9 Best Online Music Theory Courses [Recently Tested]

Music is the expression of one’s soul – that’s why you’re a musician, right? But trying to connect with music without learning the language of music is a missed chance to truly understand what we hear.

The best online music theory courses help us understand why we’re making the music the way we are – the language, the rules, the norms that tell us why particular music sounds sweet to our ears and why exactly we produce it that particular way.

online music theory courses

Understanding the demands of music learners today, we’ve researched multiple online music courses on various platforms and finally shortlisted the 9 best classes of music theory available on different e-learning platforms.

Before selecting our best picks for music theory classes online, we recommend checking out music composition, Carnatic music, Rock guitar, and Ableton live courses to further understand how music is structured and composed.

We’re sure you’re looking forward to the list of the nine top music theory courses – here is the topic picks!

List of the 9 Best Online Music Theory Courses

Spoiler alert: If you want to skip the entire list, we can recommend two courses in music theory right now! Our recommendation is the best music theory courses and music theory for complete beginners in Udemy because of the pricing, rating, and student reviews.

Check out our nine best picks of online music theory lessons that can help you understand the language of music!

Online Music Theory Course
  1. The Best Music Theory Course – Udemy – Editor’s Choice
  2. Music Theory Class for Complete Beginners – Udemy – Best Music Theory Lesson for Beginners
  3. Introduction to Music Theory – edX – Highly Recommended Music Theory Online Class
  4. Best Free Online Music Theory Course – Yale University – Best to Explore Jazz, Pop, and Classical Music Theory
  5. Online Music Theory Complete Lessons: (Parts 1, 2, & 3) – Udemy – IAOMEI Certified
  6. Approaching Music Theory: Melodic Forms and Simple Harmony – Coursera – Best Music Theory Class for Intermediate
  7. Getting Started With Music Theory: Michigan State University – Coursera – Most Informative Music Theory Lesson
  8. Fundamentals of Music Theory: The University of Edinburgh – Coursera – Best to Learn Music Notation
  9. Advanced Course in Music Theory – Udemy – Best Music Theory for Advanced Level Learners

Best Complete Music Theory Online Courses in Detail

Although various e-learning sites claim they offer the best music theory classes, that is not the case. It is really hard to find online courses that can help you understand the subject.

This is why our pick of music theory courses is the best. So, without any further delay, let’s start the journey of knowledge and music.

1. The Best Music Theory Course – Udemy

music theory by udemy

Udemy’s Music Theory course is a perfect beginner to intermediate-level online music theory course. The fact that 3,922 students are enrolled in this course proves just that!

Priced at $16.99, this course is an affordable one. It contains 3.5-hour on-demand videos with lifetime access to content. It’s affordable, considering you get 80 downloadable resources in 112 lectures.

This course will help you understand the basic definition and elements of music. You can also learn about music measurement unit classification, rhythmic notation, pulses, and sound waves.

You can complete this course in just 5 hours, which makes it perfect for individuals looking for a short crash course.

Taught by award-winning composer Jonathan Peters with 20 years of experience in music, this course will help you understand the music language and relate it to the melody. Also, he is one the list of top instructors for educating on online music composition.

details of professional course

The course bagged an impressive rating of 4.5 out of 5.0, indicating that the students love it. All of the course reviews were positive, and most of the students had to say this about this course:

“Can’t recommend this enough for an incredibly quick, detailed, well-structured class without any of the meandering, ums, and filler.”

Based on the course rating reviews, course material, and pricing, we rated this course 9.0/9.0.

Click here to take this online music theory course.

2. Music Theory for Complete Beginners – Udemy

complete music theory lesson for beginners by udemy

Here is another excellent music theory course for beginners on Udemy!

With over 7,000 enrolled students giving it a collective rating of 4.4 stars out of 5.0, this beginner-level course will teach you the fundamentals of music: Beat, Tempo, Bars, Time Signatures, and how to read sheet music.

Spanning over 6 sections and 50 lectures worth 1 hour of video, the course will take just 1hr 52 mins to complete.

