I outlined a pathway for learning Music Theory today that I have taught/learned on a peer-to-peer basis for about two years. The course is divided into 8 lessons. The lessons are progressive and pragmatic in that they build up a foundation of knowledge that has direct, generative application.
I plan to include a diagram, which I am currently designing, that will encompass the foundations of tonal music composition and that can be used as a quick reference for improvisation, composition, and memorization. Additional lessons will include more triads, sevenths, extended, and ‘exotic chords’, aleatoric composition, and the overtone series.
The realm of music theory also provides many opportunities for metaphoric and mnemonic realization. Mnemonics and patterns can help to reduce the amount of rote memorization a student must endure. Metaphors include the solar system (chord function and compositional probability), moon phases (chord leading/resolution), ocean surf (occlusion, chromaticism, musical movements, orchestral composition), Escher’s stairs (the octave and compound intervals), light waves (synesthesia and visual recognition), and constellations (stringed instrument chord and scale forms at various resolutions, e.g. triad, seventh, pentatonic, heptatonic.)