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Using key data factors and statistics provided by the National Center for Education Statistics, this is a list of the best colleges for music. This list compares and ranks the top 20 colleges in music in the U.S., and provides a guide to each ranked program.
For more programs check out our bachelor of music degree page.
|1||UNC Greensboro (99points)||Greensboro, North Carolina|
|2||Belmont University (96 points)||Nashville, Tennessee|
|3||University of Idaho (95 points)||Moscow, Idaho|
|4||Los Angeles College of Music (95 points)||Pasadena, California|
|5||Musicians Institute (94 points)||Los Angeles, California|
UNC Greensboro (99points)
- Greensboro, North Carolina
- Graduation Rate: 77%
Combining world-class faculty and instruction, along with state-of-the-art facilities and many ensemble opportunities and experiences, the UNC Greensboro School of Music has been one of the top music institutions in the U.S. for years. It has also without surprise, not failed to make our list either. Offering students comprehensive degrees in areas like music education and performance, admission into the UNC Greensboro School of Music is a highly sought after prize for many students. Adding to its lure and putting the UNC Greensboro School of Music at the head of the class are tuition and acceptance rates that rank nearly as good as any other comparable program in the country, and better than most.
Tuition: $22,562 peryear
Acceptance Rate: 82%
Belmont University (96 points)
- Nashville, Tennessee
- Graduation Rate: 70%
If you are wanting all the benefits and resources that major colleges offer, and the comfort, ease, and services of a small college, then Belmont University’s School of Music fits the bill. Not only is the Belmont University School of Music unmatched in its distinctive programs, and it is also nationally recognized for those same reasons. Offering students world-class instructors and a variety of degrees, the Belmont University School of Music allows students the opportunity to learn, experience, and discover music the Belmont way.
Tuition: $35,650 per year
Acceptance Rate: 84%
University of Idaho (95 points)
- Moscow, Idaho
- Graduation Rate: 56%
What might be another surprise to many, and especially so high up on the list, is the University of Idaho’s The Lionel Hampton School of Music. A second look though, and it doesn’t take long to discover why this program ended up here. The Lionel Hampton School of Music itself is an intimate group of prominent performers, teachers, and composers, among others who work personally with the program’s talented students. The program’s instruction, its involvement in music competitions, and being an accredited school with the National Association of Schools of Music are only a few reasons why The Lionel Hampton School of Music program ranks as one of the best.
Tuition: $27,540 per year
Acceptance Rate: 78%
Los Angeles College of Music (95 points)
- Pasadena, California
- Graduation Rate: 47%
It may not be any coincidence to find that there are several California schools on this list, as California has long-served as a hotspot for music and music trends. The Los Angeles College of Music (LACM) offers students a curriculum designed to prepare them for careers in the music industry. With programs that range from music performance and music production to songwriting and composing, LACM students learn from leading music professionals. The LACM campus is also comprised of gifted students from around the world, that exist together as a supportive and close environment, as they learn to create, record, perform, and even market their work together. Competitive tuition and a strong acceptance rate of more than 70% make the Los Angeles College of Music a most excellent choice.
Tuition: $25,650 per year
Acceptance Rate: 71%
Musicians Institute (94 points)
- Los Angeles, California
- Graduation Rate: 63%
There is in the hills of the Hollywood, California region, a hidden gem for those aspiring artists who know, and a surprise for those who haven’t discovered the Musicians Institute. Dedicated to empowering and inspiring artistic and academic excellence, Musicians Institute prepares students for careers in the music and entertainment industry. In addition to cutting-edge educational offerings, Musicians Institute also offers a growing list of courses, programs, and degrees online. Attractive tuition and acceptance rates (nearing 70%) have voted MI to the head of the class and the list of top 20 colleges for music.
