One of the (daunting but) most exciting aspects of music creation is that there’s always more to learn.
Below, we’ve compiled 10 YouTube channels (in no particular order) that have demonstrated that they’re committed to helping people learn more about music, and do a great job at doing just that. For this particular list, we leaned away from DAW or production-specific channels, and placed an emphasis on themes like music theory and culture that are hopefully relevant—or at least interesting—regardless of what kind of musician you are.
1. Adam Neely
Adam Neely is a very popular figure within the world of YouTube music education, and with good reason. He covers a wide array of ostensibly complex concepts on his channel from microtonality to odd time signatures, but does so in a way that’s wonderfully engaging and surprisingly accessible. His inquisitive tone, well-researched scripts, and sprinkle of humor and playfulness make his channel a great place to learn something new, for beginners and experts alike.
2. Nahre Sol
Nahre Sol is an incredibly skilled pianist, composer, learner, and educator. Her channel features a few different recurring series such as How to Sound Like and Genre Exploring, which are all simultaneously calming and extremely informative. If diving into all sorts of topics in music through the lens of a classical piano virtuoso sounds appealing to you, Nahre Sol’s channel is sure to be a fun ride.
If you’re a fan of video games and music composition, 8-bit Music Theory will most likely become your new favorite YouTube channel. Each video examines a specific piece of music or soundtrack(s) from a video game franchise, and explores what makes it tick. With videos on major titles like Pokémon and The Legend of Zelda to indie highlights like Celeste and Hollow Knight, there’s something for every video game fan out there to enjoy.
Two YouTube channels that specifically focus on video game music might seem like a bit too much, but… Scruffy’s videos are too good to not call out. Compared to 8-bit Music Theory, Scruffy’s content is generally a little more focused on sound design rather than traditional theory, and features charming illustrations and animations that accompany the material being discussed.
5. Mary Spender
Mary Spender is a UK-based guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter. In her long-running series Tuesday Talks, she explores an array of topics spanning music culture, mindset and routine, instruments / gear, and more. Her magnetic disposition and interesting interviews with other creators and musicians are sure to keep you coming back to her channel.
6. Andrew Huang
Featuring everything from discussions and instrument explorations to creative challenges and original tunes, Andrew Huang easily has one of the most eclectic music-based channels on YouTube. While not every single video is explicitly focused on music education, it felt right to include him on this list because teaching and learning are such strong through lines across everything he creates.
7. Anuja Kamat
Anuja Kamat’s channel is an incredible resource and a breath of fresh air in a world where music theory is largely (and to a fault) solely examined from a Eurocentric perspective. On her channel, Kamat discusses the aesthetics of Indian classical music and how the genre can be both approachable and highly relevant to the common public. The only downside to her channel is the fact that she hasn’t put out a new video for some time, but it’s still worth digging through her old content and hitting the subscribe button in hopes of a future upload.
8. Trevor Wong
If guitar is your preferred instrument for learning music, Trevor Wong is a great educator for all of your harmonic needs. His videos primarily explore chord voicings and progressions through the perspective of math rock and emo, but the nuanced, emotive sounds he often showcases can be applied to any other instruments and genres of your choosing.
Sideways is a YouTube channel that identifies a niche and sticks with it: discussing film music. The videos—whether they’re focusing on the The Matrix or A Goofy Movie—are often driven by humor, but have a lot of meaningful educational takeaways in topic areas such as arrangement, structure, and theme, with occasional tangents into melodic and harmonic music theory.
Last but not least is Kevin ‘KC’ Conley of PrettySimpleMusic. His channel is exclusively focused on music theory on the keyboard—specifically the harmonic language of genres such as soul and jazz. While there’s the occasional plug of his site and paid courses, there’s plenty you can take away from his YouTube videos alone, especially if you’re interested in expanding your toolkit beyond the go-to diatonic chords.
Who’s your favorite music educator on YouTube? Did we miss any of your favorite YouTube channels? Let us know in the comments below.
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September 7, 2020