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Welcome to the Music Theory Academy

TOTALLY FREE resource for musicians who want to take their musicianship to the next level by learning about music theory.

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I’ve been reading music for 30 years and never known how to determine what key a piece of music is written in. I go it in 3 minutes with you! Thanks!

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Getting Started with Music Theory

I have grouped a lot of the lessons on this site together to produce a number of free online music theory courses depending on your level of musicianship.

If you are a complete beginner you should start with the Beginner Music Theory Lesson. This lesson is the start of my Music Theory for Beginners course and will give you a basic introduction to reading music. The beginner course covers topics such as pitch, Treble Clef, note lengths, basic rhythms, dynamics, tempo and tones/semitones.

Intermediate Music Course

If you already have some knowledge of musical theory then I would suggest looking at some of the topics in my Intermediate Course. This course includes Bass Clef, sharps and flats, rests, complex rhythms and more complicated dynamics.

Advanced Music Theory

For those of you who are already fairly advanced in your musical understanding the Advanced Course will help you learn how to read music of all levels. The advanced topics include dotted notes, tied notes, triplets, time signatures, Alto Clef and Tenor Clef.

You will also find lots of other free music theory lessons throughout the site covering topics such as structure, chords, tonality, composing and many more! Feel free to browse through the online lessons to find the topic you are looking for or use the search bar at the bottom of the site if you are looking for a specific aspect of musical theory.

There are also a number of music theory quizzes and worksheets to help you embed your understanding.

Whether you are just starting out as a musician and are looking for some music theory for beginners, studying for an advanced music theory examination or simply want to become a better musician then the music theory academy is the ideal place for you to learn music.

An understanding of music theory is a crucial skill for any musician to have. It enables us to understand how music is composed and helps us bring out the best in our performances on our instruments. An understanding of the theoretical aspects of music helps us explore how music has developed throughout history and how each generation of composers has built on the knowledge of their predecessors, whilst challenging the conventions of the time. It helps us become better composers ourselves as we draw on this knowledge.
We can learn how music has developed from early monophonic expressions of melody to more complex polyphonic sounds. We can understand how tonality has changed through time from the modes of the Medieval musical period and Renaissance period to the major and minor keys that are so dominant in the Western Music tradition. It also enables us to understand how and why composers have continued to experiment with new discordant tonalities through expressions such as serialism and atonality.

Music theory also enables us to explore the wonderful new genres of the 21st century as technology in music has become so crucial. An understanding of rhythm is vital to drum programming and sampling, whilst the ability to be able to recognise and blend different timbres together is a very important skill for any sound engineer working on a complex mix in a studio.

Theory should not be seen as something that stifles musical creativity, but as a tool that helps it flourish in composers and performers. It can be the foundation upon which music can be constructed. It is certainly possible to write and perform fantastic music without a formal music education – there are literally thousands of musicians doing so in the contemporary music world. However, a musician who takes the time to learn and gain a better understanding of the theoretical aspects of the subject will always be challenged and rewarded.

I really hope that the resources on this site help you in your ongoing journey through the wonderful world of music!