I'm looking for a good theory workbook for summer practice for my son who is currently in middle school. I am specifically looking for something that focuses on figured bass, part writing, form/phrase analysis, etc. Also alto clef if possible.
He's done the Fundamentals of Piano Theory books through Book 6 (he also plays piano), but the first half of these tends to be repetition of basic skills from earlier books that he has mastered (ie key signatures, scales, intervals, triads).
The books I know are mostly geared toward college-aged kids and seem a bit much for his age. Any suggestions?
If the college books seem to be too much, you could try an AP Music Theory book, perhaps. When I was your son's age, though, I was taught theory from a college workbook. What you're looking for -- the part-writing etc. -- is normally part of the college music theory curriculum.
The "bit much" is also reflective of the prices ($100+ for most of them!!) of the college level books! It's shocking to me how expensive they are.
I'll just point out that the cost of one of those workbooks is probably fairly close to the cost of a single violin lesson. :-)
I agree with Lydia that it sounds like you are looking for something at college level, which can be more basic than you might think. For figured bass, part writing, form and alto clef, I highly recommend Braaten and Wilksyk's
Consider the ABRSM Music Theory in Practice series -- it's fairly good for introducing those concepts, and more affordable than most other options. They should be in the Grade 5-8 materials.
By the way, OP, how good is your own part-writing? It's not all that useful to do counterpoint exercises without someone to check them over.
George Wedge. You can find copies on amazon.
Have you contacted the music/theory dept of your local university? I think your midde-school aged son would probably do much better (and enjoy it more) if he had a teacher/mentor to help him tackle these advanced concepts.
Lydia - very good point about the cost! My eyes just bugged out since one upon a time I bought these very same books for about $20 a pop. Unfortunately, I lost most of my old books in a flood.
Funny, as soon as I read you had the musicology degree, I was going to suggest that you teach your son the same way that the college students learn. :-)