15 Best Online Music Theory Courses Ranked

If you want to master music, at some point you have to master music theory.

The good news is that you can study this easily online and many of the best courses are free of charge too!

We’ve rounded up some awesome courses to ensure you get the education in music theory that your music deserves!


Fundamentals Of Music Theory

University Of Edinburgh

The University of Edinburgh is, of course, in Scotland and it’s one of the world’s best educational institutions.

You get six instructors for this online music theory course and they say you can learn the basics of music theory in just 8 hours!

One thing that ought to make you keen to study online music theory with this course is that nearly half of the people who learn music theory from it are now employed in the music industry!

If learning music theory is about securing a career for you? This is the way to go about it.

Check it out here.


Music Theory Comprehensive
Udemy

The good news is that this may be the most complete online music theory course in the world. However, it can work out quite expensive to buy all the online music theory lessons on offer here.

We strongly recommend that you wait for a Udemy sale (they take place every 2-3 weeks, you won’t need to wait long) before you learn music theory from this provider – you will then pay roughly $10 for each set of lessons, rather than the $70+ which is the standard free for their online music theory courses.

However, there’s no doubt that you’ll get value for money, these music theory courses are the best-selling and highest-rated courses on music theory on the Udemy platform.

Check it out here.


Herbie Hancock’s The Art Of Jazz
Masterclass

Masterclass is a wonderful learning provider, however, accessing an individual class is quite expensive and an annual membership runs at $15 a month!

So, you want to make sure that if you want to learn music theory that there are other courses that interest you here too, otherwise you might be better off learning music theory from a different online music theory course which is cheaper and still ensures you master the basics of music theory.

Herbie Hancock’s lessons are about composition for jazz but you’ll learn all about harmony, chord progressions, improvisation, and more, and his teachings are very engaging.

Check it out here.


Getting Started With Music Theory
Michigan State University

If you want to learn online music theory from a university then you can do much worse than this introduction course to music theory.

It covers all the basics and it’s taught by Bruce Taggart, a resident professor at Michigan State.

As you’d expect from an online music theory course from a university, you also get a nice certificate with the university’s branding on it when you finish – that makes this music theory course a nice addition to your resume.

Check it out here.


Learn Free Music Theory
Andrew Furmanczyk (YouTube)

What’s better than an online music theory course? 50 music theory courses that are all completely free!

Yes! Andrew Furmancyzk makes it very easy to learn music theory and you won’t have to pay a penny to do so.

These theory courses are very good but there are two drawbacks, these music theory courses aren’t as well organized as some of the “paid for” options and there’s no certificate for any of them, so, if you want to impress an employer with your development, you might prefer to opt for one of our other music theory courses.

Check it out here.


Music Theory Course
Yale

Sadly, you can’t get a certificate but you will get a full understanding of music theory by the time you complete the 21 online courses that Yale University’s Craig Wright has uploaded to YouTube for you!

Professor Wright intends for you to learn theory through active listening to music and each lesson runs for about an hour!

He tackles every from chord progressions to ear training to music notation to scales and more.

He has a rich knowledge of musicians and musical theory and he’ll take you from beginner to mastering some advanced concepts by the time that he’s done.

We bet his degree courses are a huge hit at Yale!

Check it out here.


MusicTheory.Net

If you’d rather that the course material covered key concepts in bite-sized chunks rather than long lessons that you struggle to fit into your day?

Then you want to check out MusicTheory.net.

They tackle a single topic at a time and their instructors aim to fit the concepts into as short a module as to be useful to the learner.

Students of music theory will still learn chord progressions, intervals, rhythm, etc. but they’ll do it fast.

You can also buy their app to back up the lessons for a massive umm… $2.99!

Check it out here.


Basic Music Theory – Ethan Winer (YouTube)

If you have some knowledge of music theory and you’re looking for some online music learning that improves your understanding of key concepts then you might want to look at this free course.

It’s only 2.5 hours long and we tackled it all in a single night! But it’s like getting a full semester-long college course and it will help you make music when you’re done too.

Check it out here.


Music Theory 101
Berklee College Of Music

Before you buy a laptop for music production or work out which digital audio workstation you want to use, it’s best to get a good grounding in music theory and this set of online courses is about as good as it gets.

The bad news is that students have to pay a fairly heavy price for this tuition and it costs over $1,000! (You do get three credit hours towards a degree for it, mind you).

If you want a career in music production, or making music professionally it’s a small price to pay.

Check it out here.


Understanding Basic Music Theory
EarMaster

We loved studying music with EarMaster. This course can help you play the piano or guitar as well as boost your knowledge of music theory.

The course has a ton of fun to carry out practical exercises and we really enjoyed the “challenges” that were set out for us at every turn.

The course uses the EarMaster tool to help improve the delivery experience and we think if you’re serious about music, this is easily one of the best ways to master the theory.

Check it out here.


Music Theory: Exploring Sound, Rhythm, and Melody on the MIDI Grid
Skillshare

There are tons of music courses on Skillshare which is reasonably priced at around $10 a month and you can normally get a free month when you first sign up, so if all you want is this music theory course – and you’re quick? You won’t have to pay anything at all for it.

Skillshare’s strength is the wide variety of online experiences that it offers and each of its courses is taught by a master in that subject rather than trying to pull in a generalist to cover all lessons.

However, because of the subscription model, some of their courses are a bit more drawn out than they might be if they were free.

Some online students are going to prefer this approach, mind you, as it means lessons really stress the key concepts.

Check it out here.


Dr. B’s Music Theory
Christopher Brellochs (YouTube)

Dr. Christopher Brellochs’ courses command the best price, they’re free.

His students can still enjoy a comprehensive and structured intro to music theory and the video course includes everything from basics like defining a chord and what is rhythm all the way through to much more advanced concepts.

He’s very in touch with popular music too and you will find him breaking down songs from ABBA and the like to help make the lessons relevant to the students.

Check it out here.


Music Theory Fundamentals
Michael New (YouTube)

From scales to piano keys Michael New provides some incredibly useful explanations of the theory of music and he does so for free!

In fact, the music sub on Reddit says that he’s one of the best teachers on the planet, so it’s definitely worth checking out his quality video channel.

Check it out here.


Music Theory And Composition
Rick Beato (YouTube)

Our last free video course is Rick Beato’s and it’s one of the best channels for honing your theory understanding after you’ve mastered the basics.

Check it out here.


Music Theory For Songwriters: The Fundamentals
LinkedIn

LinkedIn can give you access to thousands of training courses at a very reasonable monthly fee.

Of course, as with Skillshare, you can also get a one-month free trial and then zip through this course for free before canceling your membership and it’s definitely worth doing that for access to this quality music theory course.

Check it out here.


Final Notes

So, there you have it, there are loads of great options to grasp music theory online!

The YouTube channels are great to get you started and if you’re looking for certification programs there are some really solid options out there to improve your career prospects too.

Why not sign up for one of the courses above, today? There’s never a better time to start learning than now.

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