Learning Music Theory Effectively

Best Music Courses and Music Lessons

Finding the best music courses or the best music lessons to fit your needs takes time and energy.
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Music Theory Course | Advanced Music Theory | Best Beginner Piano Course | Improvising | Bass Guitar | Bass Groove Workshop | Beginner Guitar | Song Writing

Everyone that plays or wants to play music could probably find something that they can use to help them learn something new in music or take the next step. 

As I developed the lesson materials for the Music Theory Workshop (a.k.a Music Learning Workshop – Getting It Down Cold ) I explored and continue to explore the various options for learning music.

Not everyone has the same needs or objectives when it comes to learning more about music. So in order help those interested in learning more music I’ve begun to compile a set of references and resources that I have found to be the best music courses or best music lessons that are available. You’ll see many of them linked on the site sidebar, but I’ve often been asked:

“Which are the best music courses or lessons for my situation?”

So I’m listing the ones that I think will help you the most and giving you a short summary with where to get additional information if it seems appropriate to your needs. As I discover additional resources I’ll update this page. Also be sure to get on the mailing list to stay up to date with new developments.

Best Music Courses for Straight Music Theory

1. Getting It Down Cold Music Theory Course

Music Theory Course

Music Theory Course

OK, let’s be upfront here, I’m biased and going to tell you that I believe the workshop’s Music Theory Course we sell here at MTW is the most effective and efficient course to learn how to read music. Music is a language and needs to be treated like that. The various principals need to be understood and the details on how the rudiments of music are put together should be tackled head on.

The music lessons and course were developed because I felt there was not an adequate and practical approach to teaching music theory for the everyday music student that was effective and would truly stick with them. Most reference books made your eyes glaze over after reading a few pages. All you did was read the essence and did not get engaged in the actually learning process. Therefore, the Getting It Down Cold Music Theory Series was created.

This course is made up of 4 workshops Notes | Rhythm Mastery | Key Signatures & Scales | Creating Chords, each of which is available individually or in combination. The approach of these course materials is to start at a high level overview and work into the details. It’s a method which engages all learning senses and is further explained in detail in the workshop music learning methods report.

Due to several requests I have recently broken the workshops into individual lessons for those that only want to get target focus on one element.

The short coming of this course is that it uses the keyboard as the primary reference instrument and relies on you to understand the basics of your instrument such as fingering and playing the specific notes. However, the music theory is valid for all instruments, singers, and songwriters.

The feedback on how the course augments those that are already taking lessons has been outstanding as the teachers seem to focus more on the mechanics of playing and not the elements of music itself.

2.  Materials of Music

Materials of Music

Materials of Music

Materials of Music is a college level course book developed by Robert Reno, and he’s become an acquaintance of mine through because of some conversations we started up about publishing music course books digitally online and teaching music. 

Bob and I shared the frustration with the current offerings and approaches to learning of music theory and Bob specifically created the Materials of Music for his teaching at the university. I’ve written and in-depth review of Materials of Music  and explain how Bob’s text and approach works for more classroom setting as well as the home study. 

Our methods are different as the MTW courses are heavy handed in their approach with in-depth application and learning the essential music elements; where as Materials of Music is more text and exercise based approach.

This course also goes into many other elements of music that are not covered in the Getting It Down Cold series. I place this as an excellent add on to the MTW course where you’ll get to review the basics and then expand your horizons into the elements of composition and harmony. Read more about this being one of the best music courses here: Summary Materials of Music or get your copy now.

Best Beginner Piano Course

 1. Donna Cercone’s Music Mastery Course

Music Mastery Course

Music Mastery Course

I have recommended the Rocket Piano and Piano for All as well as a few other courses in the past as good available online pianos courses. Today however, hands down the best beginners piano course is the Music Mastery Course.

How do I know this? I started my second formal training with this workshop over 2 decades ago and have watched it develop into an incredible course due to my personal association with this fantastic mentor.

Donna has spent over two years preparing this course for distribution for home study. Yes, our music theory course is based on the principals of teaching that I gained from this experience, however, the care and package that this brings to the market is the best music courses for starting from scratch on the piano.

I have a short write up about it here: weekend music mastery course. Yes I did say weekend, as this is the same weekend kickoff course everyone of her students takes to learn a full year of music in one weekend. If you want to find out about how Donna pushes the teaching envelop for maximum effectiveness you’ll need to read the offer page: Music Mastery Course.

Enough said I don’t have anything else to advise in this category.

