Music Theory

Learn Music Theory Online with These Top Music Theory Tools

By Claire Robertson
Learn music theory online with Hoffman Academy.

Interested in beginning music theory? We have some tips and music theory tools that can help you learn music theory online

What is music theory? Music theory, or the study of the building blocks of music, is a huge part of appreciating and learning to play and create music! Learning music theory as a beginner gives you the skills you need to sight read music and understand musical language. At Hoffman Academy, we have extra music theory tools as part of our curriculum that make it easy to learn music theory online. Our curriculum includes the basics of music theory, including identifying note names and rhythms, reading music on the staff, and chords as part of our online lessons. We also include musical theory supplementary materials, like printable worksheets and fun games that encourage your understanding of musical theory concepts.

Ready to improve your music theory knowledge with Hoffman Academy’s games, printables, and lessons? Sign up for Premium today! 

Where to start with music theory as a beginner

A great place to start with music theory as a beginner is with the building blocks of music. If we think of musical theory like we think of learning to read, it makes sense to start by identifying the smallest parts that make up musical knowledge. When we learn to read, we start with the pieces that make up words – like letters or sounds – before trying to read whole sentences!  In the same way, music theory basics start with note names and written rhythms. From identifying rhythms and notes on the staff, a beginner music theory student might then graduate to building and identifying chords and chord qualities. 

At Hoffman Academy, we believe that students learn theory concepts best when they hear and experience them. From the very beginning of our lessons, you’ll experience music theory content in the context of songs. You’ll learn note names and the keys they correspond to as you learn songs that use those notes. In the same way, you’ll learn rhythmic patterns with songs that use those rhythms. Next comes learning the note names on the staff and how to read notes in treble and bass clefs. Experiencing the sounds before learning written music notation, and then having that foundation of experience when you’re introduced to written music, makes music learning feel more natural and intuitive. 

It can feel overwhelming to start something new, like learning music theory online. We recommend learning music theory with a method that works for your learning styles. At Hoffman Academy, we offer web-based video instruction, articles, printable materials, and games, so there is something for everyone. You can start learning the basics of music theory by reading articles, like Treble Clef Notes and Bass Clef Notes. After you’ve been introduced to reading treble and bass clef notes, you can take advantage of materials like our downloadable Note Finders to practice! With Hoffman Academy Premium, learning music theory is even more fun with our educational games, like Alphabet Towers, which will help you learn the musical alphabet, and Staff Crawler, which provides practice reading notes. 

Can you learn music theory online?

At Hoffman Academy, we believe the answer is yes! Learning music theory online as a beginner offers you unparalleled convenience and lessons from the comfort of your own home on your own schedule. By taking online music theory lessons, you maximize your busy schedule without making a large financial commitment to additional tutoring.  An online environment provides opportunities like apps and games that give immediate feedback as you practice note names or intervals. 

At Hoffman Academy, our web-based app harnesses the power of technology through video examples that teach music theory and proper piano techniques. Our method is unique because it focuses on experience before explanation and gives students tools like sight reading and the ability to learn music by ear from the very beginning. 

In addition to the great materials and games available on Hoffman Academy, there are other resources like MusicTheory.Net. MusicTheory.Net offers musical theory resources like identification of notes on the staff, exercises building chords and key signatures, identification of notes on the keyboard, and ear training exercises. For musicians interested in the guitar, there are also fretboard identification practices too!

Learning music theory without instruments

Yes, it is possible to learn many aspects of music theory without an instrument! You can focus on learning music theory skills involved in reading and listening to music, like identifying music notes on the staff. Ear training apps online can also teach you the fundamental skills of hearing how pitches relate to each other and can teach you how to understand chord qualities. You can also practice by listening to songs and picking out things like tonality – if the song is major or minor  – and time signature and meter. 

Our top recommendations for studying music theory online

Our top recommendations for studying music theory online include finding resources that work for you and your learning styles! There are many apps and websites out there that cover the basics. For a fun, game-centered way to learn music theory online, we recommend Hoffman Academy Premium. For students interested in a website that offers customizable and comprehensive musical theory resources, we recommend MusicTheory.Net. If you are someone who learns well from videos and who is interested in a rigorous and academic take on music theory, you can watch Yale’s Music 112 Listening To Music recorded lectures. 


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