15 Best Music Schools in the US – Top Colleges for Music
Lots of people dream of getting a higher education in music. Are you one of them? Have you thought about colleges for music where you might like to study? We offer you our list of the best music schools for getting a quality music education.
Many interesting music universities are located in America, and, of course, studying in them isn’t cheap. But we know that when you really want something, you can always find a way, right? Our college essay writing service presents a list of the best music colleges in the USA.
The Best Music Schools in America 2023
|Music School||College Location||Music Degree||Music Programs||Acceptance Rate|
|Juilliard School||New York, NY||BFA, BM, MM||Classical, Jazz, Drama||7%|
|Curtis Institute of Music||Philadelphia, PA||Diploma, BMA, MM||Orchestral Instruments, Voice||4%|
|Manhattan School of Music||New York, NY||BM, MM, DMA||Classical Performance, Jazz, Composition||49%|
|Berklee College of Music||Boston, MA||BM, BA, MM||Contemporary Music, Production||55%|
|New England Conservatory of Music||Boston, MA||BM, MM, DMA||Classical Performance, Composition, Jazz||43%|
|Yale School of Music||New Haven, CT||MM, DMA, Artist Diploma||Various Instruments, Composition||10%|
|Bard College Conservatory of Music||Annandale-On-Hudson, NY||BM||Music Performance, Composition||15%|
|Indiana University Jacobs School of Music||Bloomington, IN||BM, MM, DM||Orchestral Instruments, Voice, Composition||25%|
|Eastman School of Music||Rochester, NY||BM, MM, DMA||Music Performance, Composition, Jazz||20%|
|Peabody Conservatory-Johns Hopkins University||Baltimore, MD||BM, MM, DMA||Classical Performance, Composition, Music Education||52%|
|Oberlin Conservatory of Music||Oberlin, OH||BM, BA, MM||Classical Performance, Composition, Jazz||35%|
|University of Michigan School of Music||Ann Arbor, MI||BM, MM, DMA||Performance, Composition, Music Education||25%|
|Rice University Shepherd School of Music||Houston, TX||BM, MM, DMA||Performance, Composition, Music Theory||12%|
|University of Southern California Thornton School of Music||Los Angeles, CA||BM, MM, DMA||Performance, Composition, Music Industry||5%|
|University of North Texas College of Music||Denton, TX||BM, MM, DMA||Performance, Composition, Music Education||16.6%|
List of Top Music Schools in the US
When you see that there is a huge number of music schools you can apply to, it may cause you to feel a little bewildered. But don’t worry, it’s possible to find the most suitable college for you, if you educate yourself on them. Take a look at our “best college for music” list:
The Juilliard School, New York
|Admission Process||Completed online form and attached essay, resume and video submission, letter of recommendation, A document confirming knowledge of the English language (B2)|
|Audition Requirements||As part of the application, you must submit the proposed audition repertoire for reviewing and approval.|
|Application Deadlines||You can fill out an application for training until December, and apply for a scholarship until March.|
|Tuition & Fees||Tuition: Approximately $53,300 per year (2023-2024), plus additional fees|
|Acceptance Rate||Admission to the Juilliard School is selective; an acceptance rate of 7%.|
The Juilliard School is one of the top music schools in the USA. Henry Mancini and John Williams graduated from it – to say nothing of the fact that only about 7% of applicants are accepted there annually. Other notable alumni include Bernard Herrmann, Barry Manilow, Wynton Marsalis, Philip Glass and many more.
Only the most talented students are accepted to study at this music degree college. In order to be considered for a scholarship from the school or for a government grant, you must successfully complete several stages of selection.
We found that Juilliard School has developed a wide network of services to ensure the health and well-being of its students are at the highest level and to promote their intellectual, creative, and personal growth. Students consider participation in campus life to be an integral part of the study experience at Juilliard.
