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.
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.
Our Ranking Criteria for These Online Music Theory Classes
The best music theory course offered by e-learning sites is a must for those interested in learning how to play an instrument or write songs. These classes are designed for students of various skill levels, including beginner, intermediate, and advanced.
All recommended online music theory lessons have been reviewed on the following factors:
- Suitability level: Beginner, intermediate, advanced
- Depth of the course covered
- Number of videos and the total time duration of the course
- Number of enrolled students
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 are the topic picks!
Check out our nine best picks of online music theory lessons that can help you understand the language of music!
- The Best Music Theory Course – Udemy – Editor’s Choice
- Music Theory Class for Complete Beginners – Udemy – Best for Beginners
- Introduction to Music Theory – edX – Highly Recommended
- Best Free Online Music Theory Course – Yale University – Best to Explore Jazz, Pop, and Classica
- Online Music Theory Complete Lessons: (Parts 1, 2, & 3) – Udemy – IAOMEI Certified
- Approaching Music Theory: Melodic Forms and Simple Harmony – Coursera – Best for intermediate
- Getting Started With Music Theory: Michigan State University – Coursera -Most Informative Lesson
- Fundamentals of Music Theory: The University of Edinburgh – Coursera – Best to Learn Music Notation
- Advanced Course in Music Theory – Udemy – Best for Advance Level Learners
Spoiler alert: If you want to skip the entire list, we can recommend the two courses in music theory right now! Our recommendation is the best music theory course and music theory for complete beginners on Udemy because of the pricing, rating, and student reviews.
List of the 9 Best Complete Music Theory Online Courses in Detail
Although various e-learning sites claim they offer the best music theory classes, it is not the case. It is really hard to find online courses that can help you understand the subject.
This is the main reason our pick of the music theory courses is really the best. So, without any further delay, let’s start the journey of knowledge and music.
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 the 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 an award-winning composer Jonathan Peters who has 20 years of experience in the music field, this course will help you understand the music language and relate it to the melody.
The course bagged an impressive rating of 4.5 out of 5.0 indicating that it is loved by the students. 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.
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.
If you’re a beginner, this online music theory lesson is perfect for you. Student reviews are also positive, one student summed up the value of the course by stating:
“I have been singing and playing lead or rhythm guitar for 50 + years by ear only. I don’t know if my rating means anything. I got fed up with not knowing what I was playing and figured the way to learn theory was to start [sic] at the very beginning.
I think this course would give a person who knew nothing at all about music a good start to build upon. This is what I am doing now that I should have done when starting.”
What more? 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.
- A keyboard
- A smartphone with a metronome app
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 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.
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 this course for free, we give this course a score of 8.0/9.0.
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 it is ideal to break the course material into a week to get the most 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, pop, and classical, and then moves on to harmony, bass, form, and fugue.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t find reviews for this course as the commenting on the YouTube videos has 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 that we rated 8.0/9.0 based on the extensive course material.
5. Online Music Theory Complete Lessons – 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 available at an affordable price of $16.99, so you can master the theoretical concepts of music without spending much.
The 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.
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 appreciate 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”
As the reviews of the course are impressive, we rate it 8.0/9.0.
This CalArts course on Coursera teaches you the beautiful merger of the theoretics and the aesthetics of music in 69 videos and lectures.
This intermediate-level course 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 of teaching music theory. Even if you 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 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 8.0/9.0.
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 on tonality, notation, scales, keys, intervals, and harmony in 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.
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 is 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.
This exciting and demanding course for intermediate-level learners on Coursera is the best option if you are looking for improving 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 notation 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 the depth and the diverse instructor pool but mentioned that it takes motivation to complete the 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!
As it is a budget-friendly option with an extensive course outline, we rate it 8.5/9.0.
9. Advanced Course in Music Theory – Udemy
Over the course of 8 hours, Max Konyi will teach you music theory online. You can earn a diploma for it! Max is teaching music for over 17 years, making him an expert in this field.
As of now, 1707 graduated 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 work. Considering an affordable price tag of $9.99, you can rest assured that you will get the best education is the lowest price.
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.
- Physical instrument or music software on a computer
- Access to a keyboard (MIDI or physical)
Comparison of the Best Online Music Theory Lessons
|Music Theory Classes||Price||Features|
5. Online Music Theory Complete Lessons – Udemy
9. Advanced Course in Music Theory – Udemy
||Full lifetime access
Certificate of completion
Best Online Music Theory Courses – FAQs
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 the Music Theory Course and Music Theory Beginners Course on Udemy from our lineup.
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.
All established musicians know music theory. If you’re just 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.
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.
From 30 minutes to around 12 weeks, or even years! What we mean is, that it depends on the depth you are going for.
You could find any YouTube video teaching you music theory in under 30 minutes, as well as a diploma spanning over two years. The online courses we have recommended you take around 1 hour to 10 hours, and that’s a great place to start!
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 will 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 get started, our 1st and 2nd courses (Music Theory course and Music Theory Beginners Course on Udemy) are our recommended places to start from!