5 Online Learning Resources for Beginner Through Advanced Musicians

Guest Post By: Chloe Brittain

Online music education is rapidly evolving, with new programs, courses, and technologies being released continually. From ocarina lessons to composing film music in the style of Hans Zimmer, you might be surprised what musical avenues you can explore with a Google search.

In addition to its diversity of content, the online medium provides a lot of scope for different learning styles. There’s something for everyone – interactive software, self-guided video courses, online private lessons, and live group workshops. Many online learning platforms also host thriving student communities, providing plenty of opportunity for peer collaboration and critique.

Here we’ll look at some of the top online resources for improving your musical skills – or learning completely new ones – from the comfort of home.

Online music courses and MOOCs

If you prefer learning through video-based tutorials, visit Udemy for a massive catalog of free and premium courses in subjects like piano, music theory, music production, and even more obscure areas of study, such as traditional Irish singing and world percussion. 

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Another good source of free courses is Coursera, which lists MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) from top-rated institutions like Berklee College of Music. At the time of this writing, Berklee offers MOOCs in areas like electronic music production, music theory and composition, music business, guitar, and vocal recording technology.

In addition to the above resources, many online music production courses have cropped up in recent years. If you’re trying to choose between a few different courses, you can usually find lots of student feedback on sites like TrustPilot and Reddit to help in your decision.

Interactive piano and keyboard learning software 

Music education technology has come a long way in recent years. Today’s piano learning apps employ artificial intelligence and gamification elements that help you advance your skills faster and motivate you to practice more. While many of these apps require a USB/MIDI connection so you can play along with the moving score, others are able to pick up sound via your device’s microphone and can be used with acoustic instruments.

Some piano learning apps, such as Skoove, offer free plans.

Free online guitar lessons for beginner and advanced guitarists

Many people dream of learning this versatile instrument, and there have never been so many useful learning tools for aspiring (and accomplished) guitarists.

For free online guitar and ukulele lessons, check out JustinGuitar.com. The site, launched in 2003 by Australian guitarist Justin Sandercoe, includes over 1,300 beginner through advanced video lessons covering a wide range of musical styles like blues, rock, folk, and jazz. If you’re new to the guitar, you’ll want to start with the popular Beginner Guitar Course, which will guide you through fundamentals such as chords, strumming techniques, and fingerstyle guitar. Justin is known for his fun and friendly teaching style, and the courses are designed to feel like private lessons and help you progress quickly.

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One-one-one music lessons and live group workshops

While self-guided courses and interactive apps can open the door to new musical skills, there’s no substitute for having a human teacher to watch and hear you play and give feedback on your technique.

Since the start of the pandemic, many top music artists have been offering one-on-one lessons or group workshops via Skype or Zoom. To find out who is teaching online, visit the websites of your favorite musicians, or better yet, ask around in online music forums and Facebook groups. You’ll find that many students are happy to share their experience and offer recommendations for a good instructor.

There are also services that connect music teachers with students for online lessons. One such site is Wyzant, with typical rates for music lessons ranging from $30-$50 an hour. (Of note, Wyzant also gives you the option to connect with local teachers for in-person tutoring.)

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Online training for traditional instruments and playing styles 

In this section I’d like to mention a couple resources covering more niche or traditional instruments and playing styles. The following sites offer subscription-based video training at reasonable prices:

  • Online Academy of Irish Music. If you’ve ever wanted to join in and play along at an Irish pub session, this online learning platform will give you the skills and confidence you need. In video-based courses taught by renowned Irish musicians, you’ll learn Irish music technique and ornamentation while building your repertoire of popular trad tunes. You don’t need to be able to read music to enjoy the classes, as Irish music is learned by listening. Among the 14 instruments covered are tin whistle, bodhran, bouzouki, flute, guitar, mandolin, fiddle, and uilleann pipes. 
  • Peghead Nation. This site provides beginner through advanced video instruction in “roots” music – bluegrass, folk, Irish, blues, jazz, etc. – taught by world-class teachers. Instruments covered include guitar, mandolin, banjo, fiddle, dobro, ukulele, and upright bass.
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There’s never been a better time to become a self-taught musician. Today’s online music learning resources are carefully engineered to help you progress efficiently in your musicianship and, more importantly, have tons of fun while doing it!

