Elementary workbooks, or the Placement Tests are available to assist a teacher in deciding where to begin a student in the Workbook Series. Beginning concepts are reviewed through the Grade Four workbook.

Working through the entire series builds a very strong foundation. Progress may be accelerated by skipping Reviews found within the workbooks or by doing four to five pages of work each day in a particular grade level. A student may set a goal of working through one workbook in the spring, another in the summer and another in the fall to accelerate progress.

Why should I use Theory Time instead of a method theory book?

Theory Time is strictly a music theory course that complements any music method. It offers 13 levels, one for every potential year of study, K–12. Method theory books, in general, do not offer enough levels to allow one level for every potential year of study. General music theory applies to all instrumentalists and vocalists so a solid understanding of music theory will complement any music study. Since there are 13 levels, each workbook offers age-appropriate concepts with large staffs, in the early levels, to accommodate the fine motor skills of the student. Since the workbooks are well paced, a Theory Time workbook will complement any music method.

An understanding of music theory also benefits someone who simply desires to learn how music 'works'. Theory Time curriculums provide materials for home school students, private students and public or private school classroom music courses. All Ear Training drills from every Theory Time workbook are available online, free of charge, via the Theory Time YouTube channel. Simply click on "Free Ear Training Videos" on the home page, and then click on the grade level followed by the appropriate Ear Training exercise. Heather will appear on the screen and administer the ear training, so drills may be completed at home. Answers may be checked in the corresponding Teacher's Edition.

Why is learning music theory important?

Learning Music theory teaches all the different aspects of music: note-reading, rhythm, notation, intervals, altering notes with chromatic signs, chords, etc., without having to actually learn to play an instrument. Of course, it beautifully complements learning to play an instrument. No one can learn to play any music on any instrument without a basic knowledge of music theory.

Learning music theory applies to any type of music, whether it is singing, playing the piano, playing the guitar, or playing a band or orchestral instrument. At some point in just about everyone's life, one will encounter music and one will be that much ahead with a knowledge of music theory and the musical language that it teaches.

The Theory Time Workbook Series is a favorite because of its comprehensive nature and its sequential format. Repetition is the key to understanding and success!

The Workbook Series offers step-by-step explanations, which, if followed, should make it easy to do the drills. Three Teacher's Editions offer the answers to every page of every workbook as well as answers to the Ear Training drills.

Should students complete one lesson a week? 

It is not necessary for students to complete one lesson a week. The ideal situation is to have the student "on grade level", using the workbook that corresponds with their grade level in school. If a student is on grade level, probably one, two or three pages a week is sufficient so that the workbook lasts 9 to 10 months.

A faster pace is necessary if a student is trying to 'catch up' to their school grade level. If students understand the concepts, after being presented initially, then students may opt to skip the Reviews to accelerate progress. Set a goal to complete one workbook in the fall, one in the spring and another in the summer, as needed to attain grade level status.

How long will it take to complete a workbook?

The length of time it will take depends, of course, on a student's motivation. The most common 'problem' is that students often do more work than assigned because they want to get to the next Fun Sheet! What a problem to have! We suggest perusing the pages and the upcoming concepts. You may want to assign only one or two pages or even just half a page! The secret to success is consistency. Students should do some theory each week to build knowledge, strengthen understanding and to ensure retention.

Where do I start if I'm a late beginner?

Late beginners should consider starting at the Grade Four workbook –or– consider working through the comprehensive workbooks in the Medallion Series (to be released in June of 2012).

Does Theory Time only teach treble and bass clef?

Lessons are taught in treble and bass clef in the Workbook Series, although clefs are left out on most drills, when possible, so that a student may use the clef of their choice.

The MS/HS Reproducible Series for classroom teaches lessons in all four clefs: treble, bass, alto and tenor. Students are asked to "draw the clef they use most often" when doing the drills so the same worksheet may be used for the entire band, choir or orchestra.

Do I need to purchase the Fun Sheet packets to supplement the workbooks?

