Music theory for complete beginners

The fundamentals of sound in time, learn how to teach yourself to read, write basic rhythms and the skill to play them
4.5 (33 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a
course's star rating by considering a number of different factors
such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the
likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
2,769 students enrolled
Start Learning Now
  • Lectures 40
  • Length 2 hours
  • Skill Level Beginner Level
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
    30 day money back guarantee!
    Available on iOS and Android
Wishlisted Wishlist

How taking a course works


Find online courses made by experts from around the world.


Take your courses with you and learn anywhere, anytime.


Learn and practice real-world skills and achieve your goals.

About This Course

Published 2/2016 English

Course Description

This course is about understanding the very basis of music: sound. More precisely of sound in time. No matter what kind of instrument or musical endeavor you're interested, the most fundamental concepts are always the basics of sound in time, the rhythm.

We take an approach to study the basics of music in a way everyone can learn with no past musical experience whatsoever.

It is directed toward people with no means to find a good teacher, or who wants to learn by himself.

We include tutorials, exercises, and dictations as our main way to understand and practice the concepts.

Our approach is 100% practical, you should be making some rhythms from the very beginning, and have some solid skills by the end of the course.

Is very important to take a course like this before trying to learn any instrument, or try to compose, because, you need a solid foundation that sometimes teachers don't have the time to share.

What are the requirements?

  • Notebook and pencil are enough
  • A keyboard would be really good
  • A smartphone with a metronome app would really be useful

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Read basic rhythms in any kind of instrument
  • Write durations of sound by ear
  • Understand the most important fundamentals of music: Beat, Tempo, Bars, Time Signatures etc
  • Understand rhythmic values of Whole, half, quarter, eights and sixteenth notes
  • Understand and apply rhythmical concepts of ties and dotted notes
  • Understand and apply the concepts of accentuated notes, syncopation, and off beat notes

Who is the target audience?

  • Total beginners who want to learn the most basic fundamentals of music
  • Intermediate or advanced musicians who want to refresh and solidify their understanding and skill of rythm
  • People who want to learn a new instrument by themselves but don't understand the concepts in books or tutorials

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.


Section 1: The foundation, how to measure the duration of sounds and silences

We'll talk about why is so important to every musician to understand the fundamentals of sound in time, why this course should be taken by every person no matter what instrument or musical endeavor is about to undertake; and also an introduction at the first three concepts to learn in this first section and what's the use of them


In this lecture, you'll learn the core concepts that will be used in this course.


In this lecture, you'll learn how to use the metronome, the beat and the tempo to measure sounds and silences, and a very simple way of music notation for reading and writing sound durations.

1 page

Let's test what you've learned so far


This time I'm doing the exercises with you, so you know if you did them right

Section 2: Basic Rhythms

In this lecture you'll learn three fundamentals rhythmic values, called Whole, Half and quarter notes


In this lecture you'll learn the core concepts of rhythm, what gives aliveness to the rhythmical patterns, and how to create a feeling with rhythm.


In this lecture you'll learn the standard way of music notation for accents and rhythmic feel through Bars and Time Signatures

1 page

In this lecture you'll practice your new skills, reading exercises with Whole, Half and Quarter notes, and using bar and time signatures to organice music and give it a rhythmic feel. Lots of stuff...


In this lecture you'll start you journey into writing music by ear, the ultimate skill of a musician is to hear something, wether is another musician playing, the radio, or even his own musical thoughts and be able to imitate them with his instrument.


In this audio you'll hear the dictations one by one, you can pause and repeat them as many times as you want. In the resources section is a document you can use as a template for writing the dictations.

1 page

Answers to dictations in lecture 11

Section 3: Advanced Exercises

In this lecture you'll learn how to approach not too easy exercises, and you'll be introduced to 3 basic music study techniques.

1 page

10 advanced exercises for honing your skills, good luck!


In this audio you can hear how the exercises actually sound


We have a template for doing this dictations in the resource section, download it before doing the dictations!

1 page

Answers to dictations in lecture 16

Section 4: Eighth and Sixteenth notes

In this lecture you'll learn about Eighths and Sixteenth notes, and one basic method to study them

1 page

Do the exercises!


Listen at how the Exercises in lecture 19 sound!


Let's test your aural skills!

1 page

Answers to dictations in lecture 21


In this lecture you'll learn how to approach the really hard exercises with Eight and Sixteenth notes

1 page

This is getting hard, common you can do it!


Answers to exercises in lecture 24


This time we won't include a template, because in these dictations, both rhythms need to be written instead of just the upper one. But we provide you with the next information: Every dictations has 4 bars, are written in a Time Signature of 4/4, and there are 5 of them.

1 page

Answers to the Dictations in lecture 26

Section 5: Tied and dotted notes, Syncopations and Off beat notes

In this lecture you'll learn the concepts of tied and dotted notes and how they affect to the durations of sounds and silences


In this lecture you'll learn about the concepts of Syncopation and Off beat notes, these two will add a lot of flavor to your rhythmical repertoire.

1 page

These exercises are getting really complicated, make sure you always use the 3 basic study techniques we've seen so far. Never repeat the exercise just for repeat, always make it smart.


Template is in the resource section.


Here you have the audio of the exercises, so you can compare.

1 page

Answers to dictations in lecture 31

Section 6: Other rhythmical patterns with Eighths and Sixteenth notes

In this lecture we'll take a look at the most common patterns with Eighth and Sixteenth notes


In this lecture we'll learn the Final barline, the repeat barline, the anatomy of notes, and other useful rules of music notation

1 page

Let's practice! This is really hard, but with your new skills and your brain power, you'll be able to dance with it


Let's test your aural skills, they must be really good at this point. They better are..


Let's hear how exercises in lecture 36 sound

1 page

Answers to Dictations in lecture 37


You're officially graduated, we hope you had a good time in this course, and more important, you got a new skill out of this course. Thank you!

Students Who Viewed This Course Also Viewed

  • Loading
  • Loading
  • Loading

Instructor Biography

Miguel Fajardo, Violinist

Started my career in music at age 13, by age 15 I made my first bucks playing at a bar, at age 17 I started my career in music with serious studies in violin, 5 years later I was invited to play in the Symphony Orchestra in San Luis, Mexico. While in the orchestra I always had a job as music teacher in the youth Symphony Orchestra, then I knew Jazz, and made a very unexpected turn in my career, getting very deep into other styles like Gypsy Jazz and Klezmer. I´ve played in many places including all over Mexico, Munich in Germany, New Orleans, San Antonio and Wisconsin in the US.

Ready to start learning?
Start Learning Now