Top music schools / colleges in the world to learn music performance under expert musicians, to learn music production or recording from professionals, or learn music business from industry professionals. These schools and colleges offer campus programs and some even offer online programs.
How Music School Can Help?
“Music is the universal language of mankind.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
There are a lot of students who are good at arts, music, and drama.
If you already know to play a musical instrument, can sing well, and are part of the school band/choir, you can further your music education and make a career in the world of music by attending a music school and pursuing a degree in the field of arts (music).
Music can be very demanding at such schools but you will enjoy it and in a few years you will see vast improvements in your musicality, and it will also open the doors to various opportunities within the industry.
Here we take a look at the top music schools and colleges, known for imparting quality music education.
Top Music Colleges in the World
There are several schools out that offer great curriculum/programmes in music, but some of them are a cut above the rest.
Admission to these prestigious schools is a lengthy process, you have to send a pre-screening video and based on your performance, you may be called for a live audition, and if you’re the lucky one, you will get the opportunity to study at one of these schools.
Here are the best schools in the world for musical education (mainly for music performance, but they also include courses related to the music business as well as recording).
The Juilliard School (New York)
Juilliard, founded in 1905 and located in Manhattan, New York, is one of the most widely recognized names in higher music education, not just in the United States but world wide. It gets students from almost forty different countries. It provides artistic education of the highest caliber to gifted musicians, actors and dancers from around the world.
Berklee College of Music (Boston, MA)
Berklee College of Music, Founded in 1945 and located in Boston, Massachusetts, is a contemporary music school. It is renowned for its distinctive philosophy of music as well as for its amazing success.
USC Thornton School of Music (Los Angeles, CA)
University of Southern California (USC) Thornton School of Music, founded in 1884 and located in Los Angeles, is one of the oldest and among the premier music schools in the United States.
University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna
The University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, founded in 1817 and located in Vienna, Austria, is one of the oldest music schools in the world. Musicians like Brahms and Mahler studied at this cultural center of arts and music.
New England Conservatory of Music (Boston, MA)
The New England Conservatory (NEC), founded in 1867 and located in Boston, is one of the oldest independent school of music in the United States, and the only music conservatory named as a National Historic Landmark.
Curtis Institute of Music (Philadelphia, PA)
The Curtis Institute of Music, founded in 1924 and located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is one of the most prestigious places to study music. Its alumni include musicians such as Leonard Bernstein and Lang Lang.
Royal Academy of Music (London, UK)
Royal Academy of Music, founded in 1822 and located in London, England is Britain’s oldest music conservatoire and one of the finest places to study music in England. Former students likes of Sir Elton John and Annie Lennox.
Conservatoire de Paris (Paris, France)
The Conservatoire de Paris in Paris, founded in 1795 and located in Paris, is one of the larger music schools and offers both undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
Eastman School of Music (Rochester, NY)
Eastman School of Music (ESM), founded in 1921 and attached to the University of Rochester, New York, offers wide range of music education to young musicians.
Yale School of Music (New Haven, CT)
Yale School of Music (an Ivy League School) has a school dedicated to Music. Like other schools listed here, admission is very competitive.
Oberlin Conservatory (Oberlin, Ohio)
Oberlin Conservatory of Music, founded in 1833 and located in Oberlin, Ohio, offers Bachelor, Master and Artist Diplomas and has tie-up with Oberlin College that offers a 5 year dual degree program.
Manhattan School of Music (New York, NY)
Manhattan School of Music, founded in 1917 and located in New York, offers higher degrees in music. Alumni include Harry Connick Jr. and Jesse Rosen.
Guildhall School of Music and Drama (London, England) is widely recognized as one of the world’s leading music conservatories and is home to over 800 full-time incredibly talented musicians and drama students.
Choosing a Music School: Here are a few factors that you should consider while choosing a music school.
- Low faculty to student ratio.
- Experience of faculty
- General reputation and age of the school
- Good infrastructure
- Performance opportunities
- Musical tradition and alumni success.
Schools for Music Business
There are many who do not play any musical instrument but are sure they want to be a part of the music industry. A music business program can help you become aware of the various lines of work within the music industry.
A good music school needs to have good tie-ups within the industry which will help you get good industry experience as well as develop good contacts with the relevant people in the music industry.
Such schools will make a huge difference in your career. It is worth paying a bit more, especially if you are going to invest so much time and are sure you want to work in the music industry. In terms of cities, New York, Miami, Atlanta, Nashville, L.A. are some of the cities where you have an extensive network of music related activities. Any school there would suit you fine.
Degree programs in music business from a reputed college/university not only teach technology but also financing, promoting, distributing and marketing music.
This is something that may give you better ideas of doing business, in case you decide to go on your own. Even otherwise the prospect of landing an internship with a big recording studio or the opportunity of working on something big after college attracts many prospective students to these recording arts school/colleges.
Schools for Music Production / Recording
There are several music production, sound engineering, DJing schools that offer classes on DJing, music production, sound design, mixing and mastering, and some also include video performance. These teach you how to make music for film / video games and music publishing
Once a course is completed, students get a year of access to videos, tutorials, and multimedia resources created specifically for their course. These schools are also becoming increasingly accessible through multiple locations and online classes.
Berklee Online school (extension of Berklee College of Music) provides learning opportunities to those interested in music and working in the music industry. It offers online courses, multi-course certificate programs, and Bachelor of Professional Studies degrees.
One big advantage you gain is that you become a part of a vibrant community of artists who are passionate about music and technology.
While there is a lot that can be learned at these schools, the fee for these programs can be mind-boggling and at times makes me wonder if they are really worth it. These profit-making schools and colleges also go all out to promote their courses and programs, so one can’t blame the youngsters also for wanting to pursue these courses.
You need to just keep one thing in mind. You can learn a lot about music production on your own as well.
There are hundreds, if not thousands of tutorials online for various applications, that teaches about digital audio workstations (DAWs), live and home recording, post-production, and more. Want to record? Buy a MacBook book, and audio interface, some mics, all the music software, and then go to YouTube.
Related: Here’s how to setup an entry level music recording/production setup at home.
Then run online ads and you are in business. If it doesn’t work out, then sell your gear and you’re out of it for a couple of hundred dollars.
Perform and promote yourself. Show up and finish your work on time. And if you haven’t done anything, no one will hire you, even if you have a degree or diploma in Music Production / Engineering.
I think there is a clear distinction between the programs offered by Music business Schools/colleges and the degree programs offered by a Music production/Audio sound engineering/Recording arts school/college.
Though each program gives you a well rounded education of the music industry, Music business program focuses on Music Publishing, Label Management, Band Management, Music Law, etc. You really don’t have to be a musician to study this and later on work in the music industry.
Degree Programs like Music production/Audio sound engineering/Recording arts focuses more on the technical aspects of creating music like using recording software, equipment, music theory, ear training, etc.