Humans had to learn information and skills long before there were any books, manuals, or any reading at all. We learned by watching other people, then copying and practicing – and we still do. The hands-on approach is the best way in many situations to this day.
Some things are extremely hard to learn solely by reading, another person showing how it’s done or at least some pictures are required. Watching videos is the next best thing to having a teacher right beside us.
YouTube is the world’s most popular search engine after Google. Let it sink in. YouTube is not even a search engine, it’s a video hosting service, and it’s widely used for getting information on all kinds of topics. Music-related videos make up a good chunk of inquiries and content on the platform.
Numerous YouTube creators post informative videos on music theory, sound production, learning musical instruments, breaking down compositions, reviewing music albums, etc. It’s a great source of knowledge for beginning and professional musicians alike.
Want to save yourself some time searching for the good stuff? We’ve got you covered! Here is a list of some of the best YouTube channels for musicians, producers, DJs, and everyone interested in music-making.
Adam Neely is a prominent music YouTuber whose content focuses on music theory, music cognition, jazz improvisation, and musical performance techniques. Widely regarded as "musical Vsauce," Neely is a full-time jazz musician who performs as a solo artist, as a session musician, and as a member of multiple New York City-based ensembles and bands. He graduated from Berklee and the Manhattan School of Music.
Neely shares his music knowledge through regular YouTube videos where he explains even the most complex subjects in a very succinct and engaging way that’s fun to watch. In Adam Neely's Bass Lessons he gives tips and tricks on how to play the bass, learn new techniques, and improve the sound.
In the How to Not Suck at Music series, Adam reviews videos of his viewers playing their instruments and gives critiques to help avoid various mistakes and play better. He also has the New Horizons in Music series where he covers wild musical antics and does Gig Vlogs and Q&As on various music-related topics.
Adam won an Emmy for this video he did with Vox deconstructing John Coltrane's "Giant Steps."
12tone is a YouTube channel dedicated to music theory, and it has a fitting aesthetic – all video thumbnails have a picture of a music sheet and the channel logo features a treble and bass clef. The 12tone creator has a Bachelor's degree in vocal performance and contributed a chapter on Music Theory YouTube in the Oxford Handbook on Public Music Theory.
Since 2014 and to this day, the channel releases various music-themed videos every other week. There are over 300 videos explaining chords, tones, notes, cadences, scales, textures, rhythms, odd signatures, tips on good song structures and music writing in general, and lots of other useful information for musicians. It also produces content on broader music-related topics such as the role of artificial intelligence in music, why the four-cord loop is so popular nowadays, and whether modern music is boring (spoiler: it’s not).
The longest and most watched series on the channel is Understanding Music. It consists of over 60 videos breaking down iconic songs and albums in order to find out what makes them sound so catchy and impactful so that musicians understand the formula and use it to influence their own work.
The most popular video on the channel is about the secret to lyrics writing which is the essential part of every non-instrumental song.
Andrew Huang is a musician with over 40 albums of original music under his belt, a popular music YouTuber and a bonafide king of song challenges. His channel features a wide range of content from creative cover songs and funny music spoofs to legit gear recommendations, production techniques and reviews of unconventional musical instruments and devices.
The channel doesn’t feature tutorials but it’s a great place for musicians to draw inspiration and get music knowledge from. Huang has several must-watch series like Production & Music Theory, Synth, Weird Gear, and 4 Producers 1 Sample where four producers are challenged to make a track from the same sample.
Andrew’s signature whimsical and creative approach to music shines through nearly every video he makes. One of the examples is his cover of The Weeknd’s “I Can’t Feel My Face” made using dental equipment like a drill, airbrush, and rubber gloves, recorded in his dentist's office.
Above is another example – a beat made out of the sound of Donald Trump’s sniff… Nobody does it like Andrew Huang!
David Bennett is a professional pianist, published composer, and YouTuber who makes videos about music theory, music history and record production. He graduated from the British and Irish Modern Music Institute with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Professional Musicianship.
Bennett’s channel features a lot of educational videos on modes, polyrhythms, chord progressions, time signatures, and various music theory concepts. The Times described him as having "a true teacher's gift for boiling things down without dumbing them down."
In addition, the channel has many videos analyzing popular songs and explaining the influences and techniques used to created them. Most of these videos focus specifically on songs by The Beatles and Radiohead, so if you want to learn how the hits of these legendary bands were made and what makes them sound great even decades after their release, David Bennet’s channel is just what you need.
Watch David masterfully playing 80 greates piano intros all in one take.
Gregory Scott, the man behind The House of Kush, is not only a music YouTuber, he’s also an artist, audio engineer, and gear designer. His Kush Audio and Sly-Fi Digital plugins and analog hardware are well-known for their uniqueness and quality among music makers. Scott’s YouTube channel, on the other hand, is slept on – for what it gives the viewers, it deserves a lot more attention and appreciation.
Unlike many mixing-oriented channels on YouTube, The House of Kush provides information in a no-BS type of way and takes a more philosophical approach to various mixing methods rather than saying “your should do this because that's what I like to do.” Scott’s videos give you something to think about, make you challenge your perspective on mixing instead of a cut-and-dry instruction everyone should follow “just because.”
You can find many exercises to use in your mixes to help you understand how different tools work in practice and then make adustments until you get to the sound you yourself like and want. Watch just a couple of The House of Kush videos and you will immediately see how helpful, creative and entertaining the content is.
Here is a video where Gregory gives a full on masterclass in under 15 minutes and introduces a fresh approach to vocal mixing.
As the name suggests, You Suck at Producing offers tongue-in-cheek content but it’s not all memes and jokes – behind the sarcastic delivery there are tons of valuable information about production, sound design and composition.
Underbelly, the host of the channel, is trained in classical piano and has an extensive experience in producing electronic music. What’s more, he is an Ableton certified trainer who has produced tutorial videos and other educational materials for the company.
Despite the accolades and experience, Underbelly never takes himself too seriously and has the talent of covering even the most complicated topics in a fun and engaging way. Because of that, the content on the channel is as accessible and entertaining as it is informative and useful.
Watch Underbelly explain (in his signature laidback tone) how to write chords for songs in such a sample-dominated music style as hip-hop without using any samples.
Loopop helps musicians stay in the loop with today’s music equipment and all its features. This YouTube channel features long-form videos with in-depth explanations of the technical capabilities and creative applications of the best new gear on the market.
The reviews on the channel cover both super affordable and expensive hardware. Each video is not only focused on specific synths, drum machines and other gear in question but also similar equipment, so that viewers can compare and select something that fits their needs and budget best.
What also great about Loopop, is that it does actual deep dives into each piece and shows them in action instead of listing the features that can be easily found elsewhere. If you’re moving into hardware setup or considering adding something new into your kit, watch Loopop’s review before you buying.
Here is an example of how Loopop demonstrates the capabilities of Teenage Engineering OP-1 Field and compares it with the OG OP-1, making music on a laptop, iPad, etc.
DJ Mag’s YouTube channel is a goldmine for DJs and producers. It boasts a great number of tips, tricks and techniques you can use to improve your sound and performance. And it’s not just a some abstract recommendations – the channel features seasoned musicians sharing their knowledge and experience.
It gives a glimpse into the studios and behind the scenes of renowed performers and producers, brakes down their creative process, favorite gear and setups. As a viewer, you get lots of opportunities to learn how professionals execute their art with all the technicalities.
Watch David Guetta walking viewers through the steps of how he makes mixes and mashups.