Students with a real passion for music dedicate their lives to music and are bound to choose the best colleges with training musicians and ideal conservatories.
In choosing the best colleges, students tend to seek programs that would add not only immense value to their skill set but also present endless opportunities for them to grow and flourish as extinguished artistes.
While most colleges focus on pooling talents by sharpening skills that would advance the future of music, different students’ needs vary depending on their unique goals and musical orientation.
In this piece, we’ve collated the considerations you need to make when choosing the best music school as well as the best schools to choose from in the US.
Tips for Choosing the Best Music School in The US
1. Location of the school
Music schools in the US are based in different states – different geographic areas.
It is imperative to note that the location would not only affect your stay in school but also shape your future career as a musician.
Looking at this perspective in terms of networking and connections, you’ll need fruitful networks to excel in your music career. The location of your music school directly determines the links you’ll have.
While this may certainly not be the deciding factor, you should consider it before settling on the music college.
2. Exceptional faculty
Your success as a musician highly depends on whether the school has an exceptional faculty in your field of specialty.
Joining a music college in the US with an experienced faculty would be a gateway to shaping a bright music career.
Instructors based in such faculties play a vital role in sharpening your skillset and form a significant pillar for your networking activities once you’ve graduated.
While most colleges list their faculties in their platforms, take time to check their accomplishments and if they have ongoing projects that would benefit you.
3. Trial lessons
Take trial sessions with the prospective instructors in the faculty.
Different colleges have various programs, and some colleges offer trial sessions while others don’t.
This factor necessitates you to swing your research skills and find colleges that offer trial sessions – which would provide an excellent opportunity for you to see what it feels like to be a student there.
Don’t psyche yourself and have the mentality of “me.” instead, think of it as their audition as you ask yourself whether they are the kind of tutors you would want to spend your hours with over the next couple of years.
You’ll have a great opportunity and plenty of time to decide whether the institution is right for you, or it’s a platform that would plummet your passion and inspiration for music.
4. Visit as many schools as possible.
Dreaming about a music college in the US and being a student in the college are two entirely different things.
We’ve seen scenarios where a student would set their mind on college X, only to find that it was a little too large, too congested – and college Y seems a better fit after all.
Researching different websites and communicating with administrators could be helpful, but nothing is more beneficial than checking them out yourself.
Tour as many colleges as possible – ask about their accommodation, visit the student hostels, and check the downsides that they would possibly omit in their advertisements.
The more you look at the college on a personal level, the more you evaluate whether their services could make a good fit for you.
5. Programs offered
Programs offered by the faculty is one of the first things you should consider since your career and passion are highly dependent on this factor.
You certainly wouldn’t want to choose a music school that exclusively offers instrument-based programs.
The same also applies to when you want to study a keyboard or guitar – you wouldn’t want to go to a school that entirely focuses on the technical side of music.
Keep in mind that if your end-game is getting a certificate or a degree, you could acquire them with fewer hiccups, but what matters is your future career as a musician.
Don’t try and cloud your aspirations and passion into a program that doesn’t make a good fit.
Find a music program that perfectly matches your passion, and encapsulates your dreams by teaching the values you would want to have through your college period.
6. The reputation of the college
It is often said that the reputation of a college is directly proportional to your status after graduation.
That said, you should choose a music school with a well-established positive history, well-known and respected as a pool of talent and experience.
Naturally, your reputation might take a back-seat to talent and experience as you continually search for opportunities to advance your music career.
As a passionate music student, a college with a good reputation would have a positive atmosphere where you’ll be working with other students in an environment where everyone is willing to learn.
Remember that the right college is not where you’re just going to learn – you’ll also be exploring a vast range of opportunities and exploring the endless pool of talent in a community of like-minded people.
7. Performance opportunities
If your field of specialty is performance, singing, or playing an instrument, you would want to find a college that presents opportunities for you to showcase your talent.
You can make this evaluation by contacting the alumni where possible, as they would provide a detailed explanation of performance opportunities in the college.
A music college in the US that boasts of excellent performance has its claims directly tied to the achievements of former students.
If the alumni never make quite some splash in the performance, then it would be a clear indication that the music college might not be a good fit.
When checking the performance opportunities, pay utmost attention to what the graduates have done, areas they’ve mastered, and paths they’ve pursued.
Top 7 music colleges in the US
1. Indiana University Jacobs school of music
Based in Bloomington, Indiana, this college is possibly one of the most diverse, impressive, and extraordinary music colleges worldwide.
With a population of almost 1,600, the IU Jacobs college offers an unmatched quality of instruction in terms of vocal performance, music librarianship, orchestral conducting, and percussion performance.
