Ознакомьтесь с этим методом изучения музыки на

(Information about this teaching method).

Nadezhda Lvovna Matsaeva, Nadya (NL) has continued to teach the theory of music* to small groups after moving to Israel from Russia, to Russian-speaking kids. Some of her lessons have been recorded by parents and she has made them available on her YouTube channels. To make her teaching more widely accessible, I have created English subtitles for a couple of her videos. They are listed below. Make sure that the CC option is turned on. (*NB: Youtube has reduced their video quality considerably due to low viewership, thus most of the benefit will come from listening/reading rather than watching:) )

* I am deliberately avoiding the term "Music Theory" to step away from some people's notion that "Music Theory" is something unrelated to the sounds or the aural understanding of music, "something you do on paper and not of any relevance to performers".

NL's videos demonstrate a number of different facets of the teaching method. Thus they can be grouped according to theory of music "themes", or concepts. 

For example, INTERVALS.

3-year-old identifying intervals

This video demonstrates a 3-year-old student naming various middle-register intervals. 

You will notice that the "character" of each interval is emphasized by NL to help with the pairing of the strong emotions to the aural stimuli. 

NL's way of introducing the interval characters is done through an "interval song", that's sung right after hearing the sound of the interval.

All interval songs are sung using the same lyrics (I came up with an english translation that fits the rhythm: "Hey you! Who are you! I do not have a clue"), except for the 3rds and the tritone, which use their own lyrics. The songs are sung with the appropriate emotion, as per below:

2nds     -     a "teasing" song (happy -major, or sad - minor), 

3rds     -     sunny day/dark night (immediately relating to the concept of major/minor that was already demonstrated and learned beforehand), 

P4th     -     trumpet/call to action, 

Tritone -    Baba Yaga (the witch), 

P5th     -     empty white balloon, 

6ths     -     a song (happy/sad), 

7ths     -     giraffes (one reaching up, one reaching down). 

After consistently reviewing these sounds with the students, the sound of each interval becomes paired strongly with a specific image, emotion and the name of the interval. In a  manner similar to Pavlov's dogs, the mere sound of the interval eventually triggers a full body response, bypassing any need to hear or think about the "full song" or the "emotion". It was certainly the case for me (I was nearly 5 years old when I started). The result is hearing a perfect 4th and knowing it's a perfect 4th without any "calculating" or "thinking", just like we see colors and "know" what they are without any "processing" first.

2-year-olds introduced to intervals

These kids are mostly taking it in and showing the involvement through movement, rather than actively singing/playing. And it makes sense. They are only 2 years old (I was nearly 5 when I started, and I was not as affected by an imaginary witch as these seem to be). 

4-7 year-old group 

Covering intervallic inversion ("ipukh" means reversal in Hebrew), then triads, then tetrachords, and finishing with a performance of Beethoven's symphony. Notice that here there is a lot of active singing as well as enunciating the various concepts that are being covered.

3-year-old. Individual piano lesson.

All the concepts covered in group theory classes are used in individual piano lessons. In this case, the student is using all intervals as part of a musical duet performance.

Another 3-year-old. Individual piano lesson.

Here is a more "melodic" usage of the intervals, specifically 3rds, which immediately relates to the already acquired knowledge (likewise, during group theory classes) of the major and minor harmonies.

3 year olds. A quick interval review at the end of a half-hour lesson. 

The kids just danced to a song, so they are all standing up. As you can tell from the video, the kids already recognize the sounds (see above), but sometimes, to jog their memory, NL plays through the rhythm of the "interval songs" rapidly. (I recorded this on my camera using Skype in 2013, so the quality is not great.)


An individual piano lesson. 6-years-old.

They discuss a basic structure of 4 chords away from tonic, and 4 chords leading back to tonic and then the student realizes the structure using the "tarantella"-derived figuration.

2-year-old. Exploration of the interval of a fifth.

NL asks questions using the Fifth, the student has to come up with improvised answers using the Root. (For example, Q:"What do we use to hear?" A: "We use ears")

5 and 6-year-olds. Duet. Simple improvisation ideas.

In this video, you can see how the Dominant harmony is used to generate new melodic ideas without any restrictions.

More theory concepts below.

"Nudnik" segment. 

Working on maintaining an ostinato rhythm with 3 - 4-year-old kids.

