Learning music theory can seem daunting at first, especially if you don’t have access to an instrument. However, there are several ways to gain a solid foundation in music theory without actually playing an instrument.

Books and Online Resources

One of the most accessible ways to start learning music theory is through books and online resources. There are several great books available that cover the basics of music theory in a clear and concise manner. Some popular titles include “Music Theory for Dummies” by Michael Pilhofer and Holly Day, “The AB Guide to Music Theory” by Eric Taylor, and “Music Theory: From Beginner to Expert” by Nicolas Carter.

In addition to books, there are also plenty of online resources available that can teach you the fundamentals of music theory without requiring an instrument. Websites like MusicTheory.net offer comprehensive lessons covering everything from basic notation to advanced chord structures. Other websites like Coursera offer free online courses taught by professional musicians and educators.

Ear Training

Another important aspect of learning music theory is ear training. Ear training involves developing your ability to recognize intervals, chords, and melodies simply by hearing them. This skill can be developed through a variety of exercises that don’t require an instrument.

One simple exercise is to listen to a piece of music and try to identify the different chords being played. You can also practice identifying intervals by listening to two notes played back-to-back and trying to determine the distance between them.

YouTube Tutorials

YouTube is another great resource for learning music theory without an instrument. There are countless channels dedicated to teaching beginners the basics of music theory through easy-to-follow tutorials.

Some popular channels include Rick Beato’s “Everything Music” series, which covers topics ranging from chord progressions to song analysis, and Andrew Huang’s “4 Producers Flip The Same Sample,” which breaks down the music production process in a fun and engaging way.


Learning music theory without an instrument may seem challenging at first, but with the right resources and dedication, it is entirely possible. Books, online resources, ear training exercises, and YouTube tutorials are all great places to start. By developing a strong foundation in music theory, you will be better equipped to understand and appreciate the music you love.