Best Free Music Lessons and Activities

Cell phone displaying Google Play next to laptop compute\
(Image credit: Pixabay/Firmbee)

As an academic subject, music is like no other. It consists not only of theory, notes, scales, and harmonies, but also the capacity to deeply move its listeners and practitioners. This mysterious influence that music exerts can be a powerful means to engage the minds and hearts of learners of any age. 

The free online music lessons, activities, and apps below will bring the joy of music into any classroom or subject, whether it be language arts, history, math or science. 

Drumeo Free Drum Lessons
An impressive assortment of free videos aimed at not only aspiring drummers, but also advanced students. Explore diverse playlists such as Lessons for Beginners, Advanced Drum Lessons, Must-Know Drum Grooves, Electronic Drums, and many more.
A labor of love from educator Maria Miller, Piano offers basic piano lessons for young learners, video sing-alongs, free sheet music, and music appreciation lessons. A charming, no-stress approach to introducing children to the wonder and beauty of music.

An amazingly comprehensive free resource for students of any age and experience level who want to boost their violin skills and knowledge. Run by professional concert master Pierre Holstein, aka Fiddlerman, boasts an active user forum in addition to its extensive tools for learning violin, from video tutorials to sheet music to basics for beginners. Be sure to check out the annual Christmas project, in which users collaborate by uploading a recording of themselves playing or singing a beloved Christmas tune such as “White Christmas.” Super fun. 

Share my Lesson Music Lesson Plans
Discover hundreds of music lessons created and shared by your fellow educators. Want to teach math or English with music? No problem -- just search by subject, standard, and grade to find your match.  

fluency mc
English teacher Jason R Levine (aka fluency mc) shares his delightful and original rap music videos intended to help users learn English vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar. Videos such as “The New Normal,” “Halloween is Coming,” and “Gerund or Infinitive?” explore current events, American culture, and elements of language in an engaging and fun format. 

Polyphonic Overtone Singing Explained  
If you’ve never heard polyphonic overtone singing, you ought to check out this star of the field, Anna-Maria Hefele. She demonstrates this other-worldly sounding vocalization and provides a thorough explanation of the phenomenon. Hefele’s YouTube channel offers many other fascinating videos exploring oversinging.

Classroom Lyrics
A chance remark during a 5th grade lesson on the seasons inspired teacher Arin Kress to transform a popular song into a musical earth science lesson. She quickly realized the power of rewriting lyrics for education and is the result. Peruse videos featuring popular music with lyrics rewritten for learning social studies, civics, and science topics. Best of all, have your students create and share their own music video.

Violin Lab Channel
Professional violinist and educator Beth Blackerby seeks to explain the science and art of violin playing so that all violin enthusiasts can improve their performance. Although targeted at adults, the videos are perfect for self-motivated students of any age, covering topics such as “8 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I First Learned To Play Violin,” “Vibrato Basics,” and “ Unwanted Bow Bounces.” Her clear, straightforward style makes it easy for anyone to grasp the concepts demonstrated.

Perfect Ear: Music & Rhythm
Android | iOS
Train your ear and mind using Perfect Ear’s exercises in scales, chords, intervals, and rhythm.

Omni Online Music Maker
Are you familiar with hexany? How about hirajōshi? You may have no idea about these terms, but if I said “major,” you'd probably guess that we’re talking about musical scales. Omni is devoted to digital investigation of 40 musical scales, spanning the globe. This brilliantly simple site provides an online keyboard and choice of scale, reverb, and sustain. Use your mouse to play, and your ears to note, the differences and similarities.  

Inside the Orchestra Virtual School Curriculum
Dedicated to cultivating music appreciation in children, the nonprofit organization Inside the Orchestra provides a wealth of free virtual music programs in English, Spanish, and French. Lessons and activities include STEM topics, musical storytime, outdoor musical games, and much more. 

Inside the Orchestra Games
Fine assortment of online musical games, ideal for K-6 students, who can test their recognition of musical instruments, create a music map, or play musical bingo. For an extra challenge, have interested students compose their own works using the built-in digital keyboard. 

Google Tools and Activities for Music Education  
Edtech guru and Google apps expert Eric Curts dives into 12 online music tools that allow users to experiment with musical ideas right in their browser windows. Conduct an orchestra, “see” music, or create your own beats. Serious learning that’s seriously fun.

Grammy in the schools (GITS)
A four-day virtual celebration of music education that takes place in the week before the Grammy Awards broadcast. The GITS sessions feature educators and professional musicians sharing insights on music as an art and a business, as well as K-12 lesson plans. 

New York Philharmonic Digital Education Resources
Videos, detailed lessons and teaching guides from New York Philharmonic musicians. Arranged by grade, these lessons offer imaginative and unexpected ways to think about, learn, and practice music. Almost as exhilarating as being there.

Piano Chord, Scale, Progression Companion
Android | iOS
Top-rated by users, this piano chords and scales “dictionary” allows budding musicians and composers to practice both musical play and composition. 

Diana Restifo

Diana has been Tech & Learning's web editor and contributor since 2010, dedicated to ferreting out the best free tech tools for teachers.