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Theory Time Music Education Books

By Albert McQueen

Theory Time books are all about teaching music theory in an accessible, easy-to-understand way, regardless of a student’s age, instrument, skill level, or music education background.

Theory Time’s K-12 workbook series is organized according to the student’s grade level. The Primer is the first in the series, and is the “beginning fundamental level,” teaching concepts like up and down pitch on a keyboard; high, middle and low notes; and lines and spaces. The series progresses through fundamentals, early intermediate, intermediate, advanced and college prep levels. While the series is sequential, it is not necessary for every student to start at the beginning; the basic concepts are reviewed through the Grade 4 (early intermediate) book, so older beginning students can start at a level appropriate to their understanding. A placement test is available from Theory Time, as well, which will help in deciding which book to start with.

As an enhancement to the original series, the Medallion series condenses lessons so that students can catch up to grade level quickly. These books are also good for adult beginners. Like the original series, the Medallion Series teaches at five levels (fundamentals, early intermediate, intermediate, advanced and college prep), but uses just one book per level.

Written by Heather Rathnau, a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music, Theory Time books make what can be a daunting subject into an easy and fun series of exercises. And the lessons aren’t confined to the workbooks; each book contains worksheets referring to ear training exercises, which are freely available in video format on the Theory Time YouTube channel. These videos are an innovative and engaging way to demonstrate and reinforce the concepts covered in the books.

Lessons in each book are typically just two or three pages long, so students can either concentrate on just one bite-size lesson at a time, or combine two or three lessons without being overwhelmed. “Fun sheets” dispersed throughout each book, serve to review and reinforce earlier concepts. The books are cleanly laid out, with enough cute illustrations to keep kids amused without overwhelming the eye.

For homeschooling parents, private music teachers, and school music teachers alike, the Theory Time workbooks are an invaluable resource.

For more information and to order the workbooks and other Theory Time products, visit


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