Striking the Right Chord (or applying first aid to the wrong one) in the Day of a Theory Teacher

Dorothy Payne

As a grateful and deeply honored recipient of the third Gail Boyd de Stwolinski Lifetime Teaching award, I am pleased to have been asked to contribute to this issue of the Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy. I should also express my gratitude to the Gail Boyd de Stwolinski Center for Music Theory Pedagogy and the School of Music faculty and students for their warm and gracious hospitality during my three-day September residency as a visiting lecturer. It was indeed a rewarding experience in every way and has greatly increased my already considerable admiration for the Center's pioneering work. The above title was suggested by the Director of the Center for my September 20th lecture at the University, and since I rather fancied it, I am revisiting it for this article. My approach will be informal, very personal, somewhat eclectic, and will draw upon the wisdom of others with whom I have crossed paths. I wish to pay tribute here to two musician/teachers who have been very influential in my life. One is Michael Rogers, a former faculty member at Oklahoma, whose book Teaching Approaches in Music Theory (Southern Illinois Press, now in its second edition) is a veritable treasure trove of pedagogical and philosophical truths, meaningful for any teacher of any subject. The other is the late Janet McGaughey who was my esteemed colleague at the University of Texas for several years. Janet, a musical giant if ever there was one, was at one and the same time homespun and sophisticated, brilliant and humble, energetic and contemplative, and possessed of truly amazing aural acuity. It was a joy and a privilege to be her colleague.