Dr. Momilani Ramstrum – A Gaming Model: Technology, Fun and Tournaments for Learning Music Theory and Musicianship

Dr. Momilani Ramstrum

Professor, San Diego Mesa College

A Gaming Model: Technology, Fun and Tournaments for Learning Music Theory and Musicianship

The workshop will present a gaming model for learning music theory and musicianship skills using online auto-generated and auto-graded browser-based technology. The purpose of the technology is to facilitate the acquisition of theory and musicianship knowledge so that musical elements can be understood quickly and easily. A gaming model, using class competition and extra credit, motivates students to practice until they acquire music theory skills (knowledge and speed) instead of taking a one-time high-pressure test. In a gaming model of testing a point is added for correct answers and subtracted for incorrect answers. The gaming model of testing alleviates student test anxiety, builds confidence and skills, and uses student directed practices – many students are motivated by extra credit points, class competition, and peer pressure.

The online quizzes have proven effective for all student types and are responsive to varied student learning styles. Analysis of data, performance metrics and talking with the students shows the benefits to students with different study methods and abilities. The students experience an increase in speed and accuracy, as they are motivated by extra credit and class competition. Some students find the theory and musicianship very challenging. Since technology gives immediate feedback and answers, these students have experienced great success and progress through continued work. For the students there is no penalty for retaking quizzes; students can practice the quiz as many times as they like before the due date and their high scores are retained.

The online tools, their rationale, applications, and uses, will be presented. The participants will get to test out all modules via cell phone during the presentation. All workshop participants will be given access to the online materials so they can test out the concepts with their own students.


Momilani Ramstrum is a composer, singer, PD programmer, and interface designer. As a vocal improviser she performs with live electronics using her patented MIDI glove that she designed and created. She authored a  DVD-ROM entitled “From Kafka to K….” documenting and analyzing Manoury’s electronic opera K… published by IRCAM. She wrote a chapter in Simoni’s Analyzing Electroacoustic Music published by Routledge. Wave Media LLC has published her 7 music theory, musicianship and composition textbooks with interactive website drills and tournaments that create and evaluate student learning based on gaming theory rather than traditional academic models. Dr. Ramstrum is Professor of Music at San Diego Mesa College and directs the music theory, musicianship, and composition areas of the department.