While most other colleges offer stage two operatic performance, the IU Jacobs school of music provides an impeccable six operatic instructions. Besides, it has an incredible thirteen choirs, eight wind bands, a nationally lauded contemporary music ensemble, and seven symphonic orchestras.
This college is our top music college, offering in-depth training and top-tier training for every prospective student.
2. Curtis Institute of music
Almost every globally-known classical musician boasts of getting their talent from this college based in Philadelphia.
What sets this college above the rest is the exceptional diversity of international piano training like Yuja Wang and Lang Lang.
The college has a history of graduating legendary talent that has run for more than eight decades, with various renowned talents like Leonard Bernstein who graduated with a master’s degree in the 20th century.
This advantage sets this college apart from its competitors – like the Juilliard School, Yale school of music graduate program, and the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia – which translates to acceptance rates typically below 5%.
3. Juilliard School – New York
One of the most excellent perks of this college is the astounding number of alumni in classical music history who went through this college. From Miles Davis to Robin Williams and Alan Greenspan, this college is a manifestation of the most experienced pool of talent portrayed by the regular prize-winners in all the top competitions.
Music students in this college also have the added benefit of staying in the cultural epicenter in the US, enabling them to network with a mammoth of people and musicians in an out of New York City.
An additional perk of living in this city is the unique advantage to students who can utilize the endless opportunities.
For the graduate program, Julliard could be one of the best options in the US, but the selection rate of close to 8% makes it one of the most selective, but incredibly significant, colleges in the US.
4. Peabody institute
The Peabody Institute is one of the most significant music colleges in the Johns Hopkins University that has a capacity of close to 6,000 undergraduate students in all its programs.
Close to 600 graduate and undergraduate students converge at the Peabody Conservatory, which presents an opportunity for you to not only interact but also get an idea of what life would be once you’ve graduated from the school of music.
If you want to pursue an undergraduate program, you’ll need to apply directly to the Peabody institute unless you’re going for the graduate program, which would necessitate the application to both Joh Hopkins college as well as the Peabody Institute.
As an undergraduate student at the Peabody Institute, you can choose to major in the Brass instruments, composition, computer music, composition, guitar, jazz, music Ed, organ, or percussion – which are the significant areas among the vast range of specialties.
5. University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
The school of music, theatre, and dance (SMTD) at the University of Michigan ranks fifth in this review, with an acceptance rate of 7 to 16%, and a population of more than 800 undergraduates – 75% focusing on music.
While the University of Michigan, as a whole, has close to 30,000 undergraduate students, the SMTD has a handful of music students – approximately 160 in each academic year.
To apply for a college course, you can send your papers directly to the SMTD without contacting the University of Michigan. Still, if you’re interested in a dual program, you should mail your application to both schools simultaneously.
The school of music, theatre, and dance offers undergraduate programs in majors like composition, music Ed, musicology, music theory, performance, and inter-arts performance. As an alternative to going for a full-time dual degree program, you can select the bachelor of musical arts, which collates music performance to non-music work.
6. Yale school of music
One of the enormous benefits of joining the “New Haven” Yale school of music is the $100M endowment fee that enables students to go through the program freely.
While admission for graduate students in this college is highly competitive, the courses you’ll take as an undergraduate student are entirely different from those offered in graduate school.
This music college offers one of the most renowned programs in the country with respected faculty members like Martin Brensik, David Shifrin, and Aldo Parisot (who has taught since 1958).
Although the Julliard college could boast of the highest number of active alumni a decade ago, the leader in 2014 would be Yale partly because it practically has students from the world’s ends.
With its proximity to New York – North America’s cultural city – and a collation of experts in the music industry, the Yale school of music should be a prospective college for every student.
7. Berklee music college – Boston
While classical, conservative academics may be baffled by the ranking of this college, Berklee college has a talent pool in terms of jazz legends. It represents a generation of influencers in music, jazz, and music production.
An additional perk is its location – at the heart of Boston – which influences a realm of jazz and popular music production.
If you’re looking to pursue a degree from a top school that is popular for jazz performance, music business, and film scoring, consider Berklee music college that is the best option for pursuing your music talent.
The music students’ body comprises several students who learned musical instruments in elementary school, continued through high school and planned to advance their college knowledge.
For a small fraction of students, music isn’t just about getting a college degree – it stretches far beyond academics by presenting an opportunity to explore the vast range of opportunities and define their path to a music career.
If you’re one of the students looking to pursue an uninterrupted path to a music career, consider your passion, interests, and values coupled with the take-away points in this article.