Now enrolling: Interlochen Online courses and certificate programs for July 15

Music Theory Basics Certificate Program

Develop the foundational skills required of any professional musician. Go from complete beginner—learning scales, key signatures, and how to read music—to expressing your musical ideas in your own compositions and communicating with other musicians.

interlochen online music theory basics certificate

Taught by a world-class musician, composer, and educator, the Music Theory Basics certificate program consists of three four-week courses designed for adults and teens. The program can be completed at a pace that works for you and offers a unique opportunity to delve deeper into your craft while showcasing your achievements with a credential from Interlochen—an impressive addition to your résumé, college application, or LinkedIn profile.

For students under 18, the Music Theory Basics certificate program is also an engaging way to earn high school credit. It’s ideal for students looking to challenge themselves beyond their school curriculum or to supplement their homeschool studies.

The following music theory courses make up the certificate program, and must be taken in sequential order:

creative writing pencil iconMusic Theory Basics 1

✔ 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

creative writing pencil iconMusic Theory Basics 2

✔ Notate and identify all simple intervals in a variety of clefs
✔ Construct triads and seventh chords in a variety of clefs
✔ Understand the different functions of various chords within a scale
✔ Identify simple harmonic progressions in major and minor keys
✔ Create your own chord progressions for use in a variety of Western musical styles
✔ Create simple, two-voice contrapuntal textures in your musical compositions

creative writing pencil iconMusic Theory Basics 3

✔ Create a short melodic example in a complex meter
✔ Identify various seventh chords and their inversions in popular musical excerpts
✔ Notate harmonic progressions using lead sheet symbols
✔ Identify and construct 9th, 11th, and 13th chords, in addition to non-tertian chords, such as added tone chords and suspended chords
✔ Create your own musical compositions

Learn and save: Students who enroll in the certificate program will receive a discounted rate by registering for all three online music theory classes as a package.


learn iconCertificate programs comprise three four-week courses, providing deeper training in an artistic discipline or area of study. Students who enroll in a certificate program will receive a discounted rate by registering for all three courses as a package.

Each Interlochen Online course is 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. Combined with that learning is an optional weekly hour-long video class meeting, where you can learn from you instructor and interact with fellow students in real-time. You will also interact regularly with your instructor and peers through messaging inside the learning environment, including receiving personalized feedback on your work from your instructor.

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Upon completion of the program, you will receive a physical certificate and a shareable digital certificate. Certificates for students under 18 are accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS); high school-age students will also receive an official transcript to share with their current school for consideration for high school credit.

Music Theory Basics Certificate Program


$897  $799


Teens: Grades 6-12

Adult Learners: 18+

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.