Applications are still open for Arts Camp and Arts Academy. Programs fill quickly—submit your app today!

The next session for Interlochen Online begins Feb. 26. Register now with over $200 off select courses.

Music Theory Basics 1

Limited-Time Discount: Register for the Feb. 26 session only for $249.

Music theory provides a language that allows you to express your ideas to others—whether you are a performer, a composer, or just someone who loves to listen to and talk about music. Using a diverse selection of music from the 20th and 21st centuries, this online music theory course will explore the fundamental elements of music, looking closely at sound, harmony, melody, rhythm, and growth.

You’ll begin to master the elements of music, including clefs, notation, intervals, pitch, musical texture, and chord construction. You’ll also learn the core principles of melody and harmony, including range, flow, and contour, as well as rhythmic elements that help give structure to music, such as beat, pulse, and duration. 

By the end of this course, you will be able to use the elements of music theory to better understand and communicate about the music you know and love, which, in turn, will enable you to create meaningful and expressive performances and compositions of your own.

What you will learn:

✔ Identify and use the elements of Western music notation, including clefs, notation, intervals, pitch, musical texture, and chord construction    
✔ Apply the core principles of melody and harmony, including range, flow, and contour    
✔ Identify and use rhythmic elements that help give structure to music, such as beat, pulse, and duration    
✔ Create short, original melodies in a monophonic style

Join us and learn music theory online!

Register Now

What you need to participate:

  • MuseScore (free music notation software) or another music notation software that you are comfortable using and that allows you to export music as PDF (notation) and MP3 (audio) files
  • Computer or mobile device with Internet. Internet speed must be at least 1.5Mbps download and 800Kbps upload. For students using a mobile device, download the Canvas mobile app and select “Interlochen Online” as your school. (Note: Make sure your computer is compatible with MuseScore.

How the course works:

Interlochen Online courses are designed to be inspiring and flexible with weekly learning units that combine video segments and guided instruction that you can complete on your own schedule during the week. You will interact regularly with your teacher and peers inside the learning environment. 

You can also participate in an optional weekly hour-long video class meeting, where you can learn from the teacher and interact with your classmates in real-time. At the beginning of the course, you will complete a survey indicating your preferred times for the class meeting. The teacher will make every effort to identify a meeting time that works for everyone. The teacher will also post recordings of the meetings and you can view them when it is convenient. 

The goal is that you walk away not only with practical skills and friendships, but that you are inspired and motivated to pursue your art and realize your potential.

Program Snapshot

Upcoming Course Dates

Feb. 26 - Mar. 22, 2024 | Teen and adult sections

Apr. 1 - 26, 2024 | Teen and adult sections


$249   $495  for the Feb. 26 session only.


Teens: Grades 7-12

Adult Learners: 18+

Future Sessions

Academic Calendar

Meet the Faculty

Andrew Martin Smith, D.M.A.

Instructor of Music Composition & Theory

Questions? Speak with an Advisor.


Phone: 231.276.5990 

You can also schedule an appointment.

Access Free Resources from Interlochen Online

Experience Interlochen Online with free guides that teach you practical skills in the arts.

The first few pages of the Music Theory Basics 1 study guide.
Complete this form to receive this exclusive guide on music theory from Interlochen Online
I am interested in:
Yes, I consent to receive Interlochen Center for the Arts communications.
May we text you?
This is to test whether or not you are a human and to prevent spam submissions.