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7 Sessions / 1 hours of work per session
Skill Level
Music Theory, Reading Music, Music Notation, Music Education
Open for Enrollment

Music Theory Level 1: Part One

Open for Enrollment
You can also start immediately after joining!

Would you like to enroll?

Enrollment for this course has closed. But you can enroll in a future offering (please select)

Enrollment has closed

Go at your own pace
7 Sessions / 1 hours of work per session
Skill Level
Music Theory, Reading Music, Music Notation, Music Education
Course Description

Welcome to Music Theory Level 1: Part One

How to Read Music

This course introduces you to the basics of how to read music, including music notation, the keyboard and music scores. This course forms part of the complete Music Theory Fundamentals Guide.

This is a class designed for the average person who is ready to dive into music! Whether you are a beginning musician, an active musician, or an aspiring musician - this class is perfect for you.

For years I've been teaching Music Theory in the college classroom. My approach to music theory is to minimize the memorization. Most of these concepts you can learn by just understanding why chords behave in certain ways. Once you understand those concepts, you can find any scale, key, or chord that exists. Even invent your own. If you've tried to learn music theory before, or if you are just starting out - this series of courses is the perfect fit.

In Part 1: How To Read Music, we will work through all the elements of notated music, and how it all works, covering:

  • My approach to Music Theory
  • Tools you will need to learn Music Theory quickly and efficiently
  • Music software: Notation programs
  • The elements of the Score
  • Pitch Names
  • Pitch Classes
  • Octaves
  • The White Keys
  • The Black Keys (not the band!)
  • Half-Steps and Whole-Steps
  • Clefs
  • Intervals
  • Naming Octaves
  • Identifying Notes on the Staff
  • Identifying Notes on the Keyboard
  • Beat and Beat Divisions
  • Tempo
  • Downbeats and Upbeats
  • Dotted Rhythms
  • Time Signatures
  • Ties
  • Accidentals
  • Form in Music Notation


Praise for Courses by Jason Allen:

⇢ "It seems like every little detail is being covered in an extremely simple fashion. The learning process becomes relaxed and allows the complex concepts to get absorbed easily. My only regret is not taking this course earlier." - M. Shah

⇢ "Great for everyone without any knowledge so far. I bought all three parts... It's the best investment in leveling up my skills so far.." - Z. Palce

⇢ "Excellent explanations! No more or less than what is needed." - A. Tóth

⇢ "VERY COOL. I've waiting for years to see a good video course, now I don't have to wait anymore. Thank You!" - Jeffrey Koury

 "I am learning LOTS! And I really like having the worksheets!" - A. Deichsel

⇢ "The basics explained very clearly - loads of really useful tips!" - J. Pook

⇢ "Jason is really quick and great with questions, always a great resource for an online class!" M. Smith


This course is in adaptive mode and is open for enrollment. Learn more about adaptive courses here.

Session 1: Getting Started (October 4, 2023)
Before we jump in, let's learn a little bit about how we are going to learn. There are a few free tools I like to use that will help you learn music theory.
4 lessons
1. Intro
2. My Approach To Theory
3. Tools You Need
4. MuseScore
Session 2: All The Little Dots (October 11, 2023)
In this section we will look at the notes on the score: What we call them, how to find them, and how they work.
4 lessons
1. The Elements of the Score
2. Pitch Names
3. Pitch Classes
4. Octaves
Session 3: The Keyboard Layout (October 18, 2023)
We use the piano keyboard to illustrate ideas in Music Theory. Don't worry, we don't need to learn how to play the piano. But being able to find notes on the piano is very useful.
5 lessons
1. The Keyboard Layout
2. The White Keys
3. The Black Keys
4. Half Steps and Whole Steps
5. Section Review
Session 4: Pitch Notation on the Staff (October 25, 2023)
Now we can put those things together, and find the pitches on the staff.
6 lessons
1. Staff Overview
2. Clefs
3. Treble Clef Refresher
4. Naming Notes and Intervals
5. Octave Names
6. Update: Naturals
Session 5: Notating time on a Musical Staff (November 1, 2023)
In this section, we will work with notating rhythms. We have a bunch of symbols that you've already seen to tell us when to play each note. In this section we will learn how to interpret rhythms.
6 lessons
1. Basic Rhythmic Elements
2. Dots
3. Rests
4. Time Signatures
5. Ties
6. Langagues
Session 6: Score Symbols and Conventions (November 8, 2023)
So far we have looked at reading notes and rhythms, but a music score shows us a lot more information than that. In this section we will look at all the other elements of a musical score.
3 lessons
1. Dynamics & Repeats
2. Accidental Behavior
3. Form
Session 7: Putting it All Together (November 15, 2023)
Now we know how music notation and the symbols of music work. But we have one more big step: Practice. Like any new language we need to practice it. In this section I'll go through my practice tricks.
4 lessons
1. Update-KeySignatures
2. Places To Find Scores Online
3. Tips For Practicing Notes And Rhythms
4. Thanks Bye
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Learning Outcomes

Below you will find an overview of the Learning Outcomes you will achieve as you complete this course.

Instructors And Guests
What You Need to Take This Course

Students should be enthusiastic about music, but do not need to be producers or musicians. No prior experience is needed in music - All are welcome!

I'll be using a piece of software in this course that I would like students to get. Don't worry - it's free! And works on Mac and PC computers. I'll tell you more in the first few videos.

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