Find and Explore Websites to Help Teach Music

Find resources to help you teach music, including websites that feature music theory, virtual instruments, and lesson planning ideas.

Grades K-12 15 min Resource by:

It’s common for people to enjoy listening to music, even if they don’t have any formal education in music theory. However, when our students gain a deeper understanding and knowledge of the fundamentals of music, they are empowered to listen with a more informed and critical ear. This deeper understanding can simultaneously enable a better appreciation for the artistry of music while enabling students to articulate the reasons why they like a particular piece of music.

In addition to a more refined sense of appreciation, music theory also empowers musical performance. It sets students up for increased success in learning an instrument, performing with their instrument, and composing original material. Each of these rich activities is embedded into the core music standards and builds upon this foundation of music theory.

In this article, we’ll explore three areas of technology that can enhance the teaching and learning of music and music theory.

 

 

  • Music Theory: These materials offer informative content, examples, explanations, and media. Some of the sites also include interactive elements to reinforce concepts, provide immediate feedback, and facilitate practice. The main focus for these materials is music theory.
  • Virtual Instruments: Other websites provide virtual instruments that can be used to apply music fundamentals or possibly to begin learning the basics of an instrument. Because these instruments are virtual and free, they can also help bridge equity gaps for students and schools who cannot afford expensive instruments. While this is not an equal substitute for a physical instrument, it can provide a gateway into music education.
  • Lessons and Planning: In this final section of resources, we’ll explore websites that you can use to continue learning, generate ideas, and develop lessons as an instructor.

Many websites include premium features, but most also include free options. Some of the free sites include advertising as a way to pay for their service. This can be distracting to some students, so consider this if you decide to use one of those sites. Other sites offer a “freemium” model that gives you some services for free while offering additional features only with a premium subscription. In most cases, teachers begin with the free version, and then determine if this will meet their needs. Free trials can often help you decide between the free and full versions.

The following lists are far from exhaustive, so don’t hesitate to search for more resources on your own. However, these selections can serve as an appetizer or sample platter of music resources that you can use as a starting point and to inspire other ideas. These resources are organized into three big areas: music theory, virtual instruments, and lessons and planning.

Music Theory

Explore these resources to find instructional content, interactive learning experiences, games, practice activities, and even full online courses.

  • Theta Music Trainer
    • Learn scales, pitch, chords, mixing, tonality, melody, rhythm, and more.
    • This site includes courses and interactive games for ear training and music theory.
    • It’s available online or on Android or iOS mobile devices.
  • Fundamentals of Music Theory
    • This 7-hour course is offered by the University of Edinburgh through Coursera.
    • Most course materials are available for free, but payment is required to earn a certificate or access graded assignments.
  • An Introduction to Music Theory
    • This is a free, self-paced course from The Open University.
    • Students work through modules, starting with clefs and moving through scales, intervals, and harmony.
  • Musicca
    • Access free, online exercises and learning tools for music theory, notation, and ear training.
    • This site is interactive and provides feedback. You must log in for progress tracking.
  • Musicards
    • This site offers what its name suggests: interactive, online flashcards.
    • Learn note names, key signatures, intervals, piano and guitar notes, and more.
  • MusicRacer
    • Play timed games with instant feedback.
    • Learn note names, fingerings, and music terms. Choose fingerings from 18 different instruments.
  • Music Teacher’s Games
    • Play games to gain skills and learn music theory.
    • Choose from lines and spaces, music symbols, piano keys, guitar, lessons and quizzes, ear training, and rhythm.
    • Register to save your scores and progress.
  • musictheory.net
    • Learn music theory, including basics, rhythm and meter, scales and key signatures, intervals, chords, and progressions.
    • Engage in interactive lessons, exercises, and tools to learn music theory.
    • Exercises provide immediate feedback.
  • Notation Training
    • Identify notes or practice ear training and piano.
    • Use this simple site as a way to practice.
  • Songwriting: Writing the Lyrics
    • This is another free songwriting course from Coursera and offered through the Berklee College of Music.
    • It is estimated to take 17 hours to complete this course.
  • teoria.com
    • This isn’t a fancy-looking site, but it offers interactive music theory modules.
    • Choose from music theory tutorials, ear training exercises, reference materials, and articles.
    • The extensive advertising on this site can be distracting.

Virtual Instruments

Virtual instruments can be helpful for both instruction and application or practice. Our list focuses on two of the most versatile instruments in music education: keyboards and drums. Keys are great for applying nearly any musical concept, and virtual drums are great for practicing concepts related to rhythm. Here are a few options to get you started.

  • Drums and Rhythm
    • OneMotion Drum Machine
      • Create drumbeats using traditional drum kit sounds.
      • Visualize the drummer in 3D and export finished programs as WAV files.
    • HTML5 Drum Machine
      • Choose a kit and program the instruments into a drum track.
      • Export as a WAV file.
    • drumbit
      • Create drumbeats, and then record, save, and download.
      • Adjust volume, tempo, swing, kit, pan, and more.
  • Keyboards
    • Virtual Piano Black
      • This is a basic virtual piano.
      • Use it to play, record, and play back.
      • The piano is accessed under your Google Drive apps once installed.
    • AR Synth
      • This experience is part of the Google Arts & Culture platform.
      • Make music with five classic synths.
      • Select your synths, program a tune, and share your finished compositions with a link.
      • While exploring the site, you can also review a history of electronic music.
    • Virtual Xylophone
      • Click or use your keyboard to play this xylophone from Virtual Musical Instruments.
      • Other instrument options include guitar, piano, drums, pan flute, glockenspiel, and bongos.

Lessons and Planning

As teachers, we are always looking for new ideas, resources, and better teaching strategies. One way to learn virtually from others in the field is to access their online content and ideas. These insights might come from motivated individuals who share ideas on a blog or website, or they might be resources posted by a company, nonprofit, or professional organization. You can often find quality resources from each of these types of publishers. Here are a few quality sites to help you get started planning and generating new ideas.

  • ArtsAlive.ca
    • Use this site to help students discover and explore the performing arts.
    • Find resources, an instrument lab, activities and games, composers, and more from the National Arts Center in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
  • The Big Free Music Notation Image Library
    • This library of free images from Midnight Music is great for creating your own digital materials.
    • Students can use them, as well, to demonstrate their musical understanding.
    • Download the ZIP file of images.
  • Interactive Sites for Education
    • This website contains a compilation of interactive sites for music education.
    • Find resources for composing, music fun, virtual instruments, and more.
  • Free Guitar Chord Image Library
    • Download the images from Midnight Music.
    • Then, use these downloaded pictures to create digital resources for guitar students.
    • Students can also use the downloaded images.
  • The Full Voice
    • Use this site to find vocal activities for younger learners.
    • The resource includes free downloads that you can print.
  • K–12 Resources for Music Educators
    • This site includes resources curated by a Minnesota music teacher.
    • View resources by category: band, choir, orchestra, classroom, and all music.
  • Music Tech Teacher
    • Find over 130 music games and quizzes.
    • Some are digital and interactive, and others are printable.
  • Music Tech Teacher Podcast
    • Midnight Music hosts episodes of the Music Tech Teacher podcast, hosted by Katie Wardrobe.
    • The podcast is focused on music technology tips and lesson ideas.
  • NAfME
    • This is the official site of the National Association for Music Education.
    • It includes many resources, including virtual teaching and learning, standards, and resources for both teachers and students.
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