Best Improvisation Course

Improvising Music

Improvising Music

Improvise for Real by David Reed

Improvise for Real is one of the top music courses for learning to improvise. This is one of the most unique courses and value packed music course offerings on the market today.  Read my full Improvise for Real in-depth review to learn about the five mega lessons that will serve you for a lifetime of learning and enjoyment. Also David has made jam tracks to be used with the course to help speed along your process. 

As of this writing MTW had exclusive rights to sale this course direct to you. Go here:  Learn more about Improvising with Improvise for Real pick up your copy today if you want to start down that journey of creation of music on the fly, you won’t be disappointed.

Best Base Guitar Courses

Teach Me Bass Guitar

Teach Me Bass Guitar


Teach Me Bass Guitar
One interest of mine is to be able to play bass guitar, and although I’m great at music theory and elements I have yet to sit down and work out playing the bass guitar. So I started looking for ways that I could get some home study in at my own pace and as I looked around I came across a couple of lesson and courses that I think out shine the others.  As I have yet started my path (looking to pick up a bass guitar to get started) these offering will be my first choices. 

1. Teach Me Bass Guitar by Roy Vogt

I’ve written about Victor Wooten’s book “The Music Lesson” and when I was exploring these course here’s Victor giving a little praise to Roy on the website. So naturally I had to start digging in and see what this was all about.

The DVD course is extensive and covers technique as well as music knowledge. The first 7 areas covered relate to music theory (it’s great to see the greats trying to make sure you’re getting the basics) so that you have at least a foundation in learning to play.

After that you’ll learn more about chords, but mostly about technique and styles. With the 24 topics you’re paying less than $10 per lesson (try getting that directly from a teacher and even expect them to cover one lesson in one time slot!).

Needless to say I’ve picked this as the top home study bass guitar course for the beginner and advanced player. As I get going down this road I’ll post some more information. Check it out here: Teach Me Bass Guitar

2. Victor Wooten Groove Workshop

If you didn’t know already Victor Wooten is a bass guitar player and has been on the music scene for sometime. His two offerings get excellent reviews and I’ve had a few people let me know about them. The groove workshop may say master class and is about getting beyond the basic elements of playing bass guitar, however it can be used for the beginner as well.

Here’s a quote from a review that sums it up nicely.

Don’t let the Master Class classification fool you. If you’re thinking of taking up any instrument and know virtually nothing about music, watch this video first! This video was a complete reawakening to me of what I’m trying to do learning music.

Check out the other reviews on this one at: The Groove Workshop on Amazon

Best Guitar Courses

This has got to be one of the hardest areas in the world to determine best music courses for learning guitar. There are so many beginner and specific style courses I don’t know if you can find one that’s specific. So I’m going to try and give ones that I’ve had an association with or have found enough information that they are worthy of your consideration.

1. Anybody Can Learn Guitar

This is a beginners guitar course for home study. Kathy Unruh has made a real effort to help you get of the ground right with learning guitar and made it as easy as ABC. Kathy’s course is a great start for the beginner guitar player and is priced right to get you started.

2.  Reference Guitar and Piano Chords In Parallel

When it comes learning and relating chords to music structure this resource is one of best for learning the theory and the patterns. I was going to create a resource similar to this until I discovered it already existed. Not exactly on the inexpensive side but will be a lifetime resource for you. Get it Here: String Theory: Guitar And Piano Chords In Parallel

3. JamPlay Online Guitar Lessons

This is one of the most comprehensive guitar lessons series in video I’ve seen to expand your skill set for guitar. HD quality video and some really specific instruction on various popular songs and techniques. Here is an example.

Check out JamPlay today

Best Song Writing Courses

There are several lessons or courses out on writing songs, I’ve personally found two that I think have the practical advice to help you with song writing.

1.  The first is a new ebook by Anthony Ceseri, I’m currently working on a review of this book and find it to be practical and well thought out for helping you create songs that have the potential to sell. Whether you want to just create on your own or try to sell your songs this is a great place to start. He currently sells it for only $27 and has to excellent bonuses that go with it.

Read up on the details here: Write Songs that Sell

2.  The second is from Singorama the producers of the Essential Guide To Signing! This new offering is called  Superior Songwriting, the sales page is a bit hyped up, but Stuart Sinclair does provide some excellent materials and has had a lot of success helping others learn to write songs. 

Also there’s a new audio course out and you have to opt into the email list to learn about it, but it’s worth checking into. It’s called Professional Songwriting Secrets

Stay tuned

That’s all I’ve got for now as for as the best music courses to help fit your situation, but bookmark us and check back as we update this page from time to time.

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