Music Theory 101

Juilliard’s Ultimate Guide to Music Theory Fundamentals

Developed by Juilliard faculty member Dr. Steven Laitz, this Music Theory 101 online course teaches you the foundations of music theory from a classical music perspective in an engaging and straightforward approach.

In six weeks, you will develop the music theory knowledge you need to become a better player and feel more confident writing for any musical genre, from classical to rock to electronic music.

All are welcome, no audition required.

What You'll Learn

In this six-week online course, you will develop an understanding of the terminology and concepts of classical music theory, including:

  • How to begin to read sheet music, including pitch, rhythm, and key signatures.

  • How rhythm and pitch combine to create melody.

  • How to understand the difference between major and minor.

  • How to write a simple melody.

Course Outline & Schedule

This online course is on a flexible weekly schedule, with new materials released each week that you may complete at your own pace before the end of the week. For best results, we recommend setting aside 3-4 hours per week for interacting with and completing the course materials.

The course offers instructional videos, quizzes, and interactive tools to enhance your learning. As you create short musical works each week, you will receive feedback from a small study group of your peers as well as a Juilliard course fellow.

  • Week of June 26: Pitch and Tonality

  • Week of July 3: Intro to Pitch Notation, How to Read and Write Pitches, Intro to Intervals

  • Week of July 10: Note Value, Grouping and Expectation, Meter

  • Week of July 17: Chromatic Collection, Keys and Scales, Key Signatures

  • Week of July 24: Introduction to Mode, Minor Modes and Variations, Consonance and Dissonance

  • Week of July 31: Melody

Course exercises will be completed using Noteflight online music notation software, and students of Music Theory 101 will receive one year of Noteflight Premium for free at the end of the course, with instructions for transferring over any work completed.


No prior knowledge or courses required. No audition required. Age 13 and up.

100% Guaranteed

If you are unsatisfied with your results from the course, you may email us within the first 14 days of the course start date and we will offer you a full refund.

Statement of Accomplishment

Those who successfully complete this course will receive a Statement of Accomplishment.




6 weeks, beginning June 26, 2017

This course is not open for enrollment.

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Meet the instructor

Dr. Steven Laitz

I am the chair of Juilliard’s Music Theory and Analysis department, and previously taught at the Eastman School of Music for 27 years. As the author of two leading music theory textbooks, The Complete Musician: An Integrated Approach to Tonal Theory, Analysis and Listening and Graduate Review of Tonal Theory: A Recasting of Common-Practice Harmony, Form, and Counterpoint (Oxford University Press), I take great pride in having helped many students strengthen their music theory knowledge.

As Beethoven said, "Don't only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets; for it and knowledge can raise men to the divine." I hope you’ll join this course as part of your own musical journey.

Course Details


3-4 hours/week


Music Theory


Basic - No previous knowledge required



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