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Peer Review

Java Music Theory



Overall Numeric Rating:

4.5 stars
Content Quality: 4.5 stars
Effectiveness: 4 stars
Ease of Use: 4.5 stars
Reviewed: Oct 30, 2003 by Music
Overview: This site offers a variety of Java applets that support theory skill development and testing.
Type of Material: Java applets: Tutorial.
Recommended Uses: An interactive companion to a music theory course or music theory materials.
Technical Requirements: Multimedia browser that supports Java (Internet Explorer recommended).
Identify Major Learning Goals: Skill development in the primary music theory areas such as note reading , key signatures and interval drills.
Target Student Population: Students preparing for the music major.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: These applets are designed to drill knowledge learned first from other sources. Therefore some knowledge of the music theory it drills is recommended. Varies by module: Note Reading, Keyboard Skills, Chord and Scale building skills.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.5 stars
Strengths: These applets are highly interactive and offer useful instructions on their operation. Optional sounds can be loaded to help students gain an aural association with the theory structures being tested. These sounds can be excluded to speed up download time.
Concerns: Addition of conceptual descriptors of the tasks would be helpful. The range of applets is still incomplete for this level of theory although new modules are expected. However, as isolated skill tests they are reasonably complete.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: The applets are highly interactive and would work well in support of a broader assignment or class module that presents an introduction to the theory itself. If used at the host institution it appears that the scores for the tests can be sent to the teacher. Concepts are reinforced through repetition using randomly generated examples. Could be used in class or individually.
Concerns: These applets do not stand alone well but should be integrated into a more complete theoretical presentation.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4.5 stars
Strengths: The applets are supported by help files on their operation as well as operational instructions that guide the student as they use the applet. In some cases hints are offered to guide student choices.
Concerns: Some of the applets may require some experimentation to establish how all the tools are used. Black and White interface is unappealing. Text is small.

Other Issues and Comments: Because of the modular structure of this site each applet can be repurposed for a number of useful assignments. Performance may vary based on choice of browser.