Music theory is a course all people must take for a professional career in music. Singers and musicians can only get away with learning by for so long. You can become a better musician or vocalist by mastering the fundamentals of music theory. Going to college may not be an option for you right now. However, that doesn’t mean you need to put your dreams or education on hold. You can take an online course either free or at a lower price. Below we have outlined the top seven online music theory courses you can take to master the fundamentals.
7 Online Music Theory Courses
1. Full Sail University Music Production Bachelor’s Degree
Geared at songwriters and musicians, this online music theory course can take their career to the next level. Three areas of focus in the Music Production Bachelor’s Degree Course are songwriting, music arrangement, and digital recording principles. During this online course, you’ll learn how to transform a concept into a song and maintain successful music structures.
You’ll also learn how to generate professional-sounding songs from a laptop-based studio. This is priceless for students who are on a tight budget. Full Sail University’s Music Production Bachelor’s Degree takes about 20-32 months to complete. Although it’s longer than the typical online course, it is half as short as other similar bachelor degree programs.
2. Music Theory with Prof. Laura Ryan, M.A.
Educator’s Music Theory with Prof. Laura Ryan, M.A. is one of the best online music theory courses for non-musicians. Musicians and vocalists can learn a lot from this course as well. Professor Laura Ryan goes in depth with 13 information-filled sections.
Examples of music theory topics you’ll learn about include time signature, rhythms, Solfeggio, augmented chords, chord inversions. If you’re new to music, you might not know what any of that means. Because the course takes beginners into consideration, it’ll be explained in the course as you encounter the terms. You can ask the community, including your teacher, questions during the course to ensure you understand a concept.
3. The University of Edinburgh Fundamentals of Music Theory on Coursera
The University of Edinburgh is recognized as one of the top 50 universities in the world. Their Fundamentals of Music Theory course teaches students how to read and write western music notation. You’ll learn about pitches, scales, clefs, rhythm, meter, form, basic harmony, and intervals.
The course also explains how to listen informedly, understand, and analyze music. It’s ideal for beginners, but more experienced musicians can benefit from this online music theory course too. You can discuss the course concepts in Coursera’s community forum for Fundamentals of Music Theory.
4. MI Online Harmony and Theory Fundamentals
This online music theory course aims to help students master the fundamentals of music theory. Topics you’ll learn about include the musical alphabet, symbols and notation, key signatures, major scale construction, and triads. Aspiring songwriters, musicians, and producers would benefit from taking MI Online Harmony and Theory Fundamentals.
This course explains how to apply basic concepts to key signatures, major scales, triads, intervals, and other music notation. It takes 10 weeks to finish the course. The course instructor teaches music theory through weekly live lectures, video lessons, and multimedia quizzes.
5. Berklee Online Music Theory 101
Berklee Online’s Music Theory 101 course teaches the fundamental concepts you need to master in music theory. Topics include pitch, harmony, scales, rhythm, chords, and intervals. With 40+ years of experience at Berklee, Professor Emeritus Paul Schmeling authored and instructs this course. Other Berklee staff assist in instructing Berklee Online Music Theory 101 too.
You’ll receive personalized feedback throughout the course to help you master the material. Berklee Online Music Theory 101 also features class discussions and interactive tools to fuel learning. You’ll learn how to write melodies, read and write musical notation, and play notes on a piano keyboard.
The course takes 12 weeks to complete and costs $1,479 for 3-credit tuition. Non-credit tuition is $1,229.
6. EarMaster Understanding Basic Music Theory
The Understanding Basic Music Theory online course is divided into six chapters for teaching the fundamentals. These chapters are notations, definitions, the physical basis, notes and scales, harmony and form, and challenges. Although it’s a beginner course, those who are new to music would have trouble completing it on their own. Complete beginners are advised to follow the course with a teacher for true comprehension. If you’ve received music instruction before, you’ll have no trouble getting through the course on your own.
This online music theory course presents challenges above beginner-level in the last section. They are helpful for almost every music genre and field. The goal of EarMaster’s Understanding Basic Music Theory course is to prepare learners for pursuing any music theory. Advanced music theory is broad and which path you take depends on what career you’re pursuing. This online course will prepare you to take any advanced music theory path you want.
7. EdX Introduction to Music Theory
Professor George Russell Jr. from Berklee College of Music teaches the EdX Introduction to Music Theory online course. It’s free to take, but you must pay $49 if you want a certification to boost your resume. You will learn how to create, perform, and understand contemporary music in this online music theory course.
Introduction to Music Theory is ideal for musicians who only know how to play by ear and beginners. Passionate music lovers can also take the course to gain a deeper understanding of music. In the course, you’ll learn how to spot the tonal center in a song, create the chord progression I IV V, and recognize AABA song forms. The course takes about six weeks to complete and is divided into six lessons.
Most of the online courses on this list offer a certification or degree upon successful completion of the course. Although you have to pay for the certification, online music theory courses are cheaper than attending college. If you plan on pursuing a music career, then it’s essential you obtain a certification. It will look good on your resume and show people you have formal training.
Which of these online music theory courses looks best to you? Let us know why in the comments below. Please also share your experiences if you’ve taken any of these courses.