WiSys: T190031US01

  • Patent applied for.

Interactive Board Game for Learning Music Theory


Tricia Marton

WiSys is seeking strategic partners interested in production scale-up and market and distribution expansion of this music theory board game. Opportunities also exist for development of derivative works, including a related app.
OVERVIEWLearning music theory is a difficult challenge that is well-known in the field. For example, one-third of the AP students mentioned above did not receive test scores high enough to earn college credit or placement. To enhance music theory understanding, there is a need to complement difficult course work with creative teaching methods. The use of games is one such method. While there are several games that focus on music theory at the elementary level, there are few that target students who are more advanced. Among the higher-level games, there is a tendency to focus narrowly on specific aspects of music theory, yet students are required to take comprehensive tests covering multiple concepts.
THE INVENTIONA University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, Sheboygan music instructor and private music studio owner has developed It’s JUST Music TheoryTM – a board game that helps students master challenging music theory concepts. The game is novel in that it comprehensively covers intermediate and advanced level music theory topics in an interactive platform that students find engaging. It’s JUST Music TheoryTM is designed for 4-6 players who move about a board and answer questions to test and improve their competence in a wide variety of theory skills. Examples of such skills include terms, intervals, spelling triads, chord functions, and key signatures. In addition to enhancing overall music theory knowledge, the game provides questions that are geared specifically toward progressive music theory tests. As students advance in their learning process, encounter new variables, and face new tests, replaying the game continues to provide reinforcement.
BUSINESS OPPORTUNITYStudying music theory is a requirement for people seeking music related careers. In 2018, nearly 340,000 students were enrolled in US degree-granting music programs, and more than 19,000 high school students took the College Board Advanced Placement® (AP) Music Theory exam.
  • Practice for music theory tests: Advanced Placement (AP), Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) state theory exams in AZ, XA, IL, KS, MI, SC, TX, UT, WI;
  • Students considering a college music major;
  • Parents of music majors;
  • Public and private music schools and teachers;
  • Music associations;
  • Music camps.
    • Fun – an engaging way to learn a challenging subject;
    • Interactive - students help each other learn;
    • Comprehensive – to win, players must pull many aspects of music theory together;
    • Covers intermediate to advanced level concepts;
    • Can be replayed to navigate multiple variables;
    • Includes an answer key to facilitate and reinforce learning.
      STAGE OF DEVELOPMENTThe game has been field tested and adapted by music teachers and students. An initial batch of 50 games has been produced, and preliminary validation of market interest has been demonstrated by the sale of all units through exposure at a state-level music education conference, an independent retail store and word-of-mouth. Access to a sample game is available for evaluation by interested parties.
      Contact Information
      For current licensing status, please contact Jennifer Souter at or (608) 316-4131.
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      WiSys Technology Foundation serves the University of Wisconsin System comprehensive campuses by patenting and licensing discoveries to leading companies in Wisconsin, the United States and worldwide. Established in 2000 by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) and the UW System, WiSys is building the next generation of patent and licensing opportunities by fostering collaborations among campuses, private research organizations and industry, facilitating high-tech research with grant programs, and promoting student training for employment in a knowledge-based economy. WiSys's income is distributed to the UW campuses, the inventors and their departments to grow future discoveries and educational opportunities.