From keen beginners to fun-seeking families: here are the best online music lessons available
5 May 2020, 08:50 | Updated: 5 February 2021, 10:48
From video instrumental tuition to Skype singing lessons, here’s how you can learn a new instrument, carry on with your vocal training or master your theory – either individually or with the whole family – while in quarantine.
Lots of music teachers, arts courses and classical tutorials are going online (or already online), tempting lots of us to enrol in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.
While only Key Workers are allowed out of their homes, the rest of us are holed up inside, apart from that one trip for exercise and essential food shopping. So that means the fun has to be contained in our four walls.
Lucky for us, there is plenty of fun to be had – and especially online. Indeed, lots of people are seeking solace, information and entertainment on the Internet. And on top of all that – a diversion. Something to do.
A diversion for many is learning new things, or honing skills. And what better than honing music skills? Here are some of the best music lessons available that we’ve come across…
For primary school-aged home learners
With the Benedetti Foundation, primary school teacher, Jimmy Rotheram has launched a special series of structured lesson plans and learning resources aimed at primary school-aged children.
Presented in two age-targeted collections – a six-week lesson plan for ages four to seven, and a 12-week plan for ages seven to 11 – the offering includes books and resources that can be easily downloaded from here on the Benedetti Foundation’s website.
There are videos to accompany every step of both sets of lesson plans too.
All videos for ages four to seven can be found here.
And all videos for ages seven to 11 can be found here.
For string players
Nicola Benedetti’s other series of online tutorials, ‘With Nicky’, are also still available. They’re packed with bite-sized tips, tricks and inspiration to help you improve your string playing while motivating you for that all-important, special ingredient – practice!
For mastering scales
Young Classical Artist Trust violinist, Mayumi Kanagawa, has let us into the secret of her scale warm-up routine. She’s obsessive about scales, and describes this routine as “almost religious”, expressing keenness to share how she warms up at this particular moment in time in case it’s helpful for anyone in quarantine.
Bassoonist Laurence Perkins has turned to teaching his instrument from home via the Internet in his new series ‘Bassoon Inspired’.
“One of my hopes at this difficult time is that a heightened recognition of the true value of music and the arts will emerge,” Perkins writes on his website. “Children deserve the chance to explore the vast and exciting range of genres and styles from many different cultures.”
For beginner pianists
Finchcocks, a home to piano courses in Kent, has announced a series of online tutorials for absolute beginners – as a way to beat the quarantine blues and develop a new skill. Musical Director Dave Hall assumes no musical knowledge, and promises to get you playing with both hands within one minute flat…
For next-stage pianists
Pianist Steven Osborne is offering free Zoom lessons to eager pianists looking to learn online. “How does it work?”, we hear you ask. Easy! Steven invites you to request a lesson by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and a lucky pianist will get their name drawn out of a hat, as it were, every week. Names are kept on file, so if at first you don’t succeed...
Join in with ‘Music Klass’ from Classic FM Smooth Classics presenter, Myleene Klass, to take some time out as a whole family – from beginners up to music veterans looking for a refresher – and get the rudiments of music theory under your belts while, crucially, having fun!
For Star Wars fans
This one’s fun – and perfect for fans of galaxies far, far away...
The Violin Jedi, FKA violinist and teacher Harry Kerr, brings violin lessons and practice tips to life with lightsabers (literally). Whatever it takes to settle the little ones (and not so little ones) down to the wholesome business of music learning, amirite?
For weekly inspiration
London Music Masters (LMM) has launched Friday Live!, a new series of educational events and activities, taking place online every Friday on LMM’s Facebook Page. Aimed at families, the series will feature live sessions and downloadable activities delivered by LMM musicians, teachers and artists – all framed as either Explore!, Participate! or Listen!.
If you’re looking for more intermittent music learning, we have an incredible array of introductions to instruments, vocal ranges and techniques, and other aspects of music – including tuning and restringing instruments – in the ‘Discover’ series on our YouTube channel.
For young composers and sound designers
Organ Scholar Jay Richardson is giving free online workshops aimed at students aged 14-16 from the restored Union Chapel organ. The series of online lessons, ‘Notating the World’ covers music notation, sound design and composition.
For access to the masters
MasterClass, the superb series of online courses delivered by world-leading experts in every field – from Anna Wintour on leadership and Annie Leibervitz on photography, to David Lynch on film-making – has offerings from incredible musicians including violinist Itzhak Perlman, composers Hans Zimmer and Danny Elfman, and, for jazz cats out there, the legendary Herbie Hancock.
As well as the courses you can sign up to, the site also has some fantastic resources – like the ‘Music 101’ series, which includes ‘What is a musical scale?’ and ‘What is a metronome in music?’.
For aspiring academics and beyond
The Open College of Arts is an online university created by Michael Young, one of the founders of Open University, to offer arts courses from short foundations, to degree-level programmes in all arts disciplines.
If you were looking to take your understanding of music to the next stage, the music syllabus includes an Open Foundation in Music, and BA (Hons).