The best part about the course is that the instructor Miguel Fajardo (Violinist), offers a lot of content in a short time for maximized learning by utilizing his 20 years of experience in the music industry.

course detail of music theory by udmey

This online music theory lesson is perfect for you if you’re a beginner. Student reviews were also positive, with one student summing up the value of the course by stating:

“I have been singing and playing the lead or rhythm guitar for 50 + years by ear. I don’t know if my rating means anything. I got fed up with not knowing what I was playing and figured out the way to learn theory was to start [sic] at the very beginning.

This course would give a person who knew nothing about music a good start to build upon. This is what I am doing now that I should have done when starting.”

What else? It’s priced at $16.99, which might be the best value for a course you could get.

Due to the affordable price, the music theory class is rated 8.5/9.0.

Eligibility Criteria

  • A keyboard
  • A smartphone with a metronome app

Click here to take this excellent music theory class.

3. Introduction to Music Theory – edX

Introduction to Music Theory

Berklee College offers a 6-week program that can help beginner-level students learn the basics of music. It is a 6-lesson course. Each music theory lesson can be completed in 3.5 hours, so you can complete this entire course in just 21 hours. 

This exciting music theory course teaches beginners how to construct major and minor scales, create a standard chord progression – the I IV V, and much more for free!

Apart from that, you will also learn concepts such as major and minor triads, pentatonic scale, and dominant seventh chords (major and minor).

You’ll learn music theory online from Berklee College’s Music Professor, George W. ? George Russell, Jr. He has over 26 years of experience in teaching music.

complete details of music theory classes

There are around 100,315 students enrolled in the course, and the only prerequisite to becoming one of them is a passion for music – which means you’re pretty much there!

Students often hail Berklee as the best provider of music lessons online, with glowing reviews giving the course 5 stars. You’re lucky to be able to avail this Berklee course at a subsidized price (or for free!) from edX.

There are two tracks available at edX. The audit track, for free, gives you access to all material for a limited time without any certification. The other option is a $49 verified track which is a costly option.

Considering the number of enrolled students and the option of availing of this course for free, we give this course a score of 8.0/9.0.

Click here to take this music theory class online.

4. Best Free Online Music Theory Course – Yale University

Yale University Free Online Music Theory Course

Yale is offering Music Theory for beginner-level learners, and it is free!

With over 2,924 views, this course teaches you the entire music theory course online in 23 videos for around 1 hour each. You can complete this course in a day, but breaking the course material into a week is ideal to get the most out of the concepts.

This course will help you gain a diverse theoretical knowledge of music theory online. Firstly, the course walks you through an introduction to musical instruments to familiarize you with the course.

It later builds on to topics such as rhythm, exploring jazz piano, pop, and classical guitar, and then moves on to harmony, bass guitar, form, and fugue.

best online music theory course

Unfortunately, we couldn’t find reviews for this course as the comments on the YouTube videos have been turned off, but based on the course content, we feel it’ll be great!

More than 10 Yale professors explored the likes of Mozart, Beethoven, and Mahler in this course, and we rated them 8.0/9.0 based on extensive course material.

Click here to take this free online course on music theory.

5. Online Music Theory Complete Lessons – Udemy

best online music theory class by udemy

With over 92,209 students, “Music Theory Comprehension Class” is one of the best music theory courses on Udemy.

It consists of 157 lectures that can be completed in 12 hours. Furthermore, the course is affordable at $16.99, so you can master the theoretical concepts of music without spending much.

The online music theory course is taught by Jason Allen (Ph.D. / Ableton Certified Trainer), who teaches at Augsburg University in Minneapolis and has over 15 years of experience in the music industry.

This music theory course is extremely detailed and covers a couple of Music Theory aspects, including octaves, clefs, intervals, tempo, ties, solfege, and inversions.

Theory aspects including octaves, clefs, intervals, tempo, ties, solfege

The extensive course layout is why it’s “5-Star Certified ” by the International Association of Online Music Educators and Institutions (IAOMEI). The course rating by Udemy students is 4.7 out of 5.0.

It also serves as a prep for music exams such as Praxis II. Beginners and Intermediates can benefit from enrolling in this course if they’re looking for something extremely comprehensive.