- Prestigious reputation
- Professional teachers
- Well-equipped classrooms
- Creative experimentation
- Great orchestra concerts
- Highly competitive
- High tuition
Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia
|Admission Process||You need to create an online account, attach the required documents such as the results of a language exam (IELTS, TOEFL), and write an essay answering the institute’s questions.|
|Audition Requirements||You must pass the audition, live or online.|
|Application Deadlines||Applications begin in the fall and last until mid-December. Auditions are held in February and March.|
|Tuition & Fees||Tuition and fees in 2023 is $5,930 for prospective students.|
|Acceptance Rate||The institute only accepts a small number of applicants each year (4%).|
Curtis Institute of Music is considered one of the most selective conservatory schools in the country – only four percent of applicants are accepted there. All students attending receive a scholarship for all their studies (well, let’s face it – most likely they deserve it).
At the moment, there are only 155 students at the university, but each of them receives a scholarship that fully covers the cost of education. This is one of the colleges with music majors that also provides financial assistance to cover living expenses.
After analyzing the Curtis Institute of Music, we can say that the classes are very small – each of them with less than 20 students. In addition, every year, the institute gives its students the opportunity to participate in more than 150 performances around the world – from the USA to Australia.
- Close-knit community
- Completely free attendance
- High-quality music education
- Supportive teachers
- Students motivate each other
- No sports
- Not the usual college experience.
Manhattan School of Music, New York
|Admission Process||Launch an online application, enter your degree, program, and instrument or field of study information, and fill out other sections. Applications for some majors may require a video preview.|
|Audition Requirements||You can pass the audition live or online.|
|Application Deadlines||Fall 2024 application opened on September 1, 2023 and is due by December 1, 2023.|
|Tuition & Fees||Tuition for 2023-2024 is $53,500 plus fees.|
|Acceptance Rate||Admission is quite competitive as the acceptance rate is 49%.|
Manhattan School of Music is one of the musical colleges that is deeply committed to excellence in education, performance, and creativity. The school’s approach to music education inspires many very talented people to attend this college in order to realize their creative potential.
Manhattan School of Music offers one of the best music programs. After analyzing Manhattan School of Music admission information, we found that when you apply, you must include information about your academic performance, resume, personal information, summaries of repertoire studies, and an essay.
During our research of Manhattan School of Music we learned that the conservatory’s systematic and rigorous training, combined with a wealth of technical opportunities, makes this school one of the most attractive institutions for young musicians in New York. In addition to core subjects, students play and watch world-famous guest musicians perform.
- Great variety of subjects
- Professors are passionate masters
- Working with world class artists
- Freedom to choose the courses
- Flexible schedule
- Hard to build connections
- The school system is a bit outdated
Berklee College of Music, Boston
|Admission Process||Create an account and complete the application form. Pay the non-refundable application fee.|
|Audition Requirements||Candidates for the Bachelor of Music degree must complete an audition and interview. Bachelor of Arts degree candidates are required to attend an interview without audition.|
|Application Deadlines||Deadlines are different since The Bachelor of Music program provides application three times a year: spring, summer, and fall.|
|Tuition & Fees||The tuition cost is different based on the program (undergraduate or graduate).|
|Acceptance Rate||The acceptance rate is 55%.|
Berklee College of Music is one of the best universities for music education. Its mission is to support students in their musical development and teach them the necessary skills for a successful career in the field. The basis of the curriculum is the cultivation of the musicality of all students and the development of a clear and confident mastery of the subject.
Berklee College of Music takes second place in music colleges ranking according to the Hollywood Reporter. It contains programs designed to develop creativity through the musical disciplines. Education takes place in a modern musical environment – students bring their music to the highest level.
For more than half a century, the college has been a successful example of combining the art of music and the business of music. We found that Berklee College of Music was the world’s first school to offer undergraduate programs in jazz, rock, electric guitar, songwriting, film scoring, electronic production, and over a dozen other genres and fields of study.
