10 Excellent Open Courseware Classes For Musicians

This is a guest post by Julie-Ann Amos,a freelance writer, who covers topics such as online university ratings and reviews, e-learning tools, and more.

Open courseware has been available online for many years, however MIT is the first major educational institute to market open courseware to students and non-students alike. Open courseware is free access to lectures, notes, books, videos and other reference materials, just as if you were actually paying to take the program. Open courseware classes typically cannot be used for credit, however for those just wanting to learn music, an instrument or brush up on theory it is wonderful opportunity.
The following 10 free open courseware classes are excellent choices for musicians of all ages and ability levels.

1. Classical Music and the Music of the Classical Era – offered through Open Educational Resources (OER) Commons, this class is designed for children at the primary and secondary level to learn about the theory and style of classical music. For adults looking for a brief overview of classical music this is also a terrific and basic starting point.

2. Composing Using Computers – this advanced level course offered through MIT OpenCourseWare provides students with a step by step method of combining technology with musical composition. The course builds on techniques and ends with the student developing their own integrated computer composition. Digital sampling as well as editing and combining hardware and software application in music development forms the core of the course.

3. Popular Musics Of The World – another MIT program, this course samples traditional and modern music from different areas of the globe. Issues such as the internet, globalization, society and even marketing and their impact on music are all addressed.

4. Common Music Terms – for postsecondary students and mature students this in depth look at musical terms and their meanings provide a framework for understanding musical literature. Offer through Connexions.

5. Creating Musical Sounds – a unique look at what defines music and how musical instruments actually produce the sounds we enjoy as music. This course is offered through Open University OpenLearn.

6. Reading Music: Common Notation – a course designed for those wanting to increase their ability to read basic or complex music notation. The course begins with the basics and moves into much more complex musical notation. Can be a great resource for those wanting to teach music to others. This course is offered free through Connexions.

7. Fundamentals of Music – this three component lesson series includes hands on activities in the basics of music composition, a sight singing lab as well as a piano lab. Students are encouraged to focus on the fundamental elements, the pitch, rhythm, melody and understanding of music notation. This course, offered through MIT OpenCourseWare, is designed for post-secondary level students.

8. Theme and Motif In Music – designed to teach students of classical as well as modern music to search for themes and motifs through songs and music. This course is appropriate for students of all ages and is offered through Connexions.

9. Ear Training – this course is based on a downloadable game that encourages the listener to train his or her ear to listen to the various elements within music. A must for those interested in fine tuning their musical listening skills. This free open courseware is offered through Connexions.

10. Hip Hop – this MIT OpenCourseWare course traces the last 30 years in the rise of hip hop music across the world. Cultural and global influences as well as how the style of music has developed are the focal concepts discussed in the course. Throughout the course students will have the ability to create their own music within the hip hop genre.

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