Tuition: $24,795 per year
Acceptance Rate: 69%
Berklee College of Music (87 points)
- Boston, Massachusetts
- Graduation Rate: 61%
While many colleges on our top 20 list offer degrees in many areas of study, the Berklee College of Music is one of the schools on our list that is solely dedicated to the pursuit of higher music education. Although that type of exclusivity doesn’t automatically translate into making our list, for the Berklee College of Music, it didn’t hurt. Another factor that finds Berklee in our top 20 list is their remote learning options, which are more important now than ever before. While a somewhat steeper tuition rate prevents the Berklee College of Music from ranking higher, a strong acceptance rate helps to keep them on the list.
Tuition: $45,660 per year
Acceptance Rate: 51%
Lawrence University (86 points)
- Appleton, Wisconsin
- Graduation Rate: 79%
From its impressive 26 studios, along with its many ensembles, the Lawrence University Conservatoryof MusicinAppleton,Wisconsin offers a unique opportunity for approximately 350 talented and passionate artists.As one of the nation’sleadingconservatories within a world-class liberal arts university,Lawrence isuniquely positioned to deliver the holistic music education required for success inthe 21st century.Students also get the benefits of the Lawrence University teaching methods, which translates into engaging, hands-on, and personal instruction, both within the college of liberal arts and sciences and conservatory of music. A more than 60% acceptance rate and an average tuition cost help the Lawrence University Conservatory find a spot on our list of the best colleges for music.
Tuition: $49,122 per year
Acceptance Rate: 62%
The Curtis Institute of Music (84 points)
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Graduation Rate: 64%
As another educational institution dedicated to the study of music, the Curtis Institute of Music is another top choice for students seeking to pursue a career in music. Although the tuition and book fees are ahead of the curve, room and board for the Curtis Institute of Music will add about another $15000 to the total yearly expenses. The scarce acceptance rate is also something prospective students should consider when applying, but the student to teacher ratio of 2:1 also means personal and attentive instruction. While the pros and cons here are quite definitive, this also equates to an ideal opportunity and the perfect foundation for a career in music for some students.
Tuition: $24,092 per year
Acceptance Rate: 4%
University of Southern California (83 points)
- Los Angeles, California
- Graduation Rate: 92%
Many know the University of Southern California by the reputation and success of its athletic programs. The USC Trojans, however, are more than formidable on the field of athletics as they offer a wonderful music program for those who wish to succeed in the field of music too. Students who enter the University of Southern California’s music program will likely enroll at the USC Horton School of Music. The stout tuition rate hurts USC’s ranking on our list, but this exceptional music program does have a fair acceptance rate that is also on the rise.
Tuition: $58,195 per year
Acceptance Rate: 11%
New England Conservatory of Music (82 points)
- Boston, Massachusetts
- Graduation Rate: 80%
It shouldn’t be surprising to find one of the leading music institutions in the world on this list. Since 1867 the New England Conservatory of Music has fostered, taught, and led generation after generation in the study and advance of music, promoting creativity, individual exploration, and the betterment of every student and their musical endeavors. NEC is also acclaimed for representing students from more than 40 countries while providing students with instruction from more than 200 internationally-esteemed scholars and artists. With the combination of strong tuition and acceptance rates, along with the level of teaching and instruction students receive, the New England Conservatory of Music finds itself in a top 10 position on our list of the top 20 colleges for music.
Tuition: $50,460 per year
Acceptance Rate: 37%
Manhattan School of Music (82 points)
- New York City, New York
- Graduation Rate: 96%
There are few schools that shout performing arts quite the way the Manhattan School of Music does. Not only is this program recognized throughout the world, the deep commitment to excellence, performance, and creativity help to prepare students for careers as performers, teachers, and composers. It is also a great benefit for students to be located in an area like Manhattan with so many opportunities to learn and perform. All of this prepares students of the program for success following graduation. Although the program boasts of a healthy admissions rate, the admissions cost put the Manhattan School of Music onthe back end of thetop ten on our list.
