The Best Resources to Learn Music Online
Learning music can be extremely fun and rewarding but that doesn’t mean it’s easy (and I don’t think anybody would ever suggest it is). In fact, picking up an instrument and sticking with it is always going to be tough — but something that makes so many people quit their musical dreams is the fact they don’t know where to go to learn more. Hiring a Private Instrument Teacher is always a great option but for some, it’s not practical for any number of reasons such as price, time, or perhaps even location. Thankfully, these factors no longer need to keep people from realizing their ambitions as future superstars.
In-person lessons and instruction are always going to be the best ways to go but that’s not all there is! We live in a digital age and everything you could want or need is available online, including a great musical education. Whether you want to become a Singer, a guitarist, a Composer, an Engineer, or even someone who churns out electronic beats for the biggest pop stars of the day, there are plenty of ways you can better yourself via the internet. If you’ve never thought to head online to learn more about music or performance or if you’ve only ever tried one source or destination, you should seriously rethink what you’re doing and look further because there’s so much out there you have left to discover.
Here are a handful of online options to help you practice and learn how to be the best musician or performer you can be.
YouTube has completely changed the music industry for everyone and in many different ways. Not only has it become the premier online destination for people looking to hear the biggest hits from some of the most popular artists on the planet, it’s also a great way for up-and-coming artists to break out and make their names known.
If you’re someone who is just getting started in music or someone with a passion for lifelong learning, YouTube can be a fantastic resource to start honing your craft and becoming a better artist. There is almost everything you could hope to find on the site and no matter what you want to learn — to sing, to play guitar, to mix, to engineer, to create a home studio, to dance, to DJ, to yodel — there are surely several people on the platform who have some advice to give that could be valuable to you.
There are two main caveats when it comes to using YouTube to become a better musician and they both need to be heeded and considered carefully. First, when you start perusing one of the biggest websites on the internet, you’ll quickly see there are a seemingly unlimited number of options. It may appear as if everybody who has ever picked up an instrument has decided to become a teacher online and you’re not too far off if you think so. A quick search for “learning music” on YouTube turns up 139 million options and even when you narrow it down and look for something much more specific, there are still going to be more clips than you’ll ever have time to sit through.
If you spent all your time watching videos about learning to play music, you probably wouldn’t actually ever play music. Start with those accounts which are the most popular with whatever instrument you’re looking to master (which can include your voice) and you can decide where to go from there.
The second most important thing to consider before selecting an online teacher is what their qualifications are. Is this person recording themselves simply someone who decided they were all of a sudden an expert or is it someone who truly possesses the qualifications to be instructing? You will run into this same question when selecting a vocal or instrumental teacher offline as well, so don’t think it’s just an issue when it comes to YouTube. Look into the person and see if they have real-life experience that makes them someone worthy of listening to or if they’re just a wannabe.
The second most important thing to consider before selecting an online teacher is what their qualifications are. Is this person recording themselves simply someone who decided they were all of a sudden an expert or is it someone who truly possesses the qualifications to be instructing?
You may never have heard the term before but MOOCs are one of the greatest things to happen to the internet in a long time — especially for people looking to use the net to better themselves. MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Course and it’s exactly what it sounds like. There are organizations set up to offer online-only classes for anybody (and everybody) who wants to sign up and while this concept has been around for many years, only recently have major institutions gotten in on the fun and given some of these platforms a legitimacy they never before possessed.
If you’ve never taken the time to explore MOOCs before I suggest starting with either Coursera or edX, both of which are two of the largest and most respected sites online. What is so phenomenal about those two options is they don’t create their own classes and hire their own teachers, but rather, they partner with some of the most famous universities around the world to offer educational opportunities to those who might not have the option of attending their institutions in any other sense. Names like Berklee, Yale, Duke, Juilliard, and Harvard all have musical offerings and those are just a handful of the dozens of schools signed up to do some of the teaching.
I performed a quick search on Coursera for “music” and I found the following classes, all of which are open to the public: Introduction to Classical Music (offered by Yale), The Art of Music Production (Berklee), Introduction to Guitar (Berklee), Sharpen Your Piano Artistry (Juilliard), and Introduction to Italian Opera (Dartmouth). As you can see, the majority of the offerings are for those just getting started or who may only have a basic understanding of what they’re doing — but chances are that’s exactly what you need.
Now, MOOCs aren’t always the best place to find classes that will actually help you become a better musician or singer by showing you technique or how to play a certain chord but becoming a great artist involves so much more than just those two things. This is where these courses can be extremely beneficial. The ones I mentioned above are truly for beginners; if you want to become an expert, you can certainly start with these, but you’ll need to move on eventually.
MOOCs can also be great when it’s time to learn more about the business of music and everything else connected to the industry. Sure it’s not playing but it’s still important! It’s best to be fully-rounded and to understand everything you can about music and the industry and no amount of education is going to hurt you.
Colleges have been taking their classes online for many years now and while some have been slower to join the world wide web than others, it’s now difficult to find a school that doesn’t offer at least some courses on the internet. I mean, it’s the 21st century, after all. Music is a bit tougher to teach online, especially when looking specifically at production or performance but this doesn’t mean nobody has been able to make it work!
Schools like Berklee, Juilliard, and Full Sail all have options online to make you a better musician, while many, many other institutions have tons of courses to help you learn more about the business of music, music theory, music education, and so on. Chances are if there’s a school you’re interested in that offers either classes or complete degrees, some or all of them will also be available online.
Berklee just added its first master’s degrees in both Music Business and Music Production — which is huge for anyone looking to advance their careers. This might not be the level you’re at right now but it’s certainly good to know for the future and it shows where things are headed in the education industry.
You can pay only a fraction of what you might need to shell out to head to someone’s office or home or to have them come to you since it’s all online — but you still receive a proper musical education from someone who really knows what they’re doing.
This may initially sound unhelpful but there are literally hundreds of websites out there which can help you become a better musician, no matter what you’re playing. Between blogs, video sites (other than YouTube) and startups created specifically with the intention of assisting those just starting out, there has never been more instruction out there. Now you just need to sift through it all and find what you’re looking for and what works for you!
Pages like Zebra Keys (piano), Jamorama (guitar), Drumming.com (drums), Active Bass (bass) and Violin Online (violin) are all examples of websites existing solely to help you become better at your craft and for every one I mentioned, there are a dozen others for each instrument. You can find similar outlets dedicated to singing, commonly-selected instruments, and even less popular options…it just requires some research. Many of these online destinations may not be the coolest-looking pages and some haven’t been updated in quite some time, but this doesn’t mean the words and videos featured on them aren’t still relevant to you! Keep in mind these options may be best for when you’re just beginning or shortly thereafter and after you’ve been playing for some time you may want to either move on from online sources or find ways to mix them in with your in-person lessons.
Speaking of in-person, I’d also suggest checking out LessonFace, a startup allowing you to hire music teachers and instructors from all around the world. You can pay only a fraction of what you might need to shell out to head to someone’s office or home or to have them come to you since it’s all online — but you still receive a proper musical education from someone who really knows what they’re doing.
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