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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Developing Your Musicianship by Berklee

1,237 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. Samy Elgazzar, a graduate of Berklee College of Music and a successful composer, will be your Teaching Assistant (TA) for the course....

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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26 - 50 of 404 Reviews for Developing Your Musicianship

By Akshi G

May 21, 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.

By Patrik K

Jul 6, 2020

This course has been extremely helpful for me to get started on learning music theory. The course material is top quality (video, study guides, assignments etc.) Highly recommended!

By Steven G

Jul 4, 2017

Very educational for both the unexperienced people who has never played an instrument and the musicians that learned how to play by ear and want to expand their musical vocabulary.

By Michael O

Feb 26, 2021

George Is a great teacher I really enjoyed his approach, lesson material was very clearly presented. A review course for me but I enjoyed it all the way.

By Lori G L

Feb 6, 2021

Fantastic - great course, great teacher, provides all the support to be successful in its completion and it was fun! Work yes, but fun.

By Nayelli Z L

Mar 9, 2021

I enjoyed every step of this course, I liked the video classes and much more the exams and quizzes. Thank you so much

By Justin P

Feb 20, 2021

Great interactive, informative course for building a base of music theory.

By Gina d C

Mar 2, 2021

Excellent course. Wonderful professor!

By Qianru L

Feb 8, 2021

fun to learn!!

By Kurt S

Jan 15, 2021

I'm only giving 4 stars here for a couple reason. First though - let me say that the specialization is well worth the time if only for more practice and exposure to something you might not have had yet and the instructor, materials, and references are great. However, I think the structure is lacking for an overall experience. This course focuses more on giving you a fast track system for popular/jazz based experience touching topics early students shouldn't even be seeing and missing many they should. For instance, early on they cover the major/minor scale then push into pentatonic scales (something I feel should be left until after you understand harmonics well). No real mention of Harmonic rhythm or progression is given outside of a few popular chord progressions. Cadences, sequences and non-chord tones aren't even a topic yet they introduce modulation and only to make it a bit spicy. They cover 7ths and tensions but don't cover voice leading and melodies have like 1 week the entire course. I would recommend the specialization to someone getting back into music after a long break but not for anyone else. It's either to easy for intermediates or to hard (and potentially damaging) for brand new musicians/composers.

By Albiser T

May 25, 2019

Je ne pensais pas que l'harmonie/solfège pouvait être aussi amusante ! C'est ce que prouve ici Mr Russel par son immense qualité de pédagogue. En plus d'être un excellent musicien, le professeur aime ce qu'il fait, il s'éclate, et il transmet le tout.

J'ai suivi la formation n'étant pourtant pas un grand bilingue, mais tout est aisément compréhensible. Je précise toutefois que j'ai déjà de bonnes notions d'harmonie/théorie, et qu'ici tout n'était qu'un rafraichissement de ma mémoire, mais qui m'a fait énormément de bien.

Cependant, je ne peux pas donner 5 étoiles car Berklee ne peut s'empêcher de faire sa pub et un temps considérable qui aurait pu être consacré a un approfondissement de notions est dédié à des interviews inutiles d'élèves ainsi qu'à des vidéos de performance qui à mon sens n'ont rien à faire dans un MOOC, aussi respectables puissent-elles être.

De plus, malgré le côté très didactique de Mr Russel j'ai trouvé qu'il allait très vite sur certaine notion à quelques moments, et j'ai pensé qu'un élève qui n'en aurait pas connaissance pourrait être assez vite largué à ce niveau là.

By Clara K

Mar 7, 2021

Great instructions and the course is a lot of fun and very accessible!

It really covers the very basics - which can be great or a bit too little depending on your situation but it is definitely worth going through.

By Viren B

Jul 15, 2020

A nice, gentle course to introduce you to actually creating some music. It's much more practical than the Fundamentals of Music Theory course by the University of Edinburgh, but not at all as detailed or information-rich. I'd say do the FOMT first and then come back and do this specialisation.

The professor has an infectious enthusiasm which is very nice to see, and after hearing Adam Neely mention his name too, I feel a bit honoured to be 'taught' by him, through a screen though it may be.

The Berklee marketing is a bit insistent and forceful and I'd take half a point off for that if I could, but on balance that is easy to ignore and doesn't affect the course content.

By Kaizad N

Jan 12, 2021

I joined this course having played music by ear for over 15 years - guitar, singing, ukulele, keys, synths, music production. And yet, I would find it so difficult to sit down and just... jam with musicians I loved. As a result I would just focus on composing at my own pace, in my own space. Not ideal, but I still loved it.