Tuition: $49,130 per year
Acceptance Rate: 36%
Vanderbilt University (79 points)
- Nashville, Tennessee
- Graduation Rate: 92%
Are you ready to become a Vanderbilt Commodore? If you are, then you have made an excellent decision, and the Vanderbilt Blair School of Music program is an excellent choice. Upper-middle-of-the-road tuition and a somewhat stingy acceptance rate don’t necessarily make the Blair School of Music a sure bet but this conservatory-caliber music program is worth the gamble of applying. A strong 4:1 student to faculty rating in the Blair program (Vanderbilt has an overall 7:1 ratio) is also impressive for such an esteemed program.
Tuition: $48,624 per year
Acceptance Rate: 9%
California Institute of the Arts (79 points)
- Santa Clarita, California
- Graduation Rate: 66%
The California Institute of the Arts, or CalArts as it is affectionately known, is also known as a leader, innovator, and trendsetter in music education. With a focus on fostering creative talent and empowering visionary artists, CalArts offers students more than 70 comprehensive degree programs in areas such as the visual, performing, media arts, among others. While the tuition rate for CalArts is in excess of $50,000, a strong acceptance rate help to keep this cutting-edge college for music on the top 20 list.
Tuition: $51,466 per year
Acceptance Rate: 25%
Oberlin College (78 points)
- Oberlin, Ohio
- Graduation Rate: 85%
Many people outside of the Midwest might not be familiar with the esteemed Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Oberlin, Ohio. This music program affords students access to not only the highest quality facilities but also to visiting artists and recognized faculty members in the music community. Students also are given rare performance opportunities for campus and off-campus events in addition to virtual platforms. While the acceptance rate for the Oberlin Conservatory of Music is a healthy 36%, it is a potentially unfavorable tuition costs that keep this program from ranking higher.
Tuition: $56,822 per year
Acceptance Rate: 36%
Rice University (77 points)
- Houston, Texas
- Graduation Rate: 93%
Following the belief that talent, and in particular, that musical talent is realized along unique and individual paths, the Rice University Shepherd School of Music has built a program around that entire premise. That is evident in the enrollment of no more than 290 gifted students. With competitive tuition in addition to the type of instruction and world-class teaching students receive, it was impossible to keep the Shepherd School of Music off the list.
Tuition: $50,310 for the 20/21 academic year
Acceptance Rate: 16%
The Juilliard School (77 points)
- New York City, New York
- Graduation Rate: 92%
It isn’t realistic to create a list of the top 20 colleges for music without including what is arguably one of the most well-known music schools in the world, New York’s own The Julliard School of music. From inspiring new music to developing new musicians, students of The Julliard School have a tendency to move on into rewarding and successful careers as performers, musicians, and experts in the music industry. This iconic college of music offers fair tuition prices, but it is their acceptance rate that prevents a higher number. Don’t be disappointed if you don’t get accepted into this renowned music program though, just be prepared with a few backups just in case.
Acceptance Rate: 7%
Cleveland Institute of Music (77 points)
- Cleveland, Ohio
- Graduation Rate: 61%
This might arguably be one of the bigger, if not more unexpected schools on the list, as the Cleveland Institute of Music makes a solid appearance on our list of the top 20 colleges for music. In addition to giving students access to world-renowned artists and conductors, the Cleveland Institute of Music proudly touts being just one of seven independent conservatories of music in the United States. A competitive tuition and acceptance rate easily puts the Cleveland Institute of Music on the list of best colleges for music.
Tuition: $42.006 per year
Acceptance Rate: 37%
Boston University (77 points)
- Boston, Massachusetts
- Graduation Rate: 87%
Another prominent school, the Boston University College of Fine Arts (CFA), is more than a college of music, it is also a rich community of artists that joins the schools of music, theatre, and the visual arts. The CFA gives students professional training in conservatory-style environments that often is balanced or taken with a liberal arts curriculum to complete a well-rounded musical education. The Boston University College of Fine Arts program is also noted for its academic rigors, which is great for students looking to be intellectually challenged. If it weren’t for such a robust admissions rate, CFA would have faired better on our list, especially with its impressive acceptance rate of almost 20% for such a well-respected institution.
