Music Theory

The 6 Best Music Theory Courses To Learn Online In 2024

Written by Dan Farrant

Last updated

Learning music theory is hard. I know; I’ve been there. There are so many different concepts to learn, and they all seem to be unrelated. It’s hard to know what you need to know and what to study next. Most people get overwhelmed and give up before they even get started because it’s just too confusing and frustrating.

One solution is to use a step-by-step online music theory course to walk you through everything. There are so many fantastic educators who have put together all their knowledge in easy-to-understand structured video courses to help you finally understand what all the notes are all about. Whether you’re a beginner just starting out or looking for something more advanced, there is a course for you.

In this post, I’m going to list some of the best music theory courses I’ve found online and am happy to recommend. Let’s get started.

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post may contain affiliate links, which means we get a commission if you purchase at no additional cost to you.

1. Hello Music Theory’s Video Course

Over 99% of the content on HelloMusicTheory is completely free, and I definitely want to keep it that way. But we also have some paid products for those who want to go a bit deeper, one of which is our Grade One Music Theory Video Course.

I’ve been teaching music theory for over 12 years and in that time, have taught hundreds of students one-to-one and hundreds of thousands online (probably close to 1 million now) the basics of music theory.

I’ve designed this course to save you hours and hours of time and have condensed everything you need to know to pass the ABRSM grade 1 theory exam into just over 30 videos.

You get lifetime access and can ask any questions that you have in the course platform or reach out to me directly, and I’ll be happy to help. For more information and to sign up with a 20% discount click the button below.

2. Music Matters

Next up is the music theory courses from Music Matters. They’ve put together a huge amount of content for the modern music student, but their video courses covering the ABRSM grades 1-8 syllabus is fantastic.

Taught by expert teacher Gareth Green, he simplifies every topic in an easy and understandable way.

Whether you’re looking to take the ABRSM syllabus or not, the grades 1 – 5 courses are a great foundation for every musician to take. Gareth explains every topic in great detail, with written examples, and plays the keyboard so you can hear the examples in real music.

Each grade is available individually or you can bundle them together for a discount. You also get lifetime access to them and can watch them from anywhere with the great platform that makes it easy to track your progress.

I highly recommend it as an easy course to recommend in our list. Check it out by clicking below.

3. Music Theory Comprehensive Complete!

At number three, we have an extensive set of music theory courses from educator Jason Allen with his course Music Theory Comprehensive Complete!

As its name suggests, it’s a college-level music theory course that’ll teach you all the basics of music theory to help you play your instrument and read music better.

Jason makes it very easy to follow with a simple step-by-step process with each video building on the previous one’s knowledge. He covers everything from basic music notation, pitch, and rhythm to more complex harmony and songwriting.

It’s hugely popular with not many courses that can boast over 75,000 students, definitely worth checking out, and at a very affordable price.

4. Coursera

For those of you who like a more formal teaching environment, then I’d suggest taking a look at the music theory courses over at Coursera.

These are from the University of Edinburgh and have a specific enrollment date, so you won’t be able to just sign up whenever you like.

This course starts at the beginning and will, like the others, teach you a great fundamental understanding of the basic building blocks of music with lessons on pitch, scales, modes, and chords as well as rhythm, form, and harmonic function.

You can enroll for free or pay a small fee and receive a certificate of completion when you pass. There are also lots of other great courses on the platform for music students (like this one) so it’s worth a look either way.

5. Shaw Academy’s Music Theory Course Online

Up next we have a great course from Shaw Academy. What sets this one apart is that it’s completely free for 4 weeks (but hurry as this is a limited-time offer) so you can try it out completely risk-free.

Like the others, it covers all the fundamentals and walks you through your first steps in music theory with lessons on pitch and rhythm, notation and scales, before moving on to ear training, chords, and then even composition.

Find out more and try it out completely free by clicking below.

6. Learning Music Theory on YouTube

Some of the courses I’ve covered above have free access for a certain period so learning music theory doesn’t have to be expensive and can be completely free!

But, if you’re not quite ready to purchase a course, that doesn’t have to mean you can start learning.

YouTube is an amazing resource for students to learn about different music theory topics, with dozens of great teachers sharing free lessons online.

The only downside is you don’t get the step-by-step walkthrough always knowing what to cover next that you get with a premium course. But, for those on a real budget, it’s definitely worth a look.

To help, I’ve put together a list of some of my favorite music theory YouTube channels that you can check out below.

Conclusion: Which one Should you get?

Anyway, that wraps up our post on the top music theory courses available online, I hope it helps give you some ideas.

Whichever one you go for, the most important thing is that you actually complete it.

So many people start with the best intentions of learning music theory but quickly lose enthusiasm and stop putting the work in.

Sometimes actually paying for a course is a good way of committing to it as you’ve invested a small amount and are far more likely to follow through on your goal.

If you’re still wondering which one to go for, I’d recommend either the Music Matters courses or Hello Music Theory.

Each of these will give you a real basic understanding of the fundamentals and are explained in simple language with loads of examples.

Feel free to reach out with any questions you have, and I’ll be happy to point you in the right direction.

If you’ve taken another music theory course that you could also recommend? Send me an email and I’ll check it out and maybe add it to my list!

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Dan Farrant, the founder of Hello Music Theory, has been teaching music for over 15 years, helping hundreds of thousands of students unlock the joy of music. He graduated from The Royal Academy of Music in 2012 and then launched Hello Music Theory in 2014. He plays the guitar, piano, bass guitar and double bass and loves teaching music theory.