I wanted to develop a core understanding of what I was doing by ear, so that I could just jump right in at jams, shows etc. I loved the pace of this course. I had no trouble keeping up, and yet was never bored as the pace allowed me to take everything in, imbibe it into my hands, and then move along. Can't wait for part 2!

By Tamerlan K

Apr 12, 2020

Professor George Russell is one the greatest music teachers I've ever had and I only regret that these lessons were online – I can only imagine how awesome they would be if I could actually interact and communicate with him!

This course is exceptional in encouraging you to experiment, practice and be creative with everything you learn from the very first steps, so you dive in into the world of music right ahead, without spending months on simply learning and memorizing bunch of abstract stuff. This is extremely valuable.

It's a perfect course for the beginners, best start possible and I recommend it to everybody!

By João P B

Jun 23, 2020

Very good and practical course. Very straight to the point and clear for those who want to improve the technique of teaching music. As a professional musician and teacher for almost 10 years, this course helped me to have more didactics to teach. Super recommend this course for everyone!

Curso muito bom e prático. Muito direto ao ponto e claro para quem quer aperfeiçoar a técnica de ensinar música. Como músico profissional e professor há quase 10 anos, este curso me ajudou a ter mais didática para ensinar. Super recomendo este curso para todos e todas!


Sep 5, 2020

Me encantó, aprendí muchísimo. El uso de la escala pentatónica menor definitivamente me hará progresar mucho en mi instrumento y también me ayudará a construir mis propias canciones. Algo que siento que faltó fue como tal explicar de dónde salían las escalas, los acordes de séptima, etc. Pero como el mismo George aclara, hay cursos más avanzados. algo muy genial es ver los vídeos de las presentaciones de los estudiantes de Berklee, muy mptivante y genial. 5/5 por mi parte.

By Ritik M

Jul 5, 2020

Thank you very much to the concerned professor George Russell sir. I am very much impressed with your great knowledge and charming nature. Thanks for granting us with these cheerful and marvelous sessions; we learned a lot and will always try to implement your advises pertaining to this music field. Thanks BERKLEE COLLEGE for this wonderful course. This course made my holidays very fruitful and fantastic. Always love BERKLEE COLLEGE...


By Ben N

Apr 18, 2020

I loved this course. There were so many great things taught.

I would like to recommend that there be a way (if there is, I am not aware of it) to refute some feedback. I had to re-do my last project because I was graded incorrectly. The person that offered feedback did not follow the lesson correctly. This was frustrating for me but if there was a way to eliminate that element I think it would be better for us students learning with Coursera.

By Zani M

Aug 25, 2020

LOVED IT! Loved the pace of the lessons. The style of the professor. He totally enjoys teaching this course and his constant smile, positivity and enthusiasm are inspiring.

I'm a beginner in terms of musicianship and I really learned a lot in this course. I feel like I have a solid foundation regarding the fundamentals of music theory and a good basis from which to continue my studies.

I highly recommend this course! Sad it's over!

By Bill H

Sep 29, 2020

I enjoyed this course and learned quite a lot. I had some background knowledge coming in, so I was able to move through at a faster pace. I made a few mistakes, though, too, and so it was definitely good to slow down and review! Perhaps most importantly from my point of view as a musician, I learned what I still need to work on in practice in order to develop. This kind of formative feedback is the most valuable thing of all!

By Paula J W

Oct 16, 2020

The course was excellent. I enjoyed all of the subject matter; I had some difficulties with the ear training lessons but I just used a keyboard to assist me. The other areas I enjoyed was formulating a C7, 12-bar blues, the pentatonic scale and Cmaj and Cmin scales along with being exposed to a blues ending.

Writing the scale chart was fun too. Thank you Prof. Russell for all that you taught me.

By Muhammad H

Jun 5, 2020

It was a great course. I learned about many things that I was aware about but never knew the logic behind. I learned about what is Major Scale and how it's constructed. I also got to know about the Major and Minor Triads and how to form Major chords. I also learned a very new thing called Minor Pentatonic Scale. Lastly, I learned about 7th Chords and their theory and construction.

By Spyridon P

Jan 24, 2021

Very nice course to act as a basis for music theory. Information given and the supplemental material is very useful. Only slight improvement I could think of is to give more information regarding intervals (e.g. how to figure out quantity/quality). It feels like the intervals are just jumping out of the blue in the discussion a bit.

Otherwise, it's a great time investment.


Jun 8, 2021

Un excelente curso. El profesor y personal involucrado son sumamente amables, carismáticos y llenos de creatividad. Lo recomiendo ampliamente. Si el inglés no es tu lengua materna, hay muchas herramientas para nosotros los hispanohablantes, sin embargo, lo mejor seria tener al menos un nivel intermedio de inglés para aprovechar de mejor manera el curso.