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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Developing Your Musicianship by Berklee

1,260 ratings

About the Course

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....

Top reviews


May 20, 2021

This course is a incredible one to kick start as a musician , it allows one to grow and learn basic musical chords and notes, it gave me deep knowledge about the harmony, ear training and song form.


May 30, 2021

Wonderful course! The instructor is great and the lessons are very well planned and with attainable learning goals. So much fun! I loved it so much I enrolled in the 4-course Specialization.

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1 - 25 of 411 Reviews for Developing Your Musicianship

By Jonathan C I

Apr 17, 2017

Course realistically takes 15-20 hrs/week of work, not "3-5 hrs/week" as said in course description, that clearly assumes either someone already knows how to play piano well, or already knows music theory well, if either of these skills are lacking, be prepared to spend 15+ hrs a week to understand the material (2 hrs/day). The prof says in the video "just practice 15 mins a day" which is complete hooey, it takes at least 1+ hr/day uninterrupted practice at the piano to get close to skillful at the material presented, plus another 0,5-1+ hr of theory study on paper review. I highly recommend this course but the amount of time should not be underestimated (like so many music people seem to do, because they likely had many years of music exposure already).

By Deleted A

Feb 6, 2019

I am new to music, and music theory. I have always wanted to learn, but I thought it would be too hard. This class has helped me so much, and learning to compose my own music is starting to look a lot more attainable.

By Laramie M Y

Sep 7, 2019

Absolutely great! The professor is just incredible. The way he teaches is very clear, easy to understand and not boring at all. I absolutely recommend this course to everyone.

By Alison G

Sep 5, 2016

This is a really great course. It's broadened my scope of music a lot. I never use to think much of Jazz and Blues, but I've really got an appreciation for it now. :)

By Kate A

Apr 14, 2020

Hands down the best music theory course I've ever taken. I had trouble with understanding theory in the past, but this course has made it so incredibly easy. I'm so happy with the results!

By Debi M

Aug 8, 2016

I learned so much in so little time. I actually impressed a musician friend of mine when I rattled off and showed him all the chords I learned on the keyboard. I played a 12 bars blues riff on the keyboard, tracked it, and then played a melody and tracked that and made an mp3. I cannot say enough. If I ever have the honor of meeting the professor who taught this course I will tell him I learned more about music in 6 weeks with his superb methods of instruction than I ever did in other courses. I am trying to save up money so I can take an official Berklee online course. This course was awesome! It truly showed why Berklee is in a class by itself.

By Golbi K

Jan 17, 2019

I'm very happy to have completed this course. I learned a lot during a few weeks and enjoyed it too! Professor George W. Russell, Jr. is amazing. He makes learning music fun and Samy Elgazzar is a great assistant and always very helpful! I will continue with the next courses of the specialization :) Thank you so much! :)

By Tom L

Aug 6, 2022

Great introduction with just enought challenge to keep me interested although I was already famailiar with most of the content. I am looking forward to the second course in this series.

By Emma R ( P

Mar 9, 2018

This was so great for helping me to join the dots between gaps in my knowledge, i really don't find theory easy at all. George Russell the teacher is brilliant!

By Allona R

Apr 22, 2019

I had loads of fun, as mandatory :) No surprise if your taking classes with the amazing George W. Russell Jr. Thanks, master!

By Danila G

Oct 24, 2018

The best introduction to Music to COMPLETE beginners like I was when I completed the course several years ago. It teachers music through practice, listening to and doing - making you acquire complex theoretical concepts naturally. This is a course I feel need to return to from time to time - if only for its listening practice!

By Costas R

Oct 18, 2018

Just wonderfull.Thanks to all people who took part in making this course and of course Professor George W.Russel,Jr. This step-by-step approach is very cool. I like this very basic and strong foundation with a lot of exercises, mnemonic tricks and of,course, the main requirement-to have fun=)

By Olga N

Sep 29, 2018

5 Stars because the workload was not heavy and I had enough time to go through lessons several times so I could better master the subject-matter, and also because the teacher was clear in his lectures and I am certain I can apply these skills in my everyday life.

I loved taking this course.

By Daniel C P

Feb 7, 2019

An amazing course that fills up your energy thanks to its excellent professor!