Author bio

Chloe Brittain blogs about online music courses and other learning resources at Just Music Stuff. She is currently learning Irish flute and guitar online.

StreamSing: A Free Virtual Reading Session with Jubilate Music Group

As our Annual Choral Sale continues, we’d like to highlight a fantastic opportunity to explore new music for Thanksgiving, Advent, and Christmas .

Join host Mark Cabaniss, President & CEO of Jubilate Music Group, as special guest Mary McDonald shares thoughts on her featured pieces plus the upcoming fall/Christmas singing season.

In this approximately hour-long express session, Mark previews new music from Jubilate Music Group for Thanksgiving, Advent & Christmas from Mary McDonald, Lloyd Larson, Mark Hayes, Hal Hopson, and more.

Here are just a few of the titles featured in StreamSing:

Emerging from Our Caves

Guest post by composer Robert Sterling

I’ve often said that if I were to compare myself to an animal it would be a bear. A Grizzly, to be more specific. Grizzlies eat half the year and sleep the remaining half. And they spend a lot of time in a cave. They are okay being alone. That describes the life of the composer/arranger in a lot of ways, actually.

I work in a cave – a very nice cave, mind you. I have high-speed internet, quality studio gear, central heat & air, and a bathroom and kitchen very nearby. But it’s still essentially a cave. And when I’m not working, all too often I am either eating or sleeping. Oh, and I growl a lot, but that’s more about my personality. All in all, I’m okay in my cave.

But for the past eighteen months or so, the whole world has been in a cave, isolated from our fellow bears (I mean human beings) except for Netflix, Prime Video, and Zoom. That is not normal for the vast majority of people. Now, we are slowly emerging to see if the world outside has changed much, and if so, how.

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Great Editing: The Difference between Success & Frustration!

Guest post by Ingrid Jacobson Clarfield and Phyllis Alpert Lehrer, editors of Classics for the Developing Pianist and Study Guides for Preparation, Practice & Performance Books 1-5

Classics for the Developing Pianist and Study Guides for Preparation, Practice & Performance Books 1-5

Our 5 anthologies contain the 100 pieces that pianists should learn to play. In the 5 companion Study Guides for each piece. Problems are IDENTIFIED and problems are SOLVED.                                                             

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Vocal Warm-Up Cheat Sheet: An Easy Way to Improve the Sound of Your Choir

Composer Michael John Trotta has prepared a cheat sheet full of vocal warm-ups to help you get your choir back in the swing of things and sounding better than ever.

Download Michael John Trotta’s Vocal Warm-Up Cheat Sheet here:

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Restore Our Song: A Homecoming

Guest post by composers Lee & Susan Dengler introducing Restore Our Song: A Resource for Restarting Your Choir, which includes an opening “kick-off” fellowship and service, devotions on the themes of deliverance and renewal, easy anthem suggestions to get the choir back in shape quickly, service ideas including a hymn sing, recruitment tips, a simple chorus for choir and congregation titled “Restore Our Song,” and more.

Finally, they were on their way!  After years of exile in Babylon, God’s people were returning to Judah.  Though some had decided to remain in Babylon, a contingent, led by the priest and scribe, Ezra, began the journey home.  To them, Babylon was still a land where they simply could not sing the Lord’s song, even when coaxed by their captors.  All they had been able to do was to hang their harps, the instruments that had once accompanied their voices, on the willow trees that stood guard by the river.  The drooping branches of the trees had served as a visual reminder of their own weeping. 

And then, they were home in their beloved native land!  In the second chapter of the book of Ezra, we find the listing of folks who returned to Jerusalem and other Judean towns. There were the priests, the temple servants, the gatekeepers of the temple.  And, there were the singers!

