Top Music Education Programs: List of Schools

Jan 09, 2020

This article identifies three of the best schools to offer music education programs in the U.S. Learn about school rankings and locations, degree titles and curriculum, as well as program requirements.

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  • 0:00 Schools Overview
  • 0:37 Columbia University in…
  • 1:11 University of…
  • 2:02 Johns Hopkins…
  • 2:43 Top Music Education Schools

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Schools Overview

Music education programs are available at some of the top-ranked universities in the country, including Columbia University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Johns Hopkins University. Both undergraduate and graduate degrees in music education are available at high-quality educational institutions. The programs offered by at least one of the schools include music teacher certification as part of the curriculum, ensuring that graduates are qualified to find employment as educators.

The schools that offer the best music education programs in the country have received high rankings from U.S. News & World Report.

Columbia University in New York

Columbia University's music education program draws its education coursework from the Teachers College, which was ranked tied for the 7th- best graduate education program by U.S. News & World Report in 2019. The program offers graduate degrees, such as the Master of Arts in Music Education, Master of Education in Music Education, and Doctor of Education in Music Education.

Special programs at Columbia University include an early childhood music education concentration. Columbia has a number of performing arts groups, including the Columbia Musical Theater Society.

University of Wisconsin in Madison

The University of Wisconsin-Madison was named as being tied for the 3rd-best graduate education program in 2019, as well as tied for the 15th-best fine arts program in 2016 by U.S. News & World Report.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison offers several undergraduate and graduate degree programs, including the Bachelor of Music, Master of Science in Curriculum and Instruction, Master of Music, and Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction, which offer concentrations in music education. Music education programs offered at this university can prepare students for music teacher certification, and coursework is taken from the School of Music and School of Education. An audition is required for admission to the music education program, located in the School of Music; students are expected to have at least one performance area in addition to their early childhood and adolescent music education training.

Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD

U.S. News & World Report ranked Johns Hopkins University as tied for the 7th-best graduate education program in 2019. The university offers three study options to meet the needs of students with a variety of backgrounds.

The undergraduate music education program is meant to prepare students to teach in public schools, while the graduate program is meant for current music educators who want to further their education. The school's unique certification program is typically for students with a music performance degree that want to become licensed teachers in the field. The school boasts that nearly all graduates secure teaching positions, and students are often qualified to teach in over 35 reciprocal states.

Top Music Education Schools

The following universities also offer students top music education programs:

College/University Name Location Distinction
Northwestern University Evanston, IL Has relationships with 60 Chicago area schools for practical experiences. The university also is ranked 10th for best graduate education school by U.S. News & World Report
University of Colorado Boulder, CO In addition to courses such as music theory, conducting, and music education, students focus on studying and performing with their own major instrument.
University of Kansas Lawrence, KS Offers student organizations that include a chapter of the National Association for Music Education. At this university, students can also participate in the Collegiate Music Educators National Conference.
Vanderbilt University Nashville, TN The Blair School of Music works with the university's top-ranked Peabody College of Education to offer a 5-year Bachelor of Music/Master of Music Education degree

Some of the top schools in the nation, including Columbia, Johns Hopkins, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, offer undergraduate and/or graduate degree programs in music education to interested students. The programs at these schools vary in the resources, opportunities, and hands-on learning that they offer students.

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