All workbooks contain Fun Sheets or Challenge Sheets that are different from those found in the Reproducible Series packets. It is not necessary to purchase the Fun Sheet packets, unless you are a teacher and want to use them in a group setting for supplementary material.

What is the purpose of the Placement Tests?

If you are a private teacher interviewing a transfer student, use the Placement Tests to evaluate the transfer students' knowledge of theory at the first interview. This evaluation will assist you in discerning where to start the student in the Theory Time Workbook Series.

The Placement Tests also include Ear Training evaluations. You may present a written evaluation of cognitive and aural skills to the parent at the first interview. Impressive!

The Placement Tests will also help a teacher, that is new to the Theory Time Workbook Series, determine where to place a current student in the Series. It is not necessary for all students to start at a 'Theory Fundamental' Level. The Placement Tests will assist the teacher in making this decision. The Placement Tests are reproducible.


Does Theory Time only teach treble and bass clef?

The MS/HS Reproducible Series for classroom teaches lessons in all four clefs: treble, bass, alto and tenor. Students are asked to "draw the clef they use most often" when doing the drills so the same worksheet may be used for the entire band, choir or orchestra.

I teach beginning band, choir and orchestra in Middle School? Should I purchase the Sixth Grade packet or MS/HS 1A and 1B? 

You should purchase the MS/HS 1A and 1B. The Sixth Grade packet is the FINAL packet in the Elementary Reproducible Series, therefore it is too difficult for beginning band, choir or orchestral students. The MS/HS 1A and 1B packets start at the very beginning with "this is a staff."

Does the Elementary Reproducible Series correlate with the Workbook Series?

The Elementary Reproducible Series for K through Sixth Grade moves slower than the Theory Fundamental Workbooks, Primer through Grade Three – bass clef is not introduced until the Fourth Grade reproducible packet whereas it is introduced in the Primer workbook.

The Fifth Grade and Sixth Grade Elementary reproducible packets contain similar concepts to the Grade Five and Grade Six workbooks. The Elementary Reproducible Series is based on what a public school music curriculum might teach at various grade levels, although the packets are not limited to just those concepts. Concepts and sample pages are listed on the Theory Time website for each reproducible packet as well as each workbook.

Does the Middle School / High School Reproducible Series correlate with the Workbook Series?

The Middle School/High School (MS/HS) Reproducible Series somewhat correlates with the Workbook Series as follows:

  • Theory Time MS/HS 1A & 1B packets teach similar concepts to those taught in Theory Time workbooks, Grades 1 through 3.
  • MS/HS 2A & 2B packets teach concepts taught in Theory Time workbooks, Grades 4 through 6.
  • MS/HS 3A & 3B packets teach concepts taught in workbooks, Grades 7 and 8.
  • HS 4A & 4B packets teach concepts taught in workbooks, Grades 9 and 10.
  • HS 5A & 5B packets teach concepts taught in workbooks, Grades 11 and 12.

If a private teacher desires reproducible worksheets that complement the Workbook Series, consider the MS/HS Reproducible Series. If a classroom music teacher wants more detailed explanation as a reference, consider purchasing a Grade Level workbook from the Workbook Series. As a reminder, the Workbook Series is NOT reproducible.

What about the Fun Sheet and Challenge Sheet packets?

The Fun Sheet and Challenge Sheet packets complement the Reproducible Series. Fun Sheets for K–3 and Fun Sheets for 4–6 complement the corresponding grade level packets in the Elementary Reproducible Series.

The curriculum grade level packets in the Elementary Reproducible Series, Kindergarten through Sixth Grade, each contain a few Fun Sheets that are different from the Fun Sheets in the Fun Sheet reproducible packets.

Fun Sheets for Middle School complement the MS/HS 1A through 3B reproducible packets. Challenge Sheets for High School complement the HS 4A through 5B packets in the MS/HS Reproducible Series. There are no other Fun or Challenge Sheets in the MS/HS curriculum packets.

All workbooks contain Fun Sheets or Challenge Sheets that are different from those found in the Reproducible Series packets.