The Top 25 Music Schools: A Beginner’s Guide for Music Parents

I was talking with some football parents a while ago. Some of them told me that their sons were looking at NCAA Division I schools. To be honest, I was stunned by how much these parents knew about their sons’ potential schools:

What Football Parents Know

That got me wondering. How many music parents know the same kind of information about the top music schools?

It’s time that we up our game and get as knowledgeable as football parents!

The Job Market Statistics for Music

The first thing to know when it comes to careers in the musical fine arts is that the job market is fiercely competitive. In 2017, music composers, directors, performers, and educators had a median income of $50,590, with an undergraduate degree in music. They have an occupation growth rate of 6% between now and the year 2026 (Bureau of Labor Statistics).

It should also be noted that those with a Master’s degree in music had a median income of $72,090. They have an occupation growth rate of 11% between now and 2026.

As your student thinks about a career in music, it is vital for them to carefully consider their options.

We have looked at the top music schools in the country so we could evaluate:

Based on our research we have ranked what we think are the top 25 programs in the nation.

ALL of the institutions that are below have a high reputation. All of them offer diverse programs, and all have successful professors and alumni.

The Top 25 Music Schools

  1. The Juilliard School (New York, NY)
  2. Curtis Institute of Music (Philadelphia, PA)
  3. Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester (Rochester, NY)
  4. New England Conservatory of Music (Boston, MA)
  5. Berklee College of Music (Boston, MA)
  6. Manhattan School of Music (New York, NY)
  7. Oberlin Conservatory (Oberlin, OH)
  8. Colburn School Conservatory (Los Angeles, CA)
  9. Mannes College – The New School for Music (New York, NY)
  10. Cleveland Institute for Music (Cleveland, OH)
  11. Johns Hopkins Peabody Institute (Baltimore, MD)
  12. Rice University Shepherd School of Music (Houston, TX)
  13. USC Thornton School of Music (Los Angeles, CA)
  14. Yale School of Music (New Haven, CT)
  15. Northwestern University Bienen School of Music (Evanston, IL)
  16. Carnegie Mellon School of Music (Pittsburg, PA)
  17. San Francisco Conservatory of Music (San Francisco, CA)
  18. Indiana University Jacobs School of Music (Bloomington, IN)
  19. Bard College Conservatory of Music (Annandale-on-Hudson, NY)
  20. University of Miami Frost School of Music (Miami, FL)
  21. University of Michigan School of Music (Ann Arbor, MI)
  22. Belmont University School of Music (Nashville, TN)
  23. University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (Cincinnati, OH)
  24. Vanderbilt University Blair School of Music (Nashville, TN)
  25. Lawrence University Conservatory of Music (Appleton, WI)

This list is only a guide to begin your research into music education. It is meant to help you, the music parent, start to understand the wide array of choices available to you and your student.

Do you have a question or comment? Let us know!

Keep Practicing,

Dr. Randall Bayne, CEO