By Bradley

Mar 20, 2018

Course is pretty good, but a little too short on material. Ended up only being about 1-2 hours of work per week, where as I was hoping to invest more like 6 hours a week in this. Everything is in the key of C. The final project was fun to put together. Some of the peer grading system is kind of silly, in particular sections that require going into forum posts and commenting on other people's material there. This is in contrast to the very structured peer grading for the final project, that also appears to be used in the second course in this series. Also, there are a number of free text questions in videos that require an exact match on a text phrase that are insanely stupidly implemented. For example, if the answer is "in the key of" and you type "notes in the key of", you'll repeatedly be told to try again, until you click "skip". You might as well always click "skip". Overall, pretty solid, but very basic.

By roberta l

Feb 26, 2017

I enjoyed the videos, but not the assignments. I wanted to have fun and learn more about the music that I think makes life more beautiful. The final assignment in the module was unclear to me and the feedback unkind. Telling me to wait a year, get outside help and try again is not in any manner fun or helpful. I can't imagine doing that to a student of mine, a peer, or even a stranger. Nor do I find it in keeping with the claim this should be fun. In the end I would rather be an uninformed lover of music than make myself crazy trying to learn it with people that are taking an introduction class and clearly forgot what it was like to be in your first couple of months of learning music. It is like learning calculus from the math instructor that thinks some of the steps are so obvious that he can skip them forgetting he has a PhD in math.

By Luka P

Mar 19, 2017

Very low content: I got more information about Berklee than about music from this course. It is more of a show-off of the university than it is an actual informative course. Looks a lot like a yt tutorial, just much fancier because they are berklee. I watched from the beginning to the end waiting for them to start talking about anything other than naming intervals, but it didn't happen. They try to ear-train you, but any app for ear-training will do it better. Quite disappointing.

By Barbara S

Nov 28, 2016

George is the best teacher ever!!! It is my favourite Course at Coursera. Thanks to George, I have learned to differ musical intervals and the basics of improvisation. First I use to doubt, whether the ear training really does work. I had no music school education experience. After some few lessons I was so suprised, when I saw my progress and good results. I understood that the simple methods really work. When you have a slowdown, and you cannot go further (like I use to do) just trust George and try again and again. It will work. You do not have to be a professional musician to succeed in this course.

George, it was wonderful to meet you at the beginning of my music career. Thanks a lot!!!

By Thomas S

May 14, 2017

Great course for beginenrs to understand the basics of music tehory by applying it directly. The lectures are very entertaining with nice musical examples. The professor is outstanding!!! I really enjoyed the lectures. Even if I play saxophone I startet playing on the piano a little bit and learned a lot. I will take the other courses as well. Thank you very much for this great course.

By Abhijit B

Jun 8, 2017

It is a beautiful course for beginners. Even if you know the basics of music theory, it is still a good course to learn ear training and chord progressions. The assignments definitely help to apply whatever you have learnt. George W. Russel Jr. is one of the best teachers in this field. He teaches the concepts effortlessly and always emphasizes on having fun while learning music.

By Lucas B

Sep 18, 2018

This course is a good way to start structuring your musical knowledge if you did not have a more formal background. The course is straight to the point, but one step at a time. Professor George W. Russell Jr. is very charismatic and the videos are fun to watch. Either if these are your first steps or you are in an intermediate level, I bet you'll enjoy this course.

By Himalaya R

Jul 16, 2019

Excellent. Very skillfully organized. If you never had a formal music training and you are a musician of some kind, this is where to begin. I thoroughly enjoyed the course. It finished perfectly with Final Project where I composed and wrote my own 12 Bar Blues riffs and improvised over my keyboard. I also learned learnt many things about playing keyboard here.

By Chingis T

Jun 23, 2017

Great course, thank you very much. I absolutely loved the ear training using different intervals and building scales. Furthermore, that was great to learn something about how to play piano since I had only played guitar prior to taking this course. If more tips can be included, that will be wonderful. Thank you once again for providing this course!


Oct 4, 2016

This is an excellent intro course. The instructor clearly had a lot of fun preparing videos, and it's contagious. There is a high-level of polish here - even pacing, helpful study guides, solid video production values and active teaching assistant in the forums. I learned a lot in this class, but aside from that it was just a good time :).

By Robert B

May 22, 2018

This is a very eye opening course. I loved every minute of it and had fun. It requires a lot of technical support that was woefully lacking. I think the problem is from Cousera. and their help desk is very unhelpful. I had serious problems submitting my work due to bugs in the system.