Can kids learn music online?

Online learning has exploded over the past few years. The COVID-19 pandemic turbo-charged what was already a growing trend, and more learning happens online now than ever before. But music is different right? Can kids learn music online too? Seems fishy, many adults are skeptical that online music learning can be as effective as in-person lessons. But, when done properly it really works. In fact, several studies have found that online learning produces better outcomes than traditional “bricks and mortar” learning environments.

So, yes – kids can learn music online! From one-on-one tuition with world-class musicians to step-by-step YouTube tutorials, there is something to suit every child. There are so many resources available it can get confusing for parents and caregivers. In this post, we’ll look at how it works, what equipment you’ll need, and where to find the best resources.

How does learning music online work?

Rather than taking lessons in-person, online music lessons involve live video calls with a tutor, either one-on-one or as part of a group. As with in-person lessons, the tutor takes the child through a structured learning program. There are often tests and exams to measure their progress. Online lessons usually cost less than in-person lessons, but they can get quite expensive.

Self-guided study is another option. This involves using prerecorded videos and other resources and tends to be less structured than formal lessons. Although this approach has its drawbacks, kids tend to enjoy being able to explore their chosen subject on their own.

What are the advantages of learning music online?

As well as the general benefits of learning music, there are some particular advantages to learning music online. Some of these include:

  • Huge choice: There are so many options to suit any child, instrument, and learning style. Online, kids can learn with and from people all over the world.
  • Convenience and flexibility: Not having to leave the house and flexible timings for lessons make showing up to learn even easier. Kids can explore topics at their own pace and follow what interests them.
  • Less pressure: Many kids hate the pressure of performing in front of people. Online learning removes that stress and lets kids build their confidence gradually.
  • Community: Learning online might sound isolating, but most online learning resources have thriving communities where kids can talk and exchange ideas.
  • Low cost: Formal online lessons are often cheaper than in-person lessons. There is also a huge variety of resources available for free.

Are there any challenges?

As with any type of learning, there are challenges when learning music online. Some also apply to in-person learning:

  • Technical issues: Learning online requires reliable technology and people who know how to use it. Kids today might be adept with technology at a young age, but it’s still a good idea for a nearby adult to understand the equipment and software in use.
  • Finding a quiet spot: Home life is often noisy and chaotic, and this can be a huge challenge when trying to learn online. You need a quiet spot where your child can focus on their learning and practice their instrument in peace.
  • Teaching quality: Not all online resources are created equal, and some just aren’t of sufficient quality to be useful.
  • Staying motivated: A challenge for most people learning an instrument, it can be hard to stay motivated when things get tough. Learning online can actually be better here though as there are lots of inspirational resources to explore.

What do we need to get started?

There are a few things your child will need to begin their online learning journey:

  • A fast, reliable internet connection: This is essential. If your wireless connection is unreliable, try using a wired connection instead.
  • A computer or smartphone: While a computer is preferable, it’s possible to learn with a smartphone alone.
  • Their musical instrument: For lessons, your child will need an instrument. Some institutions hire instruments to their students
  • A quiet place to study: Somewhere to study and practice undisturbed is essential so your child can concentrate.
  • Headphones: Not essential, but a set of headphones will help your child focus and may help avoid disturbing other members of the family.

Where can my child learn music online?

Perhaps your child has expressed an interest in an instrument and you want to enable them to explore it on their own. Maybe you’re looking for intensive one-on-one tutoring. Or you might want something in between. Whatever you’re looking for, there are thousands of resources online to help your child learn music.

Here you’ll find a selection of the best websites that we’ve come across. You won’t find any smartphone apps here – that’s a topic for another day!

YouTube channels for learning music

YouTube is a fantastic resource that most kids are familiar with and love to use. There are thousands of music tutorials on the platform, many of which are great. But many don’t have the structure and in-depth knowledge that kids need to learn, and so aren’t very useful – although they might be entertaining.

The channels listed here are high-quality and cover a huge range of musical topics in a fun, accessible way.

1. Music with Linsday

Perfect for very young children, covering the basics of music and American Sign Language.

2. Music with Meg

Violin and guitar lessons for kids of all ages.

3. Myleene’s Music Klass

Myleene Klass and her kids explore music together.

4. Mr. Henry’s Music World

Fun, comprehensive lessons for beginners young and old.

Free online music lessons

There are tons of free lessons out there that are suitable for kids, but the quality varies a lot. Here we’ve rounded up a few of the best options.

  • Making Music Fun – A collection of video lessons for many types of instruments, from the piano to the bagpipes!
  • Hoffman Academy – Piano lessons for kids. All lessons are free, with extras accessible through a paid option.
  • TeachRock – A huge and fascinating resource with lessons on all aspects of rock music history and theory. Aimed at teachers, the site also features a student-facing section.
  • Virtual Drumming – Drum lessons, without the drums. Great for trying out the instrument without buying a kit. Also useful for all musicians to improve their rhythm skills.

Free interactive music resources

Games and other interactive activities are a fun way to supplement music lessons, and there are a vast number of resources online. Here are a few to get you started:

  • Classics for Kids – Games and activities for younger kids, with sections for parents and teachers too.
  • Music Tech Teacher – Don’t be put off by the site design! There are lots of fun and educational music games, quizzes, and exercises to explore here.

Paid online music lessons

If you’re looking for more traditional one-on-one or group lessons there are thousands of providers online. Almost all music schools offer online lessons, as do plenty of orchestras, choirs, and other music groups. Check with your favorites to see what they offer.

The following websites allow you to browse, compare, and hire tutors, often on a lesson-by-lesson basis.

Paid online music courses

Combining tutored lessons and self-guided study, these structured courses allow your child to learn at their own pace. Most feature free taster sessions so you can try before you buy.

Many MOOC (massive open online course) platforms such as Coursera, Udemy, and Skillshare offer music courses that may be suitable for older kids and teens. Here we’ve stuck to platforms that primarily deal with the creative arts.

  • Masterclass – Courses of varying lengths from some of the world’s most famous musicians. Suitable for older kids and teens.
  • ArtistWorks – Similar to Masterclass but completely music-focused with more in-depth courses and certificates.
  • Busy Kids Do Piano – Bite-sized lessons for young kids and parents. The website also features a fun podcast with short, accessible episodes.
  • Violin Lab – A comprehensive learning platform for all levels of violin learners. Best for older kids who are dedicated to the instrument.

In conclusion

Learning music online is more popular and accessible than ever before. There is a staggering range of quality options available, and more pop up every day. Learning online has its challenges, but these tend to be similar to the issues that can crop up when kids learn music anywhere. 

With careful research and supportive guidance, kids can learn music online just as well as in “real life” – and perhaps more so!