- Diversity of musical genres
- Staff consisting of professional musicians
- Excellent alumni network
- Good career development support
- Flexible class hours
- Expensive education
- Limited free time
New England Conservatory of Music, Boston
|Admission Process||Create an account and complete the application form.|
|Audition Requirements||All programs require prior video recording or portfolio.|
|Application Deadlines||The deadline is December 1, 2023.|
|Tuition & Fees||The tuition fee for a 1-year bachelor’s certificate is $45,420.|
|Acceptance Rate||Admission is competitive, with the New England Conservatory’s acceptance rate at 43%.|
New England Conservatory of Music is one of the most famous music schools. As a student at the NEC, students can perform as soloists and as members of large and small ensembles. But that’s only the beginning.
New England Conservatory of Music offers one of the best music degrees. The conservatory is one of the oldest music conservatories in the US and one of the most prestigious in the world.
The NEC offers a number of programs and a variety of classes to help young musicians prepare for their future careers. It has a distinguished faculty and a supportive community of students and alumni.Private lessons are the basis of music education. The NEC has amazing facilities to ensure a comfortable learning environment for its students.
- Private lessons for students of all levels
- Wide selections of subjects
- Professional performance coachings
- Ensemble-based classes
- Halls with good acoustics.
- Administrative inefficiency
- Infrastructure is always under construction.
Yale School of Music, New Haven
|Admission Process||You need to fill out an application form on the school’s website.|
|Audition Requirements||For applicants who have passed the preliminary selection, there will be live auditions. Presence is required.|
|Application Deadlines||The deadline is December 1, 2023.|
|Tuition & Fees||The tuition cost depends on the chosen program.|
|Acceptance Rate||The Yale School of Music’s graduate acceptance rate is approximately 10%.|
Yale School of Music is a famous music conservatory. The school has the largest number of active professional music alumni. The school trains musicians in almost all professions that are music related.
Analyzing Yale School of Music, we can say that it is one of the best schools for music majors. It has graduate degree, Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree programs. You can attend Yale and study music as your major and then apply to the Yale School of Music.
At Yale School of Music, students can practice, study, and rehearse in Hendrie Hall, take lessons and classes in Leigh Hall, as well as perform in Sprague Memorial Hall among other fantastic facilities. Yale is full of opportunities to develop yourself as a musician.
- Many opportunities to perform
- Cultural activities
- Student groups
- Resources for safety
- Quite a difficult academic program.
Bard College Conservatory of Music, Annandale-On-Hudson
|Admission Process||Since all students of the conservatory receive a double degree in academic fields and music, every applicant requires the submission of two applications.|
|Audition Requirements||All auditions are by invitation, and shortlisted candidates will be invited to either submit new recordings, or schedule an audition.|
|Application Deadlines||The deadline is January 1, 2024.|
|Tuition & Fees||The tuition for the 2023-2024 undergraduate program is $62,790.|
|Acceptance Rate||The acceptance rate is about 15%.|
The Bard College Conservatory is a university of music that was founded in 2005. Students of the college have performed at Lincoln Center in New York, at the Sanders Theater at Harvard University, in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, and more.
The Bard College Conservatory is one of the schools with music programs that takes five years of study with the possibility of obtaining two diplomas – a Bachelor of Music and a Bachelor of Arts in another field. The college offers scholarships for students. You need to write an essay that should show that you are the best candidate for getting financial aid. If you have problems with writing, leave a “write my college essay” request, and we will provide you with a high-quality scholarship essay sample.
The Bard College Conservatory music program is located at the Edith C. Bloom Institute. Music facilities include rehearsal rooms, fully equipped recording and editing studios, computer music studio, listening library, composition studio, jazz band rehearsal room, and more.