Tuition: $55,892 per year
Acceptance Rate: 19%
Wesleyan University (74 points)
- Middletown, Connecticut
- Graduation Rate: 91%
Some four decades ago the Wesleyan University Music Department began, at that time what was an unprecedented program in World Music. Since that time, this internationally recognized program has drawn students from every corner of the world, in pursuit of an education in music. The Wesleyan University Music Department offers that kind of education with a program that is focused on the study, performance, and composition of music, in light of the world’s music and technology today. A considerable tuition fee along with a less than eye-popping acceptance rate, however, keep this program on the second page of the list.
Tuition: $57,334 per year
Acceptance Rate: 16%
Northwestern University (73 points)
- Evanston, Illinois
- Graduation Rate: 94%
Renown as one of the leading educational icons of the Midwest, Northwestern University boasts of a prestigious and proud music program too. While students will often need to seek financial aid to contend with Northwestern University’s “big school” tuition rates, the reward is an education at the Northwestern Bienen School of Music. The acceptance rate at NU also hovers just below ten percent, so it may be advisable to apply with a backup school or two in mind. Nobody ever said getting into a top 20 music school was easy, but few things good ever are.
Tuition: $56,691 per year
Acceptance Rate: 9%
The Ranking Process
All of the schools listed were deemed reputable and of comparable educational opportunities and value. This allowed the formula to evenly weigh two other factors (Tuition / Acceptance rate) evenly, each accounting for half of the total school valuation process.
Errors, Updates, or Missing Information
Although these tuition fees and acceptance rates are estimations, if you have noticed any information that is incorrect, outdated,that is missing or that has changed, please feel free to let us know. We understand that these variables are constantly changing, and we strive to keep all of our information correct, accurate, and current.
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What is the most prestigious school for music? ›
- The Juilliard School. ...
- Berklee College of Music. ...
- Yale School of Music. ...
- New England Conservatory of Music. ...
- The University of Southern California, Thornton School of Music. ...
- Curtis Institute of Music. ...
- The Royal Academy of Music. ...
- Royal College of Music.
|Berklee College of Music||Boston, MA||Bachelor's, Master's|
|Miami University||Oxford, OH||Bachelor's, Master's|
|University of Houston||Houston, TX||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral|
|Juilliard||New York, NY||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral|
University of Southern California
#1 Colleges with the Best Student Life in America.
|1||Jacobs School of Music||Indiana University—Bloomington|
|2||Peabody Institute||Johns Hopkins University|
|3||School of Music, Theatre, and Dance||University of Michigan—Ann Arbor|
1. The Juilliard School. The Juilliard School, or simply Juilliard as most people call it, is known as the most prestigious performing arts educational institution in the world, according to a number of rankings doled out every year.Should I go to College for music? ›
Yes, a music degree is worth it for most aspiring musicians. Music degrees are essential for employment in the music industry as well as building well-rounded musicians. However, in some areas of music, a degree may not be necessary.Is singing a good career? ›
A singer may perform in a band or may perform as a solo artist. It is being observed that a number of young artists are finding singing as a successful career option.What should I major in if I want to be a singer songwriter? ›
While a Music Performance degree is standard, you can also find programs in Popular Music, Vocal Jazz, and Contemporary Music, among others.What subjects do I need to become a singer? ›
There are various degree and diploma courses offered in relevant subjects, such as drama, theatre, performing arts and musical performance. These courses usually incorporate practical learning and stage productions as part of their training.Is Berklee vs Juilliard better? ›
The Berklee school of music ranking is always in the top five of any ranking, oftentimes second only to Juilliard. But unlike Juilliard with its emphasis on the classical arts, Berklee is a distinctively contemporary music school. Its philosophy holds that music can be best taught through the music of the time.
