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Sources for Free Online Music Courses

Higher Education Articles April 8, 2013

Here is a list of some of the best free online music courses. In this article, students will find out the type of topics that are covered as well as learn about what courses are available, so they can find the course that is suitable for them.

Online Course Requirements and Information

These free music courses do not require any registration or tuition payment, and students will not earn any credits from them. Students who want to take full advantage of these courses are required to have specific software applications to access audio and video offerings. Quality headphones or speakers will be beneficial when listening to music samples and clips.

Yale University

Video, audio and print are employed in this course’s twenty-three lectures. Aural skills are practiced by students in order to get a more efficient understanding of western music. The process also helps students listen to various styles and examine the way music is put together by composers. Bocelli, Elton John, Beethoven, Mozart and Bach are among the composers studied.

University Of California – Irvine

This nine-part course is mainly for students who possess basic math skills, and understand basic musical notations and terms. Math concepts used in the chords and scales as well as tonal systems are investigated by learners. Students can get full-screen views of lessons in video format.

Open University

Music students who are beginners will enroll in the Introduction to Music Theory course that spans eight hours and train in subject areas such as time signatures, pitch values, rhythmic meter and clefs. The first of a three-part series is an advanced course titled, Voice-Leading Analysis of Music 1: The Foreground that spans twenty hours. Students enrolled in the program are taught about voice-leading analysis, referred to as the Schenkerian analysis method; audio clips from piano sonatas by Mozart are used as examples in the instruction process.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Various topics are discussed in an undergraduate course titled Introduction to Music Composition; these topics include rhythm, electronic music, timbre, graphing sound, jazz, and classical music of various cultures. The Music and Technology course involve the examination by undergraduate students of the history and aesthetics of music and technology over many centuries in the past. The course includes select audio music clips and video lectures.
The Music composition course can be taken advantage of by students with backgrounds in composition as well as graduate students. The focus is on composition projects in variable texture, timbre/rhythm, melody/accompaniment, counterpoint and melodic writing. All of these courses allow students to complete the listening and reading activities; the activities are facilitated through available web links, although most readings are expected to be located independently by the students.

Harvard University

Various musical topics are discussed by composer Leonard Bernstein in six lectures spanning over eleven hours; these topics include phonology, semantics and syntax. Bernstein also discusses what he refers to as ‘the crisis of the 20th century’. The videos may be viewed by learners through YouTube or iTunes. These lectures can also be purchased by interested parties in print or DVD format on Amazon.

Emory University

Twenty-three lessons are presented in this course by Courtney Brown, Ph.D., covering topics such as labor music, protest music and patriotic music. The podcasts that may be viewed by students through iTunes teach how music can be used to transmit political ideas and possibly lead to political transformation.

Children’s Music Workshop

In the Online Music Theory Game, aspiring musicians are offered various trainers and lessons on several instruments. Sheet music is examined and video instructions provided by the lessons in areas including meter, key signatures, minor and major scales and note duration.

British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)

Voice students are taught the importance of frequent practice, clear articulation/enunciation, warming up, breathing and posture through video instruction on the Learn to Sing website. A six-video tutorial can also be accessed by learners who want to get instruction on fine-tuning strategies and breathing exercises. Demonstrational videos and exercises are also used in instructional media.

Annenberg Learner

Exploring the World of Music is an instructional series comprising twelve videos that are useful for teachers, as well as adults and high school students. Half-hour videos allow the examination of topics such as music memory, harmony, melody, learning music, and sound and environment. Students also get to examine music technology and composers. Related video/audio and print media are also available to students for a fee.

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