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Berklee College of Music

Developing Your Musicianship

Berklee College of Music via Coursera


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Learn the basic concepts and approaches needed to understand, create, and perform contemporary music. If you have a passion for music and are curious about how it works, or if you are a musician who learned to play by ear without formal study, this course will provide you with an engaging introduction to key concepts and approaches needed to understand, create, and perform contemporary music. Taught by Berklee College of Music professor George W. Russell, Jr., the course includes six lessons that delve into harmony and ear training—two areas of intensive focus for every entering Berklee student. The course will teach you the major scale and minor pentatonic scale, and how they are constructed. You will learn what intervals are, how to sing them, and how to find them in music. The course explores tonal centers and how to find the key a song is in, in addition to common time signatures such as 4/4 and 3/4. You will learn how to build chords—major and minor triads, and major and dominant seventh chords—and how to build a common chord progression—the I IV V. You will also learn how to recognize the blues and AABA song forms, and write a basic chord sheet to express your song ideas. In addition to the video lectures, each lesson features Berklee student performances and interviews. The students share their musical journey and offer advice for those wanting to study music. The course culminates with an assignment that asks you to compose and perform a riff blues tune using the minor pentatonic scale. Above all, the course is designed to share the joy of creating music and sharing it with others.


  • Welcome to Developing Your Musicianship
    • Welcome to the course! Here we will cover all the details about the course and what you'll need to know to get the most out of your experience.
  • The Major Scale
    • This week, you'll learn about harmony and ear training and why they are important. You'll learn how to construct a major scale, how to identify and sing Major 2nd and Major 3rd intervals, and how to find the tonal center of a song.
  • Major and Minor Triads
    • This week, you'll learn how to identify Perfect 4th and Perfect 5th intervals and how to build major and minor triads. You will also learn about one of the most common chord progressions: the I IV V.
  • Minor Pentatonic Scale
    • This week, you will learn how to identify Major 6th and Major 7th intervals. You will also learn how to build and sing the Minor Pentatonic Scale.
  • Major and Dominant Seventh Chords
    • This week, you'll learn how to build Major and Dominant Seventh chords. You will also learn another common chord progression: the Blues Progression.
  • Song Form
    • This week, you will learn about 7-3-5 chord voicings and 4/4 and 3/4 time signatures. You will learn about two different song forms - Blues and AABA - and you will learn how to write and read a chord sheet.
  • Practicing What You Know and Moving Forward
    • This week is a review of the past 5 weeks. You will also learn how to compose a blues riff tune using the Minor Pentatonic Scale.

Taught by

George Russell


4.5 rating, based on 16 Class Central reviews

4.8 rating at Coursera based on 1262 ratings

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  • Rafael Alves De Jesus
    The course is really good, focused on explaining C Major Scale and C Minor Pentationic Scale as well as C Chords.

    Ear training excercises can be challenging for begginers.

    The course doesn't say but it is highly recommend to have a keyboard to practice or at least some way of playing Chords.

    Also I felt that the course didn't start at step 0 of the music theory but will be able to follow it if you spend a little more time learning some concepts from outter sources.
  • Jor Da San
    great to learn how to teach for those who want to have an idea on how to teach music! it's quite practical and very complete for anyone starting from zero!
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
    Very good course. Developing your musicianship from scratch!
  • Pascal Lobigkeit
  • Tiina
  • Grilligan
  • Tony Soprano
  • Fabi
  • Andrei Dumitrescu
  • Marat Minshin

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