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Read what our customers say about us!

"This is an excellent music learning program! The flexibility it provides is just the thing I was looking for. I teach chorus in grades 7-12 and have both experienced "lifers" and entry-level students mixed in the same classes. Your program provides a 'niche' for everyone...The curriculum will probably be used in our band program as well. (My colleagues in other disciplines are very jealous!)"
- Jay Rogers, Chorus Director
Unity High School, Tolono, IL

"This program is an integral part of our total music curriculum. It is by far the best, most thorough program I've found in twenty years of teaching. Thanks for helping me teach my students a lifelong skill they'll use many years after they leave my classroom."
- Terry Annalora, Choirs
Custer County District H.S., Miles City, MT

"Congratulations on the materials you have so carefully developed to teach concepts of music theory within the context of performing groups. So often much of music instruction has been done by rote imitation without solid internalization of musical concepts. Your materials provide a valuable, concrete sequence for teachers to help cement critical learning."
Dr. Carol Scott-Kassner
Chair, Music Education
Seattle Pacific University

"If only I had had access to Music Reading & Theory Skills by Carolyn Francis Several years ago ... Carolyn's curriculum and teacher's manual thoroughly cover all the standards, goals and objectives we spent hours writing for the theory section of our district's music standards."
Richard Dawson
Editor, New Repertorium/Strings Newsletter,
and Secondary orchestra teacher

"I am impressed with the care and thoroughness with which they have been prepared, I believe that most of us are not as thorough as we should be in the teaching of music reading, and you have clearly taken a major step in providing some very useful material."
- Paul Lehman
Past National President
Music Educators national Conference (MENC)

"With regard to the new national standards in music, music reading is an expectation, but no method for teaching or learning this process is specified. As we move into the implementation stage of the standards, the results of your research and your recommendations are meaningful and timely. Your materials have proven to be effective and are particularly important in light of the music standards which specify sequential instructional programs for all children. Thank you for your dedication and for your efforts in music education."
- Dorothy A. Straub
Past National President, Music Educators National Conference (MENC)

”Carolyn Francis' "Music Reading & Theory Skills" presents an orderly progression of music reading exercises and introduces the rudiments of musical notation in a concise manner. The program is designed to be of use in the classroom or on an individual-study basis. It should be of considerable use in both contexts. I will recommend it to my students at the Alaska Fine Arts Camp in the summer. The curriculum fills a gap which has previously been difficult to bridge for that particular student population."
- Dr. Edward Rutchsman,
Past Associate Professor of Music History and Theory
Western Washington State University

"The Level 4 "Harmony" chapter is great! This is a wonderful approach and very well written. You should be very proud of this chapter."
- Mike Klinger,
educator, MIDI Workshop founder, jazz musician
B.M. & M.M. degrees in Composition & Theory
North Texas State University
Portland, OR

"Your curriculum materials are really making a difference for students throughout the country."
- Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser,
music educator, author, seminar leader
Music Faculty Duquesne University, Vandercook College of Music

Here's what adult learners say...

"I've been trying to revive the music skill I had as a child, but couldn't find a method book that could make sense out of it all. Music Reading & Theory Skills made a lot of things clear and filled in a lot of things I hadn't learned before."

"When I got these lessons from Carolyn, to use on my own without a teacher, I had no music experience at all. I was surprised and pleased to see how well the materials taught me. Now, I'm playing the Hammond B-3 organ I bought from my neighbor and "jammin'" with my daughters who have band at school. I never knew how much fun music could be" WA

"I'm a supervisory nurse, and knowing what I'm doing is important to me. When I went to my violin lessons, it was difficult to find a way to understand what the music on the page was all about, until Carolyn was my private teacher. These lessons helped me, finally, to understand how music was organized, and counted, and taught me what all the symbols and marks meant." WA

"Carolyn, You may have to put on your thinking cap to remember me. I met you at the print shop and I fell in love with your work, "Music Reading & Theory Skills." I felt I had to connect with you to let you know how much I have appreciated learning music over the years, and your book has help my quest tremendously!" WA

"I'm a student in college. When I first started taking private lessons here at Western, I informed my teacher that I knew very little about music theory. He advised me to order your book and work through it at my own pace. I haven't gotten very far yet but that's far enough for me to tell you that the lessons have helped a great deal." WA

"I think "Music Reading & Theory Skills" is a fantastic learning tool. Your program is something that music students as well as music educators need, in order to learn and teach the fundamentals of music and much more. I just wish this had come along before I entered Berklee!” ME

Teachers who use this program say...

"This program is basic. It should be in every school. When a teacher comes to a building to teach, there should be a piano, a tuner, and this curriculum (Music Reading & Theory Skills) in the room." NV

"The students love it and they learn!"

"The theory materials are wonderful! The material is so clearly explained and reinforced. I'm so pleased with the presentation and content. My most surprising response was from several adult violin students. They have never had the basics explained and are so delighted to learn how to count! I'm so glad to have been introduced to you and your theory curriculum." WA

"The "Music Reading & Theory Skills" materials have proven to be very helpful in raising the music literacy of the orchestra students in our district. We are looking forward to incorporating you new materials into our curriculum." Music coordinator, TX

"It is most generous of you to allow my district to retain the extra Evaluation Modules. I will share these with another building and advise the teachers of the value of this program. An extra "thank you" for the certificates. My students will fee and even greater sense of accomplishment, I'm sure, when there is tangible evidence of their success. I really appreciate your thoughtfulness. In sending these and, for that matter, in all of our communication. It is clear that you believe in your curriculum and want as many students as possible to benefit from it. You have truly "gone the extra mile" for me and my students." NV

"The curriculum all looks wonderful. In fact, my friend used it last year and highly recommends it. Last week, during a panel presentation in which we participated, at a music workshop at Duke University, where my friend was on staff, he introduced your curriculum and told the audience how well it worked for him. As a result, a number of teachers signed the enclosed list to receive your mailed information packet. Thanks for a great product." GA

"First rate! I am really pleased to have this comprehensive program for my students." CA

"I have used the lesson pages for several years and I like the way the items are introduced and reviewed."