How many music schools should I apply to? ›
For many music students, submitting between five and ten applications is a good number, even if the schools on your list can't be easily categorized as “reaches,” “matches,” or “safeties.” Applying to a much larger number of schools may seem like a tempting strategy to hedge your bets, but it can backfire if it leads ...How good do you have to be to get into Berklee? ›
With a GPA of 3, Berklee College of Music accepts below-average students. It's OK to be a B-average student, with some A's mixed in. It'd be best to avoid C's and D's, since application readers might doubt whether you can handle the stress of college academics.What college has the happiest students? ›
- Princeton University.
- Brown University.
- Vanderbilt University.
- College of William and Mary.
- Kansas State University.
- University of Iowa.
- Fairfield University.
- University of California, Berkeley.
- Clarkson University. ...
- Duquesne University. ...
- Emerson College. ...
- George Mason University. ...
- Illinois Institute of Technology. ...
- Indiana University of Pennsylvania. ...
- Marywood University. ...
- New Jersey Institute of Technology.
- University of Texas at Austin. The University of Texas at Austin/Facebook.
- University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. ...
- University of Wisconsin. ...
- University of Georgia. ...
- Yale University. ...
- University of Southern California. ...
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology. ...
- University of California at Los Angeles. ...
Nationwide, these are the three top schools with the most graduates who registered at Harvard, Princeton or MIT from 2015-18: Thomas Jefferson High School in Alexandria, Virginia: 96; Stuyvesant High School in New York City: 94; and Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire: 87.What high school sends the most students to Ivy Leagues? ›
- The College Preparatory School, Oakland, CA. ...
- Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, NH. ...
- Harvard-Westlake School, Los Angeles, CA. ...
- Chapin, New York, NY. ...
- St. ...
- The Dalton School, New York, NY. ...
- The Winsor School, Boston, MA.
The most expensive high school in the U.S. is Shortridge Academy. Like many of the priciest high schools, Shortridge Academy is a residential school, which boards its students for the school year.What university has the best orchestra? ›
The Juilliard School in New York City is widely regarded as the most impressive as well as one of the very top music conservatories in the world. The Juilliard Orchestra is undoubtedly made up of some of the most talented instrumentalists from around the United States.What GPA do you need to get into Juilliard? ›
A good GPA to aim for with Juilliard is at least a 3.0. However, students with even lower GPAs may be considered for admission into Juilliard. This is because grades are not the most significant determining factor for admission into Juilliard.
What is the #1 university in the world? ›
|1||California Institute of Technology (Caltech)||USA|
|3||Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)||USA|
Music majors study a particular instrument and take a variety of music-related courses. A MUSIC MAJOR studies music theory, music composition and music history. Music majors were often heavily involved in some sort of music activity in high school – whether band, orchestra or chorus.Is it smart to major in music? ›
You'll Make A Good Living
The truth is that professionals with a Bachelor of Arts in Music make over $60,000 per year on average, according to PayScale. Granted, that's not as much as some of the highest-paying majors (think business administration or computer science), but it's far from poverty.
- Job Titles: Sound Engineer. Music Degree Needed: Music Production. ...
- Job Title: Recording Engineer. Music Degree: Electronic Music Production and Sound Design. ...
- Job Title: Music Professor. ...
- Job Title: Music Therapist. ...
- Job Title: Music Director or Composer.
Between classes, rehearsals, and performances, music majors are often quite busy and rarely have downtime for themselves. Therefore, it is not the easiest major for any student.How do I start my music career? ›
- Decide what type of musician you want to be. There are various types of musicians, and each type requires a certain set of skills and experience. ...
- Pick an instrument. ...
- Take music lessons. ...
- Practice on a regular basis. ...
- Join a band. ...
- Record your music. ...
- Don't give up.
They're able to carry a tune, hit certain notes, and entertain others with their voice. A great vocalist is someone who is devoted to their craft, who works incredibly hard, and who is willing to sacrifice and do what it takes to become the best they can be.What should I double major with music? ›
Most schools are open to their music students double majoring in any area other than another area of music. Languages, mathematics, biological sciences, physical sciences, social sciences, communication, psychology, business, technology – these are the more common double major fields in conjunction with music.Which subject is best for musicians? ›
Many college music departments offer majors in music education and theory, composition, performance, or general music. A general bachelor's degree program in music, for example, may entail broad coursework in music theory, composition, and aural training.How do you survive music school? ›
6 Tips To Survive Your First Year At A Music College/Conservatory
- Create a routine. ...