Even the reviews praise the course content and specifically appreciated the exercises given along with the solutions to practice music skills. Here is what the students had to say about the course:

“This instructor honestly makes learning fun. I have learned more from this class than I ever expected. very thorough and clear. The pace is perfect!

“Great Great Great class”

Since the course reviews are impressive, we rate it 8.0/9.0.

Click here to take this music theory class.

6. Approaching Music Theory – Coursera

coursera music theory complete lesson

This CalArts course on Coursera teaches you the beautiful merger of the theoretics and the esthetics of music in 69 videos and lectures.

This intermediate-level course is for learning music theory online, which builds the connection between music theory and melodious music in 22 hours. You’ll learn melodic structures, pitched, cadence, and harmonic functions from Marc Lowenstein, a Disney Family Chair in Musical Composition.

With 33,000+ students rating this course 4.7 out of 5.0, you can be confident that it will be helpful for you.

The students praised the course and the instructors. We found the course reviews to be positive and shared one of the reviews here:

“Completely different approach to teaching music theory. Even if you have already studied music theory, it is worth taking [sic] this course. It goes deep into our music recognition and creation process.”

You can access Coursera courses in 3 ways. You can either audit them or apply for financial aid to access them for free. Second, purchase the Coursera Plus subscription for $59 per month, which is a costly option. And lastly, you can purchase a single course.

Due to the extensive course outline and positive reviews, we rate it at 8.0/9.0.

Click here to take this music theory online course.

7. Getting Started With Music Theory – Coursera

starting level learners course of music theory

If you’ve always wanted to learn how to read and write in treble and bass clef, this is the course for you! You’ll also get insight into tonality, notation, scale, keys, intervals, and harmony of these 35 videos and lectures structured into 4 weeks.

While Coursera recommends this course for beginners, our review research revealed that many students found the information a bit overwhelming for a beginner. So if you’re an intermediate-level learner, you’d want to join the 95,400 other people on Coursera!

We went through the course content and found it to be quite in-depth. The reviews for the course were also positive. Most reviews mentioned that the course content discusses music theory in depth but lacks presentation.

famous instructor Bruce Taggart for music theory lesson

Here’s what most students had to say:

“I’ve found this course a very straightforward and helpful way to learn the basics of music theory. Prof. Taggart explains the material in a straightforward way.”

As for the instructor, the course is taught by Bruce Taggart who is an Associate Professor of Music at Michigan State University. Needless to say, you’ll be learning from the best.

We rate this course 8.0/9.0 based on reviews and pricing.

Click here to get the best online music theory course.

8. Fundamentals of Music Theory – Coursera

online college music theory course

This exciting and demanding course for intermediate-level learners on Coursera is the best option if you are looking to improve your theoretical understanding of music.

281K+ enrolled in this course, indicating that it is pretty extensive and loved by students. An additional perk of a university diploma adds brownie points to the course’s appeal. It even has a rating of 4.5 out of 5.0

You’ll learn how to read, write and analyze music annotations in this online music theory course through 8 hours of on-demand video and 12 downloadable resources.

It will take you around 12 hours to complete. However, this truly is a demanding course that is available at an affordable price of USD 9.99. Reviewers praised it for its depth and diverse instructor pool but mentioned that it takes motivation to complete the course.

Dr. Thomas Butler profile and rating on his course

The course is taught by Dr. Thomas Butler who is a Teaching Fellow in Music at the University of Edinburgh. Having over 15 years of experience in the music arena, you can rest assured that you are learning from the best!

Since it is a budget-friendly option with an extensive course outline, we rate it at 8.5/9.0.

Click here to learn the music theory lesson

9. Advanced Course in Music Theory – Udemy

best advanced music theory course

Over the course of 8 hours, Max Konyi will teach you music theory online. You can earn a diploma for it! Max has been teaching music for over 17 years, making him an expert in this field.

As of now, 1707 graduated from this course, proving it is pretty popular among the students. You understand the theoretical fundamentals of music theory, along with explaining scales, chords, and basic intervals through this course.

Speaking of composition, if you’re specifically interested in learning music composition, you’d want to get enrolled in this course specifically designed for all-level learners.

