If you look at some of the biggest hits in music (especially early on) there are some genius choices when it comes to the music theory involved. Bands such as the Beatles set standards and discovered what sounded good without a deep knowledge of music theory. Not everyone can be so lucky! That’s where the best online music theory courses come in.
Online Music Theory Courses Highlighted
- Fundamentals of Music Theory – University of Edinburgh
- Getting Started With Music Theory – Michigan State University
- Music Theory Comprehensive Complete – Udemy
- Learn Music Theory Free – Andrew Furmanczyk
- Herbie Hancock – Masterclass
What Makes a Great Online Music Theory Course?
The following atributes are what to look for in a course and what you should be able to accomplish after you have completed a course.
When you know your theory, you start to automatically know which notes will work as harmonies, what chord progressions can inspire the emotions you’re looking for, and how to tie them all together. This saves you time fumbling around with the keys hoping you find a good combo, and leaves more time to perfect your tones and mixes.
Learn at Your Own Pace
Anyone pursuing a career in the music industry, especially producers, will have a busy schedule that is hard to fit a normal class time into. That being said, if you find an online music theory course, you will get to work at your own times and focus on what you have trouble with until you are ready to move on.
Contribute to Production
Artists will respect and appreciate a producer who can contribute to their creative process and improve upon their ideas. After completing a course, you should feel confident working with other artists and providing direction in rehearsals or in the studio.
Our Top Picks
To find you the best online music theory courses we have searched through multiple platforms that are known for having comprehensive and effective ways of learning, and compiled them here. We tried to list ones that the students have enjoyed as well as being cost effective.
The Best Online Music Theory Courses
These courses are listed based on experience level from beginner to experienced.
1. Fundamentals of Music Theory – University of Edinburgh
- Who it’s for: Beginners
- Price: $49
In this online music theory course, you will be started with the most basic practices of music theory. This course is led by a team of six instructors who are all associated with the University of Edinburgh which is one of the top online learning universities in the world.
The course will take you approximately 8 hours to complete and can be done at your own pace. Fundamentals of Music Theory also boasts some impressive career stats noting that 43% of people who have taken this course started a new career in music after completion.
2. Getting Started With Music Theory – Michigan State University
- Who it’s for? Beginner to Intermediate
- Price: $49
This beginner course includes the understanding of rhythm and meter, intervals, keys, and more. Taught by Bruce Taggart, a professor at Michigan State University, this course is a great intro to music theory that includes a shareable certificate of completion.
3. Music Theory Comprehensive Complete – Udemy
- Who it’s for: All Levels
- Price: $75- $115
Music Theory Comprehensive Complete is a a series of courses designed to walk you through each step of music theory from beginner to expert and everything in between. Course author Jason Allen has written pieces for the Minnesota orchestra as well as TV, and teaches at Augsburg University in Minneapolis, MN. His online music theory courses are the best selling and top rated courses on Udemy.
4. Learn Music Theory Free – Andrew Furmanczyk
- Who it’s for: All Levels
- Price: Free
Andrew Furmanczyk has created a 50 part video series where he teaches music theory for free on Youtube. His lessons have over 1 million views and helped countless people improve their music theory knowledge.
The only downside I have to this offering is the lack of organization compared to other online courses. If you are looking for a regimented course with a syllabus and certificate of completion, stick to offerings from platforms like Coursera, if you are looking for brush up on certain music theory aspects for free, Andrea Furmanczyk might be a good option for you.
5. Herbie Hancock – Masterclass
- Who it’s for: Experienced Jazz Musicians
- Price: $15 per month when billed annually
Herbie Hancock has put together his own online music theory master class course where he discusses composing for jazz. In his course, he discusses harmonies, chord voicings, improvisation, and much more. While Herbie Hancock is an excellent teacher, the concepts covered in his course are geared toward musicians who have a strong understanding of music theory. If you are looking for an in-depth advanced class, Herbie Hancock Masterclass might be right up your alley.
Learning the Fundamentals
Whether you are an artist or producer it’s never too late to learn music theory.
Learning music theory will speed up your writing and producing processes as well as give you the confidence to insert knowledge in a group music session. Getting started with any of the courses above is easy, inexpensive, and can boost your musical career over time.
Compare Music Theory Courses
|Course Name||Offered By||Skill Level||Price|
|Fundamentals of Music Theory||University of Edinburgh||Beginner||$49|
|Getting Started With Music Theory||Michigan State University||Beginner||$49|
|Music Theory Comprehensive Complete||Udemy||All Levels||$75 – $115|
|Learn Free Music Theory||Andrew Furmanczyk||All Levels||Free|
|Herbie Hancock||Masterclass||Advanced||$15 per month when billed annually|
Jarrett is a hardcore Lover-Jazz Lover-Rock Lover-Blues Lover-just a music lover. He has the hair to match — Jarrett and provides in-depth insight into all things guitar and music engineering.