A long time ago I took a graduate-level music theory course and it was the best theory course ever. Much of the class was devoted to atonal 20th Century music and we used colored pencils to circle and otherwise mark various themes, sequences and any other groupings of notes that one might find meaningful. When all was said and done, the scores would become quite colorful and pleasing to look at.
And because the music was so abstract––and any two reasonable people could arrive at meaningfully different analyses––listening to the music while looking at one's own analysis became a uniquely personal experience. I also remember that the process was a lot more fun and less stressful than undergraduate theory courses in which there were points off for parallel fifths or not calling certain dominant chords by their geographically-specific misnomers, like French or German Sixths.
I was reminded of that class this week at NYU, while playing with Legos during the first meeting of Designing Technologies and Experiences for Music. We were instructed to make a tower of our own design using Legos, but were only allotted a few minutes to do so. The exercise was practice for creative problem solving under time constraints and foreshadows the interactive––and hopefully like in my old theory class––user-meaningful, music learning experiences that we will design in class.