This course is the best option for musicians who want to compose at a high level, producers who want to step up their music, and anyone who wants to learn how music works. Considering an affordable price tag of $9.99, you can rest assured that you will get the best education at the lowest price.

max konyi the best instructor for music theory learners

The reviews also praise the course content and structure. We found most of the reviews similar to this:

“I would recommend Max’s Musical Warp Drive experience to anyone who has an interest in music and wants to further their understanding, and any musician who is looking to put themselves in the proper mindset for practice. Perfect for beginners, even if you do not have prior knowledge. Max explains music and sound in such a way that makes it easy to understand and grasp the concept. He includes engaging activities that encourage you to practice mindfully with an intrinsic motivation.”

Our rating for this online music theory course is 8.0/9.0 based on affordable prices and student reviews.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Physical instrument or music software on a computer
  • Access to a keyboard (MIDI or physical)

Click here to take the complete music theory course.

Factors of Choosing these Best Online Music Theory Courses

After thoughtful consideration, comprehensive research, life experience, and the most important challenges of the eLearning industry, the components below were deliberately constructed. If you feel hurdle while taking any of these courses or are facing issues while learning, we have perfect essential eLearning tips to bring you out

  • Tutor Rating
  • Course Objectives Are Cleared or Not
  • Depth of Course
  • Resources and Material
  • Who can take this course? Beginners, Intermediate, and Advanced Level
  • Details of the course
  • Student Reviews
  • Course Duration
  • Price

Comparison of the Best Online Music Theory Lessons

 

Music Theory Classes Price Features

1. The Best Music Theory Course -Udemy

 
$16.99
  • Full lifetime access
  • Certificate of completion

2. Music Theory for Complete Beginners – Udemy

 

$16.99

  • Full lifetime access
  • Certificate of completion

3. Introduction to Music Theory – edX

 
$49.0
  • Free version available
  • Unlimited access 
  • Shareable certificate on completion

4. Best Free Online Music Theory Course – Yale University

 
Free
  • FreeBrief and concise

5. Online Music Theory Complete Lessons – Udemy

 
59.0/ Mo
  • 12 hours of on-demand video
  • 35 articles  

6. Approaching Music Theory – Coursera

 
$59/Mo
  • Flexible deadlines
  • Shareable certificate

7. Getting Started With Music Theory – Coursera

 
59.0/ Mo
  • Flexible deadlines
  • Shareable certificate

8. Fundamentals of Music Theory – Coursera

 
59.0/ Mo
  • Flexible deadlines
  • Shareable certificate

9. Advanced Course in Music Theory – Udemy

 
  • $9.99
Full lifetime access
Certificate of completion

Best Music Theory Courses – FAQs

Can I learn music theory on my own?

You can try, but it’s difficult to understand music theory without support. If you’re unwilling to enroll in physical classes, you can check out the Music Theory Course and Music Theory Beginners Course on Udemy from our lineup.

How difficult is music theory?

Music theory isn’t difficult to learn if you have a passion for music! The key to staying motivated is to apply the theoretical knowledge you learn, as it would help encourage you and make the process easy.

Do all musicians know music theory?

All established musicians know music theory. If you’re starting, you’d probably be relying more on your instincts – and that’s great – but the mark of a true musician is that they understand music theory as it helps sharpen and tune their instincts as well.

Can you learn music theory without playing an instrument?

Of course, you can! If you’ve noticed, none of the beginner courses we recommended have any prerequisites, including playing an instrument. It surely helps if you know how to play one, but it is not a necessity.

How long will it take to learn music theory?

30 minutes to around 12 weeks or even years! What we mean is that it depends on the depth you are going for.

You can find any YouTube video teaching you music theory in under 30 minutes and a diploma spanning over two years. The online courses we have recommended you take around 1 to 10 hours, and that’s a great place to start!

Conclusion

These best music theory courses are a surefire way of growing the passion for music you already have. We have provided you with the best online music theory courses so you can grasp the basics of music.

You’ll get to learn about scales and identify and sing intervals, but most importantly, you’ll be able to connect with every single musician that has ever existed through the common language that unites you all.

If you’re looking to learn music online, our 1st and 2nd courses (Music Theory course and Music Theory Beginners Course at Udemy) are our recommended places to start from!