Top Ten Music Colleges in the Nation

Read about the top ten music colleges in the United States, where aspiring instrumentalists, singers and songwriters can perfect their skills. Find out what types of degrees are available at four high-profile schools, and get a sneak peek at other schools in the country that offer programs in music.

School Overview

Two of the three schools profiled below are located in New York City and offer collaborative education programs with Columbia University. Undergraduates at the top two schools may pursue specialized training in a variety of instruments and voice; all three schools have graduate programs in music.

1. The Juilliard School in New York, New York

School Highlight: Since its opening in 1905, the Juilliard School has earned a national reputation for educational excellence in the performing arts, including music.

At Juilliard, individuals can pursue the Bachelor of Music degree or the Diploma. Graduate degrees offered include the Master of Music (M.M.), Graduate Diploma, Artist Diploma. These programs are offered in Historical Performance, Jazz Studies, Music Performance, and Opera Studies. A Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.) is also offered.

Focused programs in dance, drama guitar, playwriting, jazz studies and voice are available. Through collaborative partnerships with Columbia University and Barnard College, the school also provides training to non-Juilliard students who successfully audition.

2. Manhattan School of Music in New York, NY

School Highlight: Founded in 1917, the Manhattan School of Music offers a range of music education programs for approximately 900 students each year.

Undergraduates can major in a variety of classical and jazz instruments, from the bassoon to the violin. They can also take courses in music theory and history while participating in performances and competitions.

Graduate programs include a Master of Music (M.M.) in several areas, such as classical studies, contemporary performance, jazz arts and orchestral performance. A Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.) is also available. In conjunction with Teachers College at Columbia University, the Manhattan School of Music offers a dual-degree program that culminates in a Master of Music and a Master of Education in Music Education (Ed.M.), as well as a K-12 teaching certification.

3. Yale University in New Haven, CT

School Highlight: In 2015, U.S. News and World Report ranked this school the third-best college in the nation, as well as the third best value school.

This top music school has a selective admissions process, which requires students to demonstrate musicianship skills through recorded samples, live auditions and entry exams.

The Yale School of Music offers graduate degrees, including an M.M., a Master of Musical Arts (M.M.A.) and a D.M.A. The school also offers a combined Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)/Master of Music (M.M.) program. For outstanding students who wish to complete an accelerated master's degree, they may apply to the B.A/M.M. program. This program aims to help a student achieve the completion of their bachelor's and master's degree in years.

Top Music Colleges in the U.S.

Name of School Distinction Location
Berklee College of Music First music school in the U.S. to teach jazz as part of its curriculum. Boston, MA
Bucknell University Scholarships for music majors. Lewisburg, PA
DePauw University Music on the Square gathers music lovers of all ages to learn about and create music. Greencastle, IN
Furman University The Maxwell Music Library. Greenville, SC
Oberlin College and Conservatory Oldest music conservatory in the United States Oberlin, OH
University of Texas at Austin. Sarah and Ernest Butler School of Music presents approximately 600 concerts, recitals, operas and other special events annually. Austin, TX

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