"We love this teaching tool! And, we use it every year." WA

"Handy format; Excellent instructions for use. Just what I need for this class." TX

"These materials have been wonderful for my students. I measured growth in musicianship. I'm gaining "intelligent" singers. Hurrah! Thanks, Carolyn." WA

"These materials are giving good structure to my class. I'm so glad I discovered this program." WA

"I've enjoyed using your materials for my classes. Thanks for making my job a little easier. Since I do workshops for the LA USD, I will definitely let them know about your wonderful curriculum, and encourage other teachers."

"The very best to you. The legacy you leave with many youngsters is immense." WA

"Before we had this program, we used to just muddle around trying help students read music. Now, we have a structure which makes the teaching much easier and greatly improves how students learn." WA

"There are many great specific teaching suggestions in the teacher's manual." OR

"I've been using these curriculum materials with an adult church choir. The program is excellent!" MO

"After using your curriculum for many years, I am still impressed at the ease the students grasp basic music concepts." IN

"I've been teaching 25 years and I've never found teaching materials as good as these." NY

"Thank you for your marvelous work! I'm very excited about using it next year, and I'm confident that using your program is going to make a huge positive difference in our already healthy program." NY

"My college students and I think this is one of the best series to come on the market. When will software be released?" Alberta, Canada

"I just started teaching this year after graduating from college. These materials are really helping because they give me just what I need: structure, student goals and objectives, teaching ideas, ready-to-use lessons and tests, and even lesson plans! When my principal comes to observe, I can even just copy one of these if I'm in a hurry." IL

"I attended a clinic at which Carolyn Francis presented her theory program for use in the instrumental classroom. In using the materials with my students at Fountain Central Jr/Sr High School, it took only a year to see the positive effects of this program. All students involved approached the music presented in a theoretical fashion, rather than a hope and pray attitude. Their knowledge of rudimentary music theory make it much easier to teach and rehearse a new composition. I am now working with junior high school students at Boonville Jr. High School and would like to incorporate your program this year. It is very important to me that the students be introduced to basic music theory at this level, since I am also the director of the High School Band. Please send me current information. Thank you for your program." IN

"Level 4 of Music reading & Theory Skills is the best jazz text I've seen in twenty years of teaching. The appendices section is worth the price of the book by itself." GA

"The curriculum materials go very well with any class method book." MT

"All of our band directors reviewed materials of your curriculum, and we were very impressed with it. As well, I have shared the materials with our Cultural
Arts Supervisor and he is equally impressed with it." NC

"Your materials are excellent, and I wish you the very best at marketing them. I will do what I can in the southwest. Indeed, I intend to share your materials with the participants in my workshop this coming summer at the University of Arizona." AZ

"My students are chomping at the bit to do the whole packet. I'm trying to stretch it out over 12 weeks." CA

"I've only been teaching a few years, so this curriculum has been a big help. The ideas in these books are better than all the things I learned in my college teacher prep' classes. The author, Carolyn Francis, has given me her 40 years of teaching experience as a head-start for my career!" OH

"The assignments are great! They're just what I would write, if I had the time. Our choir teacher is also excited about the materials and wants to order some for his classes." WA

"I'm going to order this curriculum for my beginning classes, but I think you should write levels 4, 5, & 6 for upper college level. There are no materials as good or written as clearly as these are." CA

"Thank you for sharing the fruit of your long experience. I look forward to exciting sessions with our school children and college students using your program."
Manila, Philippines

"The music reading, performance and focus on details of my students has markedly improved after using this curriculum."

"These lessons are just what I would write if I had the time. I've been searching for materials like these!"

"This is the best thing that ever happened to my music program."

"My students are winning sight reading contests and getting "I+" ratings. This is due directly to our regular use of Music Reading & Theory Skills curriculum."

Read what students using the program in school band, choir, and orchestra and private lessons say:

"Now, I can learn new music by myself, without asking my teacher "How it goes."

"I finally understand what my teacher is saying during rehearsal."

"I feel like I'm learning a lot in the class. This class is way more interesting than when we just rehearsed music."

"Now, our choir gets to sing harder music, because we can all read music."

"These lessons are easy and fun! I can't wait until I get to take the test again."

"I didn't know there was so much to learn in music."

"Now that I can read music, I look forward to the challenge of sight-reading, and I'm getting pretty good at it."

"I love knowing about the Music language, so I can write my own music."

"I feel much more confident now when I perform in concerts."

"I like the change the written lessons give me during rehearsal."

"I finally feel like I know what I'm doing when I rehearse with the group."


Teacher Designed

Music Reading & Theory Skills (affectionately known as the Big Red Music Book) was written by a teacher for teachers, not by a big publishing company.

Carolyn Francis, 40-year instrumental teacher, designed this indispensable curriculum for her own students. Her colleagues urged here to publish it after a dramatic pilot program. Now, after 25 years of development and a generation of proven benefit to music education, she continues to share her curriculum with others on a mission of national music literacy.

Teachers repeatedly tell us this program makes their job easier, accelerates learning, and helps students master music literacy to develop life-long music-making skills.