There are many prestigious music colleges today, so choosing the right one is a serious decision. 

It can be stressful and intimidating for future students to start their search for the best college that will give them all the knowledge, inspiration, and space to develop their talents and start their careers. But, if you prepare yourself properly and make a plan, the decision may not be that difficult.

In this article, we will show the list of some of the best music colleges in the world.

What to think about before starting your search:

–          What kind of program you are interested in?

Some colleges have programs based on classical music, while other ones are about contemporary music genres or music theater.

–          You should decide if you want to live in those locations where those colleges are located, and if can you afford it.

–          There are more students than spots available in those well-known music colleges, so you should have a plan about how to highlight your work, so admissions counselors will consider your application.

We selected the following colleges based on:

–          Structure of the educational program

–          Reputation

–          Record of accomplishment by alumni/ae

–          Possibilities after graduation

This is the list of the best music colleges in the world:

1.       The Juilliard School

2.        Yale School of Music  

3.       Berklee College of Music

4.       New England Conservatory of Music

5.       Conservatoire de Paris

6.        The University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna

7.       Curtis Institute of Music

8.       The Royal Academy of Music

9.       Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory

10.   Manhattan School of Music

1. The Juilliard School

Juilliard is located in the Upper West Side, Manhattan, New York, and it’s considered one of the best music schools in the world. The name of the school is always synonymous with musical excellence.

The school offers a Bachelor of Music, a Master’s of Music, and a Doctorate of Music Art, as well as a combination of those programs.

It’s competitive and diverse with an acceptance rate under 7%. It has a student body of around 600 from 40 different countries, student to faculty ratio of 3 to 1 which means that each student musician has direct access to instructions.

The college has alumni that constitute more than 50 % of Lincoln Center’s established orchestras, and around 20% of the members of America’s “big five”, ensembles.    

2. Yale School of Music

Yale School of Music is the only school dedicated to music among the Ivy Leagues Schools, located in Long Island Sound, New Haven, Connecticut.

This school is dedicated to the study of acoustic music and offers programs such as Master of Music, Master of Music Arts, and Doctor of Music Arts. This college also confers the Artist Diploma and Certificate in Performance.

The admission is very competitive, and only 8-10% of applicants are accepted to join the approximately 200 students that comprise the Yale School body.

The school has a collegiate and collaborative atmosphere, where students can choose the teachers with whom they want to study. The alumni network includes names such as Marco Beltrami, Michael Daugherty, and Matt Brubeck.

3. Berklee College of Music

Berklee College of Music is located in Boston, Massachusetts. The focus of this college is on contemporary music, and the philosophy of the school is that music should be best taught through the music of the time. If temporary arts are exclusively considered, the Berklee College of Music ranks as number one.

Berklee offers undergraduate and graduate programs such as Composition, Music Therapy, Film Scoring, Jazz Composition, and Music Business/Management. Berklee provides accessibility to non-traditional students through an online program, which allows students to get a degree or a certificate at a distance.

The school has around 4200 students and an acceptance rate of around 35%. The college has a long list of successful alumni such as composer Quincy Jones, guitarist John Mayer, and singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge.    

4. New England Conservatory of Music         

The oldest independent school of music in the US, the New England Conservatory of Music is also located in Boston, Massachusetts. The college has programs for classical, but also contemporary music.

Students can study early and contemporary music. There are programs for contemporary improvisation, jazz, and classical music. The conservatory offers programs for people of all ages. It has around 750 students, with an acceptance rate of around 28% and students to faculty ratio of 5 to 1.

Nearly half of the Boston Symphony Orchestra has some connections with the school. The college has successful alumni such as Conrad Pope and Ralph Burns.

5. Conservatoire de Paris

One of the oldest schools of music in the world, the Conservatoire de Paris, is located in the capital of France and offers different undergraduate and graduate programs.

This school has a student body of around 1300 and around 400 instructors. The admission is very competitive and it has around a 3% of acceptance rate (only around 30 students per year).

Conservatoire de Paris has a big musical heritage, and many well-known names are connected to the school, such as Claude Debussy, Pierre Boulez, and Olivier Messiaen.  

6. The University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna

University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna is one of the biggest music schools in the world. It offers many programs for bachelor, master, and doctoral studies.

It has around 3000 students, but still has a high level of students to faculty ratio of around 4,5. Many famous composers and musicians took their education from this school, like Johannes Brahms and Gustav Mahler.

7. Curtis Institute of Music

Curtis Institute of Music is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and is one of the best music schools in the US. Curtis offers several programs of study: A diploma for post-secondary-school students, a Bachelor of Music, a Professional Studies Certificate, and a Master of Music Tracks.

The admission is very competitive and only 5% of the candidates become part of the very small student body of around 165.   In this school, tuition is always free of charge, which is not common.

The school’s specialty is opera, and its alumni have names such as Leonard Bernstein, David Brooks, and Lang Lang.

8. The Royal Academy of Music

The Royal Academy of Music is Britain’s oldest music school and it’s located in London. This school has programs for classical and popular musicians. This institution offers instruction in performance and research tasks.

The Royal Academy has a 10% acceptance rate, and almost a 2 to 1 students to faculty ratio, which means that all the students have close attention and instruction.

The academy has a big list of successful alumni including Sir Simon Rattle, Annie Lenox, and Sir Elton John.  

9. Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory

Located in the Russian capital, Moscow Conservatory offers Bachelor, Master, and Specialist degrees. It’s one of the two oldest music schools in Russia.

The conservatory has around 1300 students and still produces great musicians to this day.  Tchaikovsky was a professor of theory and harmony, and many famous musicians studied here like Dmitry Kabalevsky, Sergey Rachmaninoff, and Sviatislov Richter.

10. Manhattan School of Music

Located in the West side of New York, the Manhattan School of Music started as a community school bringing musical instructions to the immigrants of New York. This school offers programs such as Jazz Art, Classical Programs, Musical Theatre, and Contemporary and Orchestral Performances.

The school has a 40% acceptance rate and consists of 900 students and around 250 faculties. It is considered one of the top schools in the US for musical theater programs.

Manhattan School of Music alumni are prestigious teachers or play in orchestras and opera companies around the world. Some of them are Harry Connick Jr and Jesse Rosen.

In conclusion

Choosing where to continue your education is not easy, but in the end only you can make the final decision.

You should carefully review all the facts related to the colleges you are interested in such as prestige, degree programs, names of professors, and financial requirements. The most important thing is to find the one that fits best with your plans and aspirations.