Top Rated Music Colleges in the United States

Find information about some of the top-rated music colleges in the United States. Learn about the programs offered by a renowned conservatory and two noteworthy universities, and explore some of the unique features of other schools around the country that offer programs in music.

School Overview

Students searching for top-rated music colleges can choose from a variety of options, including conservatories, colleges and universities. Degree programs are offered at both the undergraduate and graduate levels in many areas, such as music education and performance, as well as a variety of styles including classical, folk, jazz and popular music. The three schools discussed below include the oldest self-governing music conservatory in the United States and a nationally ranked university. Unique areas of study found at individual schools include early and world music.

1. Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD

School Highlight: The Peabody Preparatory includes four separate campuses in Maryland.

U.S. News & World Report ranked Johns Hopkins University 12th among national universities in 2015. Through the university's Peabody Conservatory, classical and jazz students can earn a Bachelor of Music (B.M.), Master of Music (M.M.) and Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.). Areas of study include music education or performance, composition, computer music and early music. Students can also pursue a 5-year B.M./M.M program or Master of Arts (M.A.) in Audio Sciences, as well as an artist's diploma, a certificate or a graduate diploma in performance.

2. New England Conservatory in Boston, MA

School Highlight: Degree programs are offered in conjunction with Harvard University and Tufts University.

Founded in 1867, the New England Conservatory is the oldest independent music conservatory in the nation. It offers programs leading to B.M., M.M. and D.M.A. degrees in a wide variety of areas. These include music history and theory, composition, orchestral instruments and voice, as well as jazz and world music. Students can also take advantage of the chamber ensembles and the Sistema Fellows program for post-graduates. In addition to the degree programs, the New England Conservatory of Music offers distance learning opportunities.

3. University of Texas at Austin

School Highlight: Texas is home to the Butler Opera Center.

The University of Texas at Austin is one of the largest public universities in the U.S with over 51,000 students and 3,000 faculty. At the Sarah and Ernest Butler School of Music, students can pursue programs in a variety of areas while earning B.M., M.M. or D.M.A. degrees. Major areas of study include piano and keyboard theory, chamber music, composition and conducting. Aspiring professionals can also earn a degree in ethnomusicology, jazz or vocal arts. They can also audition for 44 different ensembles specializing in various styles, including jazz, orchestra, marimba, Brazilian and Svaranjali.

Top Music Colleges

School Name Distinction Location
Berklee College of Music Focused studies in Africana Studies, American Roots Music; access to the Berklee Global Jazz Institute Boston, MA
Michigan State University The Musique 21 ensemble for contemporary music East Lansing, MI
Oberlin College & Conservatory Offers a summer music training program in Arezzo, Italy Oberlin, OH
Ohio State University Music and Dance Library Columbus, OH
San Francisco Conservatory of Music Students from 26 different countries attend the school San Francisco, CA
University of Wisconsin - Madison Master's degree program in collaborative piano and piano pedagogy Madison, WI
Yale University 5-year Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)/M.M. combined degree program New Haven, CT

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