As the foundations of the new temple were laid, the singers began their song, as they praised and gave thanks to the Lord.  For those who listened, there was a mixture of emotions.  While some shouted for joy, others, who had remembered the former temple and all they had endured, wept with a loud voice.  It was hard to distinguish the shouts of joy from the noise of their crying.  Nevertheless, the combined sound of joyous shouts, sorrowful weeping and glorious singing could be heard for miles around.

We have thought about these people many times during the months of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially after we learned that singing in groups had the ability to spread the virus more virulently than almost anything else.  How could we sing the Lord’s song in such a land?  But now, it seems that we too are on our way home.  Almost daily, we learn of positive indicators that tell us that choirs can safely return to in-person, close-up, full-choir singing.  Thanks be to God!  This is the news for which we have been waiting over these past, long months!

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Rockschool: A Complete Beginners Guide

RSL Awards Academic Director Tim Bennett-Hart takes us through everything Rockschool

Rockschool is part of RSL Awards, an international awarding body based in London, UK. For the last 30 years we have been producing material to help people learn musical instruments and assess their progress.

What’s more it really works! Artists such as Ed Sheeran, Jess Glyn, and Wolf Alice have all taken RSL Awards qualifications and gone on to have incredible careers.

It’s not just for super stars. RSL Awards assess over 80,000 people each year across 50 countries – this is a world-wide community of creative people.






What’s in a Book

A typical book like Electric Guitar Level 3 contains – 6 full transcriptions of hit songs, 6 original songs, backing tracks and example audio to download, scales and technical exercises for the level.

Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit
Ike & Tina Turner – Proud Mary
Taylor Swift – I Knew You Were Trouble
Ed Sheeran – Thinking Out Loud
Bryan Adams – Summer of ’69
Otis Redding – (Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay


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Wounded Alleluias

Guest post by Joseph M. Martin, Composer and Director of Sacred Publications for Shawnee Press

The quest to combine ministry with artistry has been a lifelong calling for me.  I have always found my place and purpose in this pursuit.  Composing animates me and breathes into my spirit an inner peace that is deeply sacred.

Reassuring rituals are part of my writing process—simple disciplines made special by repetition, reminding me to be grateful for the labor to which I have been called. With faithful regularity the process unfolds over and over, familiar yet surprising, comfortable yet challenging.

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Edition Peters: Piano, Pedagogy, Studies and the Influence of Carl Czerny

Guest post by Christian A. Pohl, Professor of Piano and Piano Methodology, Head of Piano Department, University of Music and Theatre ‘Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy’ Leipzig 

The start of the nineteenth century saw a seismic shift in the world of domestic keyboard playing as the piano rapidly displaced the harpsichord and clavichord as the instrument of choice in homes across Europe. Seizing on this new opportunity, a series of piano instruction methods were swiftly published, followed by methods and studies over subsequent generations that covered the rudiments of piano playing, technique and performance practice. A huge number of these studies are represented in the Edition Peters Piano Catalogue.

Major names in the field of piano pedagogy were quickly established – including Beyer, Burgmüller, Hanon and Clementi – but it was one who followed behind them that arguably defined the shape of piano pedagogy for generations to come. Indeed, even today – nearly 200 years after this educational “meteorite” first struck the German-speaking piano world – the waves of his impact are still being felt. There is no getting around Carl Czerny when it comes to pianistic exercises or didactic approaches to building a virtuoso pianist.

Carl Czerny
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How to Make Your Own Virtual Choir

Make your own virtual choir performance in just 8 steps. This guide includes tips for planning the project, recording participant tracks, and editing the submissions into a final performance ready to post and send. For related technology and tools, visit Sheet Music Plus.

You’ve seen them everywhere online: grids of iPhone videos of people singing together in chorus. From Broadway stars and professional choral groups to church and community choirs and even ad hoc regional and global networks of singers, the defining group music making moment of the decade so far is…

VIRTUAL CHOIR

Here we’ll walk you through what a virtual choir is and give you a step-by-step guide to creating your own, whether for the choir you regularly sing with or direct, or for a new group of singers you’ve brought together for a specific project.

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