- Foster your independence. ...
- Build a network. ...
- Check your ego. ...
- Find a place to clear your mind.
How long do you have to go to college to be a singer? ›
There are no formal educational requirements for singers, especially in pop music. However, many opera singers hold a bachelor's degree in music.How much money do singers make? ›
How much does a Singer make? As of Oct 10, 2022, the average annual pay for a Singer in the United States is $130,724 a year. Just in case you need a simple salary calculator, that works out to be approximately $62.85 an hour. This is the equivalent of $2,513/week or $10,893/month.Is a 4 year college worth it? ›
Despite the rising cost of post-secondary education, a college degree still pays off for the majority of graduates. On average, those with a bachelor's degree earn significantly more than their peers with only a high school diploma.How much is Stanford tuition? › How much is the tuition fee in Yale University? › Are the Ivy League schools? ›
The eight institutions are Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, and Yale University.What degrees are not worth getting? ›
- Advertising. If you're an advertising major, you may hope to get into digital marketing, e-commerce, or sports marketing. ...
- Anthropology And Archeology. ...
- Communications. ...
- Computer Science. ...
- Creative Writing. ...
- Criminal Justice. ...
- Culinary arts. ...
The cost of a four-year degree “averages $102,000”, which means that even if you include the average $30,000 debt students graduate with, in pure numbers terms, it's still worth it.Is a degree worth the debt? ›
Despite the hefty cost of a degree, overall the data tells us that college is well worth the investment. We've all been lectured on the statistics that degree-holders make more in a lifetime than their less educated peers.What GPA is required for Stanford? ›
There is no minimum GPA or test score, nor is there any specific number of AP or honors courses you must have on your transcript in order to have your application reviewed or be admitted to Stanford.
Does Stanford offer full scholarships? ›
Stanford University Scholarships 2023-2024 are fully funded scholarships for international students. These scholarships are offered for Masters and PhD studies. These scholarships cover full tuition fees, traveling allowance, Living allowance and academic expenses.Is Stanford generous with financial aid? ›
In recent years, more than 80% of our students receive some form of aid to attend Stanford. More than 55% receive aid from Stanford, including athletic scholarships. 48% receive need-based scholarships from Stanford and pay an average of $12,800 toward their bills.What GPA is required for Yale? ›
In truth, you need close to a 4.0 unweighted GPA to get into Yale. That means nearly straight As in every class.Does Yale give full ride scholarships? ›
All financial aid for Yale undergraduates is need-based. Yale College does not award merit-based scholarships.What majors is Yale known for? ›
The most popular majors at Yale University include: Social Sciences; Biological and Biomedical Sciences; Mathematics and Statistics; Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies; Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services; History; Engineering; Area, Ethnic, Cultural, Gender, and Group Studies; Psychology; and Visual ...What is the cheapest Ivy League school? ›
The most affordable Ivy League school is the University of Pennsylvania, with a $61,170 per year average cost for tuition for undergraduate programs. These college costs include tuition, general fees, clinical fees, and technology fees.What is the easiest Ivy to get into? ›
Cornell is considered the "easiest" Ivy League to get into because it has the highest Ivy League acceptance rate. While it's easier, statistically speaking, to get into Cornell, it's still challenging. It's also important to remember that students apply directly to one of Cornell's eight undergraduate colleges.What is a good SAT score for Ivy League? ›
Ideal SAT Score for Ivy League Colleges
A good average aim should be 75 percentile or an SAT score of 1580 (out of 1600). But the main goal should be to earn scores that exceed the majority of applicants. Students can look at the previous year's scores to predict how much score they should aim for.