Guest post by Jamie Ehrenfeld
In 2019, there are more options than ever for aspiring musicians to hone their skills. As learning landscapes and information exchange becomes increasingly digital, the challenge becomes how to ensure quality and value in an area as subjective and close to the heart as music.
Any investment of your time (and money) is worth due diligence, so here are some options to help you connect with the right music learning resources:
With courses ranging from Unlocking the Emotional Power of Chords, to Modern & Advanced Mix Techniques, this platform stands out for the depth and quality of its learning materials as well as for its unique mentorship model.
While they offer free access to a number of online courses, investment in one of their Mentored Courses will land you a friendly, knowledgeable musician-coach to guide you through the content, share feedback on your work, and create a goal-based learning plan customized to your personal needs. Their Headliners Program may be their most unique offering, allowing students to customize their own learning experience to reach their creative goals.
You no longer need to travel to the esteemed Boston music school to take Berklee classes anymore! In collaboration with edX, Berklee College of Music offers course content in multiple languages and subject areas online for free, including Creativity and Entrepreneurship, Vocal Recording Technology, and Music for Wellness.
As is the case with other edX partners, users have the option to earn a Verified Certificate for $49, though unfortunately these badges do not translate to college credit.
By the company best known for the Push Controller and Live Digital Audio Workstation (DAW), Ableton’s Free Learning Music web platform is perhaps the most holistically comprehensive beginner’s guide to experiential music learning out now.
While many platforms offer more advanced or specialized knowledge, the foundational elements of music are often assumed to be understood prior to the user finding the resource. From identifying sounds, recognizing the patterns and groupings of notes the user finds compelling, to arranging chord progressions, basslines, and melodies, users can now make musical choices from the very beginning.
What I love most about LessonFace is the ability to meet virtually and in real time with seasoned music educators around the world. Students can select from a range of instructor profiles or be matched by LessonFace staff, and areas of study span across genre traditions and instruments.
My favorite aspect of Busy Work Beats is their unusual (to a formally trained musician), accessible approach to fundamental music theory using numbers to represent semitones.
Cutting through Eurocentric traditions to fastrack modern producers into an informed, empowered understanding of music theory they can use in creating their own music, Busy Work Beats is a top choice for a non-traditional music student to learn what they need and skip what they don’t.
The Music Experience Design Lab has created a suite of tools designed to help novices interact with their favorite music in a more playful way. They’ve partnered with the NY Philharmonic to allow fans to Step Inside Mahler, developed widgets for PBS’s Soundbreaking series, and mapped the QWERTY keyboard to play as a natural musical instrument with any mode or tonal center.
Jamie Ehrenfeld is a music producer, educator, journalist and entrepreneur based in New York City.
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