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10 Sources for Free Online Music Courses

See our list of the top free online music courses. Learn about what courses are available and what topics they cover to find the course that is right for you.

Music Courses for Credit

Students who are looking for a high-quality course that covers both music theory and history may consider Study.com's website to help them learn more about these topics. For a low monthly subscription, you can take a self-paced course packed with fun and engaging video lessons and quizzes.

There are several options for students interested in music topics, including some options that may help them earn college credit. Music related courses include:

Free Online Music Courses

These free music courses require no tuition payments or registration. In order to take full advantage of the courses, users may need specific software applications to access video and audio offerings. Quality speakers or headphones may be beneficial when listening to music clips and samples.

Annenberg Learner

  • Exploring the World of Music is appropriate for high school through adult students, as well as teachers. By watching half-hour videos, students examine topics like sound and environment, learning music, melody, harmony and music memory, as well as music composers and technology. Related print and audio/video media are also available for a fee.

British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)

  • Learn to Sing allows voice students to learn the importance of posture, breathing, warming up, clear enunciation/articulation and frequent practice. Learners may also access a 6-video tutorial for breathing exercises and fine-tuning strategies. The lessons include exercises and demonstrational videos.

Children's Music Workshop

  • Online Music Theory Game offers aspiring musicians a variety of lessons and trainers on multiple instruments. The lessons examine sheet music and provide video instructions in areas such as note duration, major and minor scales, key signatures and meter.

Emory University

  • Politics in Music includes 23 lessons presented by Courtney Brown, Ph.D. that cover such topics as patriotic music, protest music and labor music in this course. Students may view the podcasts through iTunes to learn how music transmits political ideas and possibly leads to political transformation.

Harvard University

  • The Unanswered Question with Leonard Bernstein has 6 lectures that span more than 11 hours where the composer Leonard Bernstein discusses musical topics such as syntax, semantics and phonology, in addition to what he called 'the crisis of the 20th century'. Learners may view the videos through iTunes or YouTube. Interested parties may also purchase these lectures in DVD or print format on Amazon.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  • Introduction to Musical Composition is an undergraduate course that broaches topics such as classical music of various cultures, jazz, graphing sound, timbre, electronic music and rhythm.
  • Music and Technology examines the aesthetics and history of music and technology during the last several centuries. Select video lectures and audio music clips are available.
  • Music Composition focuses on composition projects in melodic writing, counterpoint, melody/accompaniment, timbre/rhythm and variable texture. In each of these courses, students complete reading and listening activities, some of which have available links, although users must locate most readings independently.

Open University

  • An Introduction to Music Theory focuses on topics such as clefs, rhythmic meter, pitch values and time signatures in the 8-hour course.
  • Voice-Leading Analysis of Music 1: The Foreground is the 1st in a 3-part series. Music students learn about the Schenkerian analysis method, also known as voice-leading analysis, through examples of audio clips from Mozart piano sonatas.

University of California - Irvine

  • Introduction to Pitch Systems in Tonal Music is a 9-part course that requires basic math skills and an understanding of basic musical terms and notations. Learners will investigate tonal systems and the math concepts used in scales and chords. Lessons are in video format and may be viewed full-screen.

Yale University

  • Listening to Music has 23 lectures that employ print, audio and video. Students will practice aural skills in an effort to understand Western music more efficiently, examine how composers put music together and listen to a variety of styles. The composers studied include Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Elton John and Bocelli.

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