1.5 - 2-year-olds working with registers

This simple video demonstrates the importance of starting with the most basic foundation before progressing to anything more "advanced". The kids are using their entire body to internalize the concept of "high" and "low" registers, pairing these concepts with vivid imagery.

Major-Minor-Tonic, 3 year olds

Allowing the kids to internalize the theory concepts of major, minor and the tonic through a familiar (Russian) song for kids.

Introduction to the theory of music (video name: Accelerated Theory of Music Course - 2)

(*This video begins with the proposition that this is an introduction to a "5 lesson" course, but it's not clear if the other lessons in this course exist)

Kids are 7-9 years old.

The video shows the teaching of theory "from the beginning". While the kids had, obviously, already learned the concepts presented, these concepts were, indeed, introduced in this order in my first lesson with NL back in 1984.


1) The theory of music is the study of "Connected Musical Sounds". While one might be put off by the description of the rather beautiful dodecaphonic fragment as "non music" in this part of the video, you have to remember that NL is laying in the foundation of tonal music into these kids, who know nothing about Wagner, Schönberg etc. It's like we went back in time to 18th-19th century. Just so you know, I absolutely love - in fact, prefer - fully chromatic music to tonal music now, so, clearly, this teaching did nothing to bias me "against" modern music.

2) Defining degrees, intervals, chords, 7th chords etc

3) Major/Minor (note that "3rd degree" is never mentioned, kids learn to recognize the concept by ear alone. The third degree is "discovered" later. )

4) Relative Major/Minor. Also parallel.

5) Harmonic functions. Tonic, Dominant, Secondary Dominant.

Circle of Fifths (video: Accelerated Theory of Music Course - 4)

1) Circle of Fifths

2) Sharps and Flats

3) Tritone vs a Perfect Fifth

4) Order of sharps/flats in the Circle of Fifths.

As NL likes to say, theory is useless without letting it out into music - singing, playing an instrument, ability to improvise.

Below are some videos of musical performances by NL's students.

2nd movement of Mozart's K545

In this video, we see the somewhat older students, who are also studying piano (individually) with NL, singing through this piece by Mozart, with confidence. There is an initial 30 second discussion of what they are doing, which I haven't translated yet.

Telemann's Musette

This is a fun arrangement for a 6 person group, somewhat reminiscent of one by Bobby McFerrin and Yo-Yo Ma.

Tchaikosky's Neapolitan song with "percussion effects"

Haydn - Teacher-Student 

NL's Youtube Channels: 

   - literally, "Into Music Step by Step". Group theory lessons. 

   - "Young Lovers of Classics". Mostly home, some public concerts by both NL's groups and individual students. 

   - "From Two and Beyond Into Music". Mostly very young kids' lessons. NL's favorite channel.


Videos tracing the progress of individual students


Extra translated videos below

More theory concepts and a performance (video name: Accelerated Theory of Music Course - 1)

This video shows a group of kids, aged 4-7 engaged with the following concepts:

1) Inversion (for which the Hebrew word "ipukh" - eng. "Reversal" - is used to make the concept "beginner friendly") and how it relates to interval inversions.

2) Chords, in general, and then, more specifically, the triads (the 4 types).

3) Tetrachords

4) Finally, the performance (vocally) of a theme from Beethoven's 7th Symphony.

As with all other videos of NL's lessons, you will observe the constant engagement with the kids, making sure that they are able to articulate verbally what they know. (The verbal stating of theory knowledge is repeated in each lesson - with new examples, and new turns of phrase - until the kids know it well). Active singing is paramount to the internalizing of the theory concepts. While the word "cleanly" (in tune) is occasionally used, the kids are not "forced" to be perfectly in tune right away. 

Video name: Accelerated Theory of Music Course - 3

1) Relative Minor in more depth. 

2) Leading Tone

3) Review of Stable/Unstable degrees, which make VIIth degree 7th chord. Resolution

4) Singing of I-IV-IVb-V6/4-V-I progression in 4 parts and each voice in isolation. (D Major).

More archival footage from the past.

1984 (with me - video only). One of the beginning lessons.

1990 - Part 1 (with audio - no translation subtitles)

1990 - Part 2 (with audio - no translation subtitles)

1990 - Part 3 (with audio - no translation subtitles) - post presentation discussion.

NL's old introduction to her teaching method (document).

Original Russian

English Translation