- Supportive community
- World-class musical training
- Double degree program
- Wide range of concentrations
- Possibility to participate in orchestra chamber music
- Hard work is required
Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, Bloomington
|Admission Process||To be considered for admission, students must complete the Indiana University Admissions Application and the JSOM Supplemental Application.|
|Audition Requirements||Pass an audition and/or interview, depending on your program.|
|Application Deadlines||The deadline is December 1, 2023.|
|Tuition & Fees||The tuition depends on the chosen program and whether you are a resident of Indiana.|
|Acceptance Rate||The acceptance rate is approximately 25-30%.|
The Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University is one of the most professional music schools in the US. It is located in Bloomington, Indiana, and was founded in 1921. Until 2005, it was known as the Indiana University School of Music.
According to our analyses, Jacobs School of Music is one of the best universities for music majors. Admission to the school requires only a live or recorded audition. The overall acceptance rate for undergraduate students is around 25% and for graduate students – around 30%.
At the Jacobs School of Music, participation in various ensembles is mandatory for some students. In their seven buildings, you will find lots of studios, laboratories, rehearsal rooms and offices, not to mention concert halls and an amphitheater.
- Many students play in top bands and orchestras
- Pleasant environment among students
- Lots of available extracurricular activities
- Comprehensive education including theory, history, and practice.
- Individual attention
- It may be hard to find practice rooms, according to reviews.
Eastman School of Music, Rochester
|Admission Process||You need to provide a personal statement, resume, and recommendations from your teachers.|
|Audition Requirements||Repertoire requirements can be checked on the main website of the school.|
|Application Deadlines||The deadline is December 1, 2023.|
|Tuition & Fees||The tuition is $63,150 for 2023-2024 undergraduate programs plus additional fees.|
|Acceptance Rate||Eastman’s acceptance rate is just under 20%.|
Eastman School of Music is a structural unit of the University of Rochester and one of the good colleges for music education. Every year, the Eastman School of Music hosts 800 performances in which everyone can express themselves in different ways and put their musical knowledge into practice.
The school is seventh in the music schools ranking according to the Hollywood Reporter. Analyzing Eastman School of Music, we concluded that there are several double degree programs and the opportunity to do an internship at other popular music institutions in New York.
According to our research at Eastman School of Music, the ideal conditions for studying the art of music have been created here. There are spacious classrooms with modern musical instruments. You can participate in various events. You can gain knowledge and skills from professional vocalists and other musicians that are your instructors. You can also receive career development help, among other things.
- Several music programs
- Impressive faculty
- Prestigious reputation
- Experienced instructors
- Opportunities for professional networking
- Limited class sizes
- Demanding workload
Peabody Conservatory-Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore
|Admission Process||You need to submit transcripts from high school or college and personal statements that explain why you believe Peabody is the right choice for you.|
|Audition Requirements||Qualified applicants will be invited to an in-person audition where they can demonstrate their musical abilities.|
|Application Deadlines||Prospective students should submit their applications before December 1st for early decision and by March 1st for regular decision.|
|Tuition & Fees||The institution’s tuition is competitively priced, with a majority of graduate students paying less than $20,000 per year for their programs.|
|Acceptance Rate||The average acceptance rate for entering freshman to the school is 52 %.|
Peabody Conservatory-Johns Hopkins University is one of the best music conservatories in the US. Established in 1857, it has been providing solid musical education for over 150 years. Located in Baltimore, Maryland, this world-renowned conservatory offers a variety of programs including performance studies and composition.
Peabody Conservatory-Johns Hopkins University is one of the colleges with music programs with a strong focus on technology and interdisciplinary approaches. The university is well-known for its innovative pedagogical strategies, which include the use of digital audio technology in classrooms that allow students to collaborate more easily and efficiently on projects.
Analyzing Peabody Conservatory-Johns Hopkins University we can say that it offers music courses ranging from classical music theory to contemporary film scoring, giving students an opportunity to explore different genres and styles of music composition. The university also encourages students to participate in extracurricular activities such as master classes, workshops, community performances, and other events.
