40 Free Resources To Learn Music Online

by Ashley McCann

Music has a powerful effect on people young and old — just listening can affect mood, memory, sleep, and can inspire a sense of belonging or feeling understood. However, scientific research has proven that the process of actually making music has a significant impact on growing brains, making it not only a cool hobby to have but also a worthwhile educational pursuit.

Multiple studies of children with musical training show increases in fine motor skills, pitch and rhythm perception, vocabulary, verbal intelligence, executive function, and better general academic performance. Learning how to make music can change the brain’s plasticity and has positive long-term effects on cognitive development.

So where do you start? Music lessons are an obvious choice, but not always easy to pursue due to cost and scheduling or an uncertainty about level of interest.

See Also: Why Teaching With Music Is So Effective 

Whether you’re looking to get started or supplement existing knowledge, there’s a wide range of opportunities online that can help get the ball rolling (or band playing) when it comes to making music.

Here’s a list of 40 suggestions to explore:

1. MusicTheory.net:

With free lessons, exercises, and tools, students have access to a variety of musical education essentials to help them learn everything from the basics like reading music to more complicated chord combinations, with assessment options and helpful tools to assist along the way.

2. Music Education Worksheets:

Designed for children from kindergarten to 6th grade, this site offers free worksheets listed from easiest to most difficult to assist children in the classroom, at home, or as a supplement to lessons.

3. Glossary of Musical Terms:

Understand the vocabulary of music with this free resource that acts as an online dictionary of musical terms.

4. ReadMusicFree.com:

Introduce students to sight reading music with basic lessons for beginners followed by fun browser-based games and tools to help reinforce what they’ve learned.

5. Science of Music Exploratorium:

This interesting online museum helps students explore the science of music with exhibits, movies, questions that encourage composition, percussion, listening, and curiosity about all things music.

6. Justin Guitar:

With over 1000 free guitar lessons, this donation-based site is an amazing resource for learning guitar or advancing your strumming skills.

7. Pitch Improver:

Practice perfect pitch with easy online ear training exercises to learn to identify notes wihout reference.

8. Metronome Online:

Keep the beat and learn rhythm with this free online metronome and practice log.

9. Zebra Keys:

These 50 free piano lessons include flash animations so students can see, hear, and play along as they learn through varying levels of difficulty.

10. Virtual Drumming:

If you lack the space (or tolerant house mates) for a drum set, this online option is a great alternative while you learn, and includes sheet music and online games to help beginners progress.

11. BBC Sing:

Although the page has been archived, it still provides helpful hints and tips on breathing exercises, posture, vocal range, and various tutorials to help you find your voice.

12. Furmanczyk Academy of Music:

This Youtube channel focuses on providing a free, in-depth musical education, including lessons on music theory and how to play the piano.

13. Berkelee Shares:

Berklee College of Music offers this collection of free music lessons for a variety of topics and instruments that can all be watched, read, downloaded, and shared for free.

14. Library of Congress National Jukebox:

Enjoy historical recordings of various artists, genres, and gems of over 10,000 disc sides that can turn your computer into a modern day gramophone as you step into a musical past.

15. New York Philharmonic KidZone:

The New York Philharmonic has an online game room that offers a range of engaging online games to encourage an interest in music, different instruments, concerts, composers and more.

16. Music Tech Teacher:

With over 130 elementary and middle school-level quizzes, puzzles, and games, there’s something for every interest and level of experience on this fun, free page.

17. Carnegie Hall Listening Adventures:

This interactive listening map uses Symphony No. 9 “From Around the World” to introduce students to the magic of music.

18. Design Your Own Opera:

Using Hansel and Gretel by Engelbert Humperdinck teaches the essential ingredients of creating an opera while teaching about overture, melody, and more in a personalized production.

20. Classics for Kids:

Create your own music by dragging and dropping notes and rests onto a musical staff to compose 4 measures of music in 4/4 time.

21. ArtsAlive:

Compose a 9 note melody with an easy drag and drop musical staff interface.

22. eMusicTheory:

With a long list of drills to help practice a wide range of musical-related topics, this is a great resource to learn more about reading and making music.

23. Quia:

Short for Quintessential Instructional Archive, Quia provides over 227 interactive activities to help teach almost everything about music.

24. 12 Steps:

Featuring Alice in Wonderland in Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, select the right sound to help Alice up the stairs.

25. Making Music Fun:

This comprehensive resource features over 500 free online lesson plans and resources as well as hundreds of printable worksheets.

26. Audacity:

Record and edit music and other audio with this free, online open-source multi-track audio editor and recorder.

27. Theta Music Trainer:

Practice ear training and music theory with games and courses designed by professional music teachers.

28. Virtual Musical Instruments:

Experiment with different instruments with virtual versions of a guitar, piano, panflute, drum set, bongos or guitar tuner.

29. LearnBass.net:

If you’re interested in learning the bass guitar, this site offers a free course that includes a lesson a day for a year, starting off easy for beginners and slowly progressing as skills build.

30. Fiddlerman:

Learn to play violin with online learning tools and lessons that encourages you to set goals and download printable sheet music.

31. Blitz Books:

Download free e-books on music theory including topics such as musicianship terms and signs, aural games, and cadence practice.

32. G. Major Music Theory:

Free PDF downloadable workbooks and flash cards make studying music theory easy for a range of ages and stages.

33. BlankSheetMusic.net:

Print your own blank sheet music pages to create original compositions.

34. Musical Keyboard:

This simple online piano keyboard emulator has an easy interface and labeled keys that span three musical octaves.

35. MIT Open Courseware:

Choose one of the online courses available through Massachusetts Institute of Technology to learn more about the history, technical aspects, or different genres or composers of music. 

36. San Francisco Symphony Keeping Score:

This amazing resource from the San Francisco Symphony encourages students to explore music through online exhibits about musical history, techniques, composers or musical scores.

37. Monkey Machine:

Create drum loops and rhythmic accompaniment with over 20 online drum kits and over 10,000 downloadable drum beats.

38. Session Town:

Learn to read music quickly and easily with 4 free online games that help you memorize and learn notes.

39. Open Yale Course:

Get a free Ivy League-level musical education that will teach you how to listen to music with this free Listening to Music course from Yale.

40. Opus Music Worksheets:

Download high-quality self-learning worksheets, flash cards, business forms, and music books appropriate for a wide range ages, beginning with young children.

What free musical resources would you add to the list? Let us know in the comments section.

40 Free Resources To Learn Music Online