The Contemporary Music Course, by Clive Cockburn. 2013.

The Contemporary Music Course is a comprehensive collection of concise and focused music theory principles. Cockburn presents short video clips to introduce concepts that may be new or needed as review lessons.

The first of two categories, "The Language of Music" take students very efficiently through basic note reading, scales and rhythmic information. Worksheets are available in PDF form for printouts with answers given separately.

Lessons on sight-singing are valuable ear training tools for students who would like to learn to play by ear. In the classroom these lessons aid in promoting audiation. Sight-reading lessons are simple pattern reading, which Cockburn relates back to the sight-singing examples. "The Language of Music" part 2 concludes with introductions to relative minor scales, swing rhythms and sixteenth notes.

Beyond those two sections the lessons are more directed toward chord structures, harmonic progressions and their use in additional styles such as country and rock. Even the most elementary budding composer could gain from the "putting music to words" and "putting words to music" exercises. Lessons on using software and using sequencing tools go beyond basic composition instruction to give students access to a finished product. For those teens who have a bona fide garage band there are lessons on writing for drums and guitar as well.

One of the accolades on the home page states: "I think your website is awesome. It really gives you the feeling of being in a music school." said Valerie Crawford, a student in the United States). Given the competition to enter college with a solid musical skill set, this website would be analogous to giving a student materials for SAT test review.

This website could be viewed as a bridge between the technology world with its iPads and the like, and the organic world of pencil and paper. Independent teachers who shy away from technology can appreciate the videos as springboards to conversation with their students to expand on a given topic. Classroom teachers with Smart-board or video connectivity from a desktop, can capture students' attention, distribute worksheets and enhance lesson plans. While teachers may not find they can use every lesson contained here, there is definitely something for everyone, both teacher and student.

Reviewed by Kathleen Maskel, NCTM, Regis College