- World-class education
- Best musical performances in the country
- Top faculty
- Access to state-of-the art facilities
- Many opportunities for learning
- High cost
- Competitive admission
Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Oberlin
|Admission Process||It requires students to submit a wide variety of materials including transcripts from high school or college, letters of recommendation, essays and test scores.|
|Audition Requirements||Applicants must present two contrasting pieces from different musical eras.|
|Application Deadlines||Applications must be submitted no later than November 1 for early decision and February 1 for regular decision.|
|Tuition & Fees||For undergraduate students enrolled full-time, tuition and fees for one academic year (two semesters) total $56,542, plus additional fees.|
|Acceptance Rate||The overall acceptance rate for the school is about 35%.|
Oberlin Conservatory of Music is a college of music with over 100 years of excellence. Their faculty and alumni have made a significant impact on music and their students benefit from deeply engaging student-teacher relationships. They offer a wide range of degree programs in music, including Bachelor’s Degrees, Master’s degrees, and performance certificates.
Oberlin Conservatory of Music offers classical music degrees in several genres including orchestral performance, composition, jazz and opera. The conservatory is known for its strong academic standards as well as the opportunity to work with world-renowned faculty. To apply, you need to write an admission essay. If you have problems with it, it is enough to ask for help with our essay writing service.
Analyzing Oberlin Conservatory of Music, we can say that it has also been praised for its emphasis on small class sizes, allowing students to receive individual attention and mentorship from their professors. In addition, Oberlin is home to a vibrant music community where students can explore and share their passions.
- Longstanding reputation for excellence
- Wide range of programs and courses
- Access to top-notch faculty members
- Successful graduates
- Innovative approach to music education
- High tuition costs
- Conservatory’s location
University of Michigan School of Music, Ann Arbor
|Admission Process||Applicants must have a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 on all college work attempted, or equivalent academic achievement at the secondary school level.|
|Audition Requirements||In order to audition, students are expected to prepare two contrasting pieces at their skill level.|
|Application Deadlines||The Early Decision deadline is November 15th, while the Regular Decision deadline for those wishing to pursue a Bachelor of Music degree is February 1st.|
|Tuition & Fees||For undergraduate students at the University of Michigan School of Music, tuition will be $21,264 for full-time students.|
|Acceptance Rate||The average acceptance rate of applicants in 2023 is approximately 25%.|
University of Michigan School of Music is a music programs university. At the university, they provide a comprehensive selection of music courses for students from every level. From fundamentals to advanced studies, their range of offerings help students gain an understanding of the art of music and allow them to explore their interests in the field.
The University of Michigan School of Music is one of the colleges with best music programs. There, you will find state-of-the-art studios as well as experienced faculty to help you hone your skills and achieve success. The students can pursue their passion for music while also learning from professionals in the field.
The University of Michigan School of Music has an extensive library of more than 35,000 volumes and recordings. The school is dedicated to providing its students with the resources to develop a strong foundation in music.
- Top-tier education
- Leading industry professionals
- World-class facilities
- Access to resources
- Supportive community
- High cost of attendance
- Limited scholarships
Rice University Shepherd School of Music, Houston
|Admission Process||The admissions process begins with submitting an online application form and official transcripts along with any required test scores.|
|Audition Requirements||Audition requirements vary by instrument and degree program.|
|Application Deadlines||The Undergraduate deadline is usually around the end of October, while the Graduate deadline is typically mid-December.|
|Tuition & Fees||Tuition fees vary depending on the program selected.|
|Acceptance Rate||With an acceptance rate of just 12%, it is one of the most selective music programs in the country.|
Rice University Shepherd School of Music is an American music school located in Houston, Texas. The school is part of the Rice University System and is home to some of the most talented musicians from all over the world.
According to music conservatory rankings, Rice University Shepherd School of Music is in the top five of all music schools and conservatories in the United States. The school offers a variety of degree programs that span from undergraduate to graduate levels and include both traditional music disciplines and innovative new approaches.
Our research of Rice University Shepherd School of Music has shown that students have access to exceptional faculty, resources, performance opportunities, and more.
