In ancient times (pre-Internet, pre-broadband, pre-SmartPhone), musicians really only had a few choices for learning to play their instruments, figuring out how music theory works, understanding music history, and grappling with the music business:

1) Go see a private music instructor
2) Read and study a lot of books
3) Take a class at a local college

Luckily, those days are over. Sure, you still have all of those choices (though instead of reading books, you might now be watching online videos or reading text on your Kindle), but a whole new world has opened up with the invention of MOOCs.

What is a “MOOC”? MOOC stands for “Massive Open Online Course” and it is taking the world by storm. You now have the opportunity to enroll in college courses online and take self-paced lessons online. Some MOOCs are free, and some cost thousands of dollars and earn college credits toward a degree.

Colleges, universities, and companies have all climbed aboard the MOOC bandwagon, and there are many, many offerings for musicians. Here are some of the possibilities for you to improve your music knowledge and skills:


This company has over 100 music courses, from free to $300. Some courses are designed by experts and some by musicians who want to share what they know.


Coursera specializes in making college courses available to the public online. You follow the instructor’s schedule and get access to all of their materials.

Berklee College of Music

Berklee has many online offerings and has taken the lead among major schools in making their courses available worldwide via the internet:
BerkleeShares: This includes free sample courses.
BerkleeX: In partnership with edX, free online courses, but limited subjects right now.
Berklee Online: Berklee’s courses offered online for college credits and continuing education credits. Most of these courses are over $1,000.

This is a stand-alone website that is offering its own courses in music software and music recording as well as online lessons for guitar, piano, drums, bass, and vocals.


Like Udemy, a leading company for online learning. Currently Udacity has no music offerings. It seems inevitable that they will expand their courses in the future.

Education Portal

This website has listings and links to free online music courses.

If you’ve been thinking that now is the time to improve your music knowledge and skills, you have many ways to get that knowledge quickly and efficiently.

Let me know if you have other sources of online music learning.

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