The decision to attend a music college is an important decision, the choice of the music college to which to go can be an even more important decision. The college of Music that a person chooses can influence his career both inside and outside the music industry. While all music schools offer music courses, music theory, and other music-related subjects, each music school has something special to offer.
Here are the top ten traditional music colleges in the country, their campuses, and their alumni:
Top 10 Music Programs in the USA
1. The Juilliard School
The Juilliard School is the most prestigious and well-known performing arts university in the country. This college, known simply as “Juilliard”, offers dance and theater in addition to music. The school offers training in vocal art, instruments, jazz studies, historical performances, composition, orchestral conducting, etc. Juilliard is located at Lincoln Center in New York and is close to the New York Philharmonic and the Metropolitan Opera; Juilliard students often have the opportunity to perform at Lincoln Center. This institution is more focused on classical and opera, although students continue to perform in other genres.
Notable former music students include Miles Davis, Barry Manilow, Nina Simone, Pat Benatar, and Yo-Yo Ma.
2. Berklee College of Music
Berklee College of Music is located in the chic and friendly Back Bay neighborhood in the historic and beautiful city of Boston, Massachusetts. This college offers 12 majors leading to a bachelor’s degree (B.M.) or a professional degree, and more than 30 types of degree programs on its main campus, as well as certificates and individual courses. Berklee is focused on including artists in the top 40 list, so many of the alumni work in pop, rock, and other modern genres.
Notable alumni include Melissa Etheridge, Esperanza Spalding, Quincy Jones, and John Mayer.
3. Yale Music School
Although Yale may not be the first school that comes to mind when it comes to music, the Yale School of Music is a world leader in the education of creative musicians. It is the only music school in the Ivy League, and it is highly selective, with only about 200 students in its music programs.
Former students of the Yale School of Music include three-time Grammy Award winner Michael Daugherty, Oscar-nominated composer Marco Beltrami and Matt Brubeck, cellist, bassist, keyboardist, composer and arranger.
4. At the Curtis Institute of Music
The Curtis Institute of Music has been in existence for almost 100 years. This school specializes in opera, but offers programs in composition, orchestral conducting, vocal studies, strings, brass, guitar, harp, piano, organ and more. With only 175 students, the Curtis Institute of Music is extraordinarily selective, with no tuition fees.
Former students include Leonard Bernstein, David Brooks and the Chinese concert pianist Lang Lang.
5th New England Conservatory of Music
The New England Conservatory of Music educates and trains musicians of all ages, representing more than 40 countries. The school states that it believes that the study of music strengthens human abilities, uplifts the soul and prepares our students for a life that improves the public good. They offer a variety of majors, including chamber music, collaborative piano, composition, orchestral conducting, brass, music theory, contemporary improvisation, and more.
Notable former students include the pop opera singer who won America’s Got Talent in 2008, Neal E. Boyd, progressive bluegrass singer Aoife O’Donovan, and percussionist Vic Firth.
6. Mannes Music School
The Mannes School of Music imparts real-life experiences and interdisciplinary learning to its rigorous traditional classical training program. The Mannes School of Music, based in New York, offers more than 50 minors and a five-year dual degree in orchestral instruments and arts management and entrepreneurship.
Former students include composer, songwriter, record producer, pianist and singer Burt Bacharach.
7. Jacobs School of Music of the University of Indiana
The Jacobs School of Music is located at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.
This public university has more than 1,600 students at any given time. There are 180 full-time faculty members here, including internationally renowned artists, academics and teachers. The facilities include five buildings with concert halls, over 170 practice rooms, rehearsal rooms and more than 100 studios and offices. The Center for Musical Art has some of the best technical skills in the country.
Former students include Grammy Award winner Joshua Bell and rock musician Carl Broemel.
8. Blair Music School, Vanderbilt University
The Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, is exclusively for students of the first cycle. The school’s bachelor’s degree programs in music focus heavily on individual performance instruction in the classical tradition. Students gain hands-on experience through solo concerts, attending master classes and performances while earning their academic credits.
Former students include violinist Dana Kelley and pianist/composer Evan Mack.
9. Music School of Northwestern University
The Bee Music School dates back to 1873, when Northwestern Female College and Evanston College for Ladies merged to form Northwestern University woman’s College to form the Conservatory of Music. The school is located in Evanston, Illinois, near the city of Chicago, and is a nationally classified music academy offering five dual degree programs. More than 2,000 students apply to bees every year, but the class every year has only 200 students and students.
Among the former students are notable Arnie Roth, musical director and chief conductor of the Chicagoland Pops Orchestra, Grammy winner, and Steve Rodby, jazz bassist and producer of award-winning albums at the Grammy Awards.
10. Cleveland Institute of MusicCleveland Institute of Music promises classical education for the modern musician. Students can earn a dual degree, including an educational degree to teach music, or a dual major in theory, composition, eurythmy, or audio recording. The areas of study include various instruments, audio recording, music theory, composition and voice (opera).
Alumni include classical guitarist and Grammy winner Jason Alt, and Martin Leung, also known as a video game pianist.