Whether you seek to explore a long-term career in music or simply wish to gain a better understanding of music, this school is the perfect place to do so.
- High quality instructional staff
- Opportunities to collaborate with acclaimed artists
- Comprehensive academic programs
- Excellent facilities
- Vibrant community
- Limited financial aid options
- Competitive admissions process.
University of Southern California Thornton School of Music, Los Angeles
|Admission Process||In order to be admitted into the program, applicants must meet certain requirements, including having sufficient musical knowledge and technical skill.|
|Audition Requirements||Applicants are required to submit an audition recording or live performance demonstrating their ability.|
|Application Deadlines||For undergraduate students, the application deadline is November 15th. Spring admission deadlines vary by major and are due either December 1st or January 14th.|
|Tuition & Fees||They offer four tuition plans, which are designed to meet the individual needs of the students.|
|Acceptance Rate||The USC Thornton School of Music has an acceptance rate of 5%.|
University of Southern California Thornton School is a music college renowned for its excellence in teaching. With a curriculum designed to provide an expansive understanding of music theory, composition, performance, improvisation, and technology, USC Thornton is dedicated to cultivating generations of creative and innovative musicians.
The University of Southern California Thornton School is one of the US schools of music with long-standing traditions and an amazing heritage. It has been providing musical education since 1884 and it is known for its high standards in music teaching.
The University of Southern California Thornton School provides students with a wide range of possibilities to pursue their musical passions. With top-level professors, state-of-the-art performance spaces, unique opportunities for collaboration and research across disciplines, and access to innovative technology, USC Thornton offers an outstanding musical education for students of all levels.
- World-class faculty
- Great learning environment
- Performance opportunities
- Learning of various musical genres
- Variety of courses
- High cost
- Busy performance schedule
University of North Texas College of Music, Denton
|Admission Process||Submit your application with all required materials, such as transcripts, essays, and letters of recommendation.|
|Audition Requirements||Audition includes a prepared repertoire piece, sight-reading exercises, tonal memory tests, and scales.|
|Application Deadlines||Fall Semester: Application Deadline: April 15th. Spring Semester: Application Deadline: October 1st.|
|Tuition & Fees||Tuition and fees at UNT vary depending on course selection, major, and residence.|
|Acceptance Rate||The acceptance rate is 16.6%.|
University of North Texas College of Music is one of the best music conservatories in the nation and offers some of the most dynamic music programs for aspiring musicians. The instructors are professional musicians with extensive experience in their respective fields, ensuring that students get a well-rounded education in all aspects of music production.
University of North Texas College of Music has fifteen distinct degree programs, ranging from vocal and instrumental performance to music education. It is one of the colleges for music majors where students will find the right courses to help them reach their musical goals in a supportive and creative environment. For a successful application, you need to write an essay that will grab the admission committee’s attention. If you are not sure about your writing skills, ask us, “write my paper.”
The College of Music also provides students with the opportunity to collaborate with other musicians, giving them the chance to refine their skills while networking with industry professionals. With state-of-the-art recording studios and laboratories, as well as internship opportunities, there’s something for every music enthusiast.
- Wide variety of courses and degrees
- Renowned faculty members
- Access to many resources
- Participation in different ensembles
- Opportunity to study abroad
- It is extremely hot in Denton during summer
- Expensive education
Expert Conclusions About the Best Colleges with Music Programs
A degree in music is not a prerequisite for a successful career as a musician, but studying music will give you an excellent theoretical base, a lot of connections in the creative industry, and practical experience in creating music and performing. The best music schools in the US can help you with that.
In good colleges for music education, you can, of course, learn to play one or more instruments, become an expert in singing, or in musical performance. But you can also study:
- sound engineering and music production
- music technology
- music teaching
- music therapy, etc.
Education in music schools in America usually involves combining a lot of theory and practice, that is, live performances and work on real musical projects in the chosen specialty. Students also study the history of music, its different directions, and train their ear and diction.
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