By: Mindy Scirri
If you are a lucky parent, you are musically inclined and have no difficulty finding ways to teach music to your children. For the rest of us, online resources can save the day. We have found some great online music lessons for kids that you may want to try. Read below to find not only a variety of free online music lessons for kids (including lesson plans for music history and music theory), but also ways to download music for free, learn an instrument, and play games with music
Stream or Download Music for Free
You and your children can learn about music simply by listening to a variety of genres. Here are some sites where you can stream and often download music:
Stream or download many different genres of music, including soundtracks, educational music, and more. Free with ads.
Free Music Archive (FMA)
Stream or download any track in the FMA collection. “We welcome all creators around the world to search, find and use music from our websites in their projects.”
“Jamendo is a community of independent artists and fans boasting about half a million songs, all available to download for private use. In addition, it also has about 250,000 tracks available for multimedia projects.”
Live Music Archive
This is a collection of live recordings—not studio recordings—especially for those not-so-easy-to-find artists.
“We provide recordings, sheet music, and textbooks to the public for free, without copyright restrictions. Put simply, our mission is to set music free.” This site has a lot of symphonic pieces, much of which is in the public domain and can be used without copyright issues.
Stream or download music by providing your email address and zip code for each artist.
Free stations and music streaming.
Find the music of new and upcoming artists here, as well as the music of some established artists. You can stream all the music and download some of it.
“Save tracks, follow artists and build playlists. All for free.” SoundCloud has a large collection of music. You can stream or download some full songs, but sometimes you can only access a sample.
Listen to thousands of sounds and artists for free.
Walt Disney Records
Stream music from top Disney movies and shows.
One of the standard ways to learn about music is by studying its inspiring and often exciting and controversial history. Here are some free online music lessons for kids to help develop their background knowledge about what they hear on the radio:
Edison Invents the Phonograph
Thomas Edison created many inventions, but his favorite was the phonograph. Learn all about this important invention. A free history lesson.
A Guide to Frederic Chopin’s Music (Musopen)
Find information about Chopin’s solo piano works, Cello Sonata, solo piano variations, piano sonatas, piano trio, solo songs, piano concertos, and more. Free history lessons.
Musical Automata: The Project on Recording Mechanical Music 1980-2018
From the collections of the Phonogrammarchiv of the Austrian Academy of Sciences come these charming instruments. You may have seen some like these in merry-go-rounds. A free history lesson.
An online educational resource presented by Steven Van Zandt’s Rock and Roll Forever Foundation and offered free-of-charge to educators, students, and individuals everywhere. “Registering gives you free access to the 200 lesson plans at TeachRock, and we’ll keep you posted on new material and fun TeachRock events.”
Students of music need to learn about how musicians and composers make music, known as music theory. Here are some free music lessons for kids about music theory:
Berklee College of Music MOOCs
“Berklee Online is the online extension school of Berklee College of Music, delivering access to Berklee’s acclaimed curriculum from anywhere in the world…. Browse free online courses in a variety of subjects. Berklee College of Music courses… can be audited free or students can choose to receive a verified certificate for a small fee.” Self-paced courses include Introduction to Music Theory, Introduction to the Music Business, Vocal Recording Technology, and Music for Wellness. Some courses available in Spanish.
Berklee Online: Free Music Resources
A collection of free music lessons from Berklee Online, the award-winning online extension school of Berklee College of Music. Watch, read, download, and share this free and open resource for the world’s music community. Lessons include Collaborative Songwriting, Music Theory 101, Critical Listening 1, and more.
Understanding Basic Music Theory: Online Music Theory Course
A comprehensive insight into the fundamental notions of music theory: music notation, rules of harmony, ear training, etc. It covers most of the topics needed to understand and develop your musical skills – with your favorite training tool EarMaster of course. There are free and paid versions of the app for Macs and PCs.
Musicards: Online Music Theory Flashcards
“These music flashcards can be used by beginning music students who are becoming acquainted with key music rudiments, all the way up to intermediate and advanced students who wish to fill in gaps here and there or increase fluency with existing knowledge.”
Music Advisor: Music Notes
Learn about various music notes by reading and watching short videos. All free.
Name that Chord
Learn chords with these free fun lessons. There are 34 lessons, a practice section, and a one or two player game.
Music Lesson Plan Collections
Some online resources even contain whole collections of music lesson plans for kids that cover a range of topics related to music. Here are some lesson plan collections for you:
Classroom and Teaching Materials (Music Teachers.co.uk)
Find lesson materials here for students aged 4 plus, aged 14 plus, and aged 16 plus. There are also some general lessons on instrumental study.
Free Lesson Plans and Resources (Teachers Pay Teachers)
Check out these free downloads for lesson plans and other instructional resources related to music education.
Lesson Plan Ideas for K-5 General Music Classes (National Association for Music Education)
“Music not only has the power to stimulate the mind, enrich the heart and soothe the soul; it also helps you meet educational objectives and learning outcomes for your students. The following lesson plans are examples from other music educators of practical, effective, and fun activities for grades K-5 to help you teach the basics of music to your students!”
Lesson Zone™ Elementary Music Lesson Plans from MakingMusicFun.net
“Get lesson plans for the music classroom that are sure to send the fun into overdrive!” Find lesson plans about steady beat, pitch, musical form, music from diverse cultures, and many more topics.
Music Education Lesson Plans (teachnology)
Find lesson plans arranged by category (composition, drama/theater, songs, subject matter, and vocal) or by grade level (K-2, 3-5, middle school, and high school).
Music Lesson Plans and Activities (The Teacher’s Corner)
“The Teacher’s Corner provides music lessons around colors, literature, and more. Find resources to help your students hit the right note.”
Music Lesson Plans and Activities (sharemylesson)
Access music lesson plans divided into grade levels: preschool, elementary (K-2), elementary (3-5), middle school, and high school.
Popular Music Lesson Plans, K-5 (TeacherVision)
“Incorporate music into your curriculum, with these printables. You’ll find plenty of activities to keep your students interested and engaged while they sing songs, play instruments, and learn about musical genres. We have lessons that compare current music to music from the past, lessons that connect science and music, lessons about rhythm and pitch, and lessons incorporating music traditions from a variety of cultures.”
Learn an Instrument
Many traditional schools offer instrument lessons on-site, and you can always get pay for private lessons. What about online music lessons for homeschoolers who want to learn an instrument? Those resources exist, too! Here are several:
16 Resources for Learning an Instrument on Your Own (Joy Tunes)
“If you’re just starting off learning how to play music on your own, it’s not always so easy to find the right tools to help you figure out how to learn an instrument fast. While there are tons of resources out there, it can be hard to find the right ones for you.”
Beginning Band Course
This free course is intended for a Music Teacher, or anyone with a musical inclination, who is brave and selfless enough to lead Beginning Band. Other than instruments, there is nothing to buy – for you or your students. This free course is distributed as a .pdf. All necessary teaching and student material can be printed as you need it. Everything is included.
Danman’s Music Library and Music School Online
“If you’re a music student – use my library to take lessons. If you’re a music teacher – use my library for lesson plans and curriculum”. Dan Lefler, Danman’s Music School…. A Music Lessons Library for teachers, students and lovers of music with curriculum for the Guitar, Piano, Flute, Violin, Bass, Drums, Ukulele and more! Hundreds of method books, exercise books, and technique books. Large selection of classical literature and folk songs. Original scores too.” There are plenty of free materials, and you can subscribe for access to more resources.
“Songs, skills, and learning tools that help teachers develop students into versatile violinists.” Always free for teachers. Students choose FiddleQuest Free or FiddleQuest Complete. An interactive community of violin instructors, other students, and those with whom you wish to share your tunes.
Let’s Make Music! Classroom Recorder Course
“Music Teachers and Classroom Teachers and Parent Teachers and Student Teachers can all use this course effectively. Other than recorders, there is nothing to buy – for you or your students. All necessary teaching and student material can be printed as you need it. Everything is included. This sixty-five page course is free.”
Musopen Music Education
Find resources for learning to play the guitar, piano, flute, clarinet, oboe, saxophone, bassoon, and trumpet. The site also has student and teacher apps to track practice goals, practice time, etc.
Music and Learning
How does music work in the brain? And how are math and science related to music? Check out these resources to find out more:
The Magical Mathematics of Music
Such musical notions as octaves, chords, scales, and keys can all be demystified and understood logically using simple mathematics.
The Musical Brain
How come one person can carry a tune and another cannot? How come you like some music and not others? Find out about music’s relationship with the brain here.
The Science of Music
Explore the science of music with us, through these online exhibits, movies, and questions. Along the way, you can compose, mix, dance, drum, experiment, and above all—listen.
Music can be fun all by itself, but music games are even better. Here are some sites where you can find games that can help your kids learn about music:
Agame.com: Music Games
Check out games like Music Simon, Perfect Piano, Music Rush, Karaoke Resort, and DJ Sonic Mixer. Many more.
Art and Music Games for Kids
“A great way to open children up to the possibilities of the arts. Art and music are essential in expanding the horizons of children beyond the everyday, and children that are exposed to art and music early on are known to do better and go farther in life than they would have without it. Introducing the arts in the form of games is a great way to start them out with a love for art and music.”
Crazy Games: Music Games
Find numerous music games here like Virtual Drum, Repeat the Melody, Princess Rock Band, Beat Dropper, and more.
Music Teachers.co.uk: Fun Stuff
Try to stop notedrops from falling on your head or keep the one-armed rhythm bandit at bay. Discover some music games here from our friends across the pond.
PBS Kids: Music Games
Find fun games for music education here, including Music Maker, Music Shop, Spin & Sing, Sandbox Symphony, and more.
Free Music Games
83 Free music games for you to use.
Other Homeschool Music Education Resources
Be sure to check local homeschool support groups and co-ops for homeschool music education programs.
*below items are not free*
HomeSchool Music Association
“HSMA exists to make an excellent music education in ensemble performance available to homeschooled students and to give desiring students the best possible foundation for the furtherance of their music education beyond the high school level.” Join bands, orchestras, choruses, and other homeschool music groups through this Christianity-based network. Find out about performances or add yours to the list.
Music Teachers National Association: Websites for Kids
“While the myriad links and searches produce hundreds and hundreds of results, the following sites represent a researched sampling of the musical, youth-oriented websites on the Internet today. Many sites offer areas for teachers and parents. In addition, we have listed some good search sites.”