Best Music Schools in the World (15 Reviews)

15 Best Music Schools in 2024 (Global Ranking)

Dive into the world of musical excellence with this meticulously compiled list of the 15 best music schools worldwide. Tailored for both music enthusiasts and inquisitive minds, this article encourages you to delve into establishments that go beyond conventional education.

Musicians attest that the essence of music education lies in the profound connection between mentors and learners, where seasoned artists not only impart knowledge but also express a deep commitment to musical form and expression.

This selection process considered crucial factors such as faculty-to-student ratios, faculty expertise, acceptance rates, the institution’s age, overall reputation, ties to musical traditions, and the success of alumni. Notably, a recurring theme emerged: low student-to-faculty ratios often correlated with other markers of excellence.

To facilitate your journey in finding the perfect music school, jobreaders.org has meticulously crafted this article and compiled a list that caters to diverse preferences and needs. Whether you are familiar with renowned names or seeking hidden gems worldwide, this list promises a tailor-made musical education suited to your aspirations.

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2024 Best Music Schools in the World

1. The Juilliard School

Embark on a musical odyssey at The Juilliard School, renowned as the epitome of performing arts education globally. Established in 1905 and nestled in the heart of New York City, Juilliard stands as a beacon of prestige, particularly for its emphasis on dance, acting, and, of course, music.

As an integral part of the esteemed Lincoln Center, the school graces its students with exposure to some of the finest live music performances, predominantly centered around classical and opera genres.

Location: New York City, NY
Founded: 1905
Notable Alumni: Barry Manilow, Yo-Yo Ma, John Williams
Official Website: Juilliard School

Immerse yourself in the rich legacy of this institution, ideal for those aspiring to compose or play in an orchestra, and witness the transformative power of music in the city that never sleeps.

2. Berklee College of Music

Unleash your musical prowess at Berklee College of Music, a trailblazer in churning out hitmakers since its founding in 1945. Located in the vibrant city of Boston, Berklee distinguishes itself by focusing on artists who not only top the charts but also shape the contemporary music landscape.

Unlike traditional music programs, Berklee propels its alumni into the realms of pop, rock, and modern genres. As a student, you’ll thrive in a dynamic college town setting, with the institution’s legacy marked by the success of notable alumni dominating the pop culture conversation.

Location: Boston, MA
Founded: 1945
Notable Alumni: Melissa Etheridge, Quincy Jones, John Mayer
Official Website: Berklee College of Music

Join the ranks of music industry influencers who’ve honed their craft at Berklee, and let the heartbeat of Boston amplify your journey to musical stardom.

3. Yale School of Music

Elevate your musical journey amidst the prestigious legacy of Yale School of Music, an often overlooked gem within the legendary halls of Yale University. Founded in 1894, this esteemed institution in New Haven, Connecticut, has earned global recognition for its commitment to producing accomplished musicians.

While Yale needs no introduction, the School of Music stands tall, offering a world-renowned musical education that lives up to the Yale brand. Despite its location in a relatively smaller city, the rich musical tapestry you’ll weave here will undoubtedly be worth the experience.

Location: New Haven, CT
Founded: 1894
Notable Alumni: Marco Beltrami, Michael Daugherty, Matt Brubeck
Official Website: Yale School of Music

Don’t let the understated city fool you; Yale School of Music promises an education as grand as its historical roots, making it a compelling choice for those seeking an extraordinary musical journey.

4. Royal College of Music, Stockholm

Embark on a musical odyssey at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, Sweden, a venerable institution that traces its roots back to 1771. Nestled within the artistic legacy of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music, this conservatory-turned-independent school offers a diverse range of degree programs.

Boasting a rich history and impressive rankings in the Swedish higher education landscape, the Royal College of Music stands as the 32nd institution in the country. Delve into the world of classical, jazz, folk, and music education as you carve your musical path in this thriving cultural hub.

Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Founded: 1771
Official Website: Royal College of Music, Stockholm

Experience the harmonious blend of tradition and innovation at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, where the echoes of centuries past inspire a new generation of musical virtuosos.

5. University of Southern California Thornton School of Music

Located in the heart of Los Angeles, this school boasts a century-long legacy of nurturing musical talent. With a focus on jazz, classical, and various musical genres, Thornton School of Music provides a comprehensive education that extends beyond the notes on a staff.

Beyond music, it caters to aspiring professionals in the music industry, offering a gateway for creative minds to blend artistry with business acumen. Navigate your musical journey in the dynamic landscape of Los Angeles, where innovation meets tradition.

Location: Los Angeles, CA
Founded: 1884
Notable Alumni: Herb Alpert, James Newton Howard, James Horner
Official Website: USC Thornton School of Music

Explore the harmonious fusion of artistic excellence and industry relevance at the USC Thornton School of Music, where the symphony of creativity resonates across generations.

6. Curtis Institute of Music

Embark on a musical odyssey at the Curtis Institute of Music, an illustrious institution founded in 1924 that stands as a beacon for exceptional talent in the heart of Philadelphia. Despite its age, Curtis has quietly wielded a powerful influence on the world stage of classical music. Renowned for its specialty in opera, this institute accepts only a fraction of applicants, maintaining an exclusive environment that demands extraordinary dedication and skill. With acceptance rates hovering around five percent, Curtis sets a high bar for aspiring musicians. If you yearn to be part of a musical legacy that resonates globally, consider the Curtis Institute of Music.

Location: Philadelphia, PA
Founded: 1924
Notable Alumni: Leonard Bernstein, David Brooks, Lang Lang
Official Website: Curtis Institute of Music

Discover the symphonic secrets within the historic walls of Curtis, where only the most promising musicians are invited to weave their melodies into the tapestry of classical excellence.

7. The Royal Academy of Music

Unleash your musical prowess at the Royal Academy of Music, an esteemed institution nestled in the vibrant city of London. Founded in 1822, this academy has stood the test of time, nurturing talents that have echoed through the ages.

Boasting an impressive list of notable alumni, including the legendary Elton John and Annie Lennox, the Royal Academy of Music is a hallowed ground for those seeking to master the art of performance. With a global reputation for excellence, this academy opens its doors to aspiring musicians from around the world, providing a transformative education that transcends borders.

Location: London, UK
Founded: 1822
Notable Alumni: Elton John, Annie Lennox
Official Website: Royal Academy of Music

Immerse yourself in a world where every note is a brushstroke on the canvas of musical expression, and let the Royal Academy of Music be your gateway to a symphonic journey like no other.

8. Royal College of Music

Delve into the heart of musical excellence at the Royal College of Music, another jewel in London’s cultural crown. Established in 1882, this institution stands as a testament to the United Kingdom’s commitment to nurturing musical talent. Part of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, the Royal College of Music embraces performance, research, and innovation.

As the second of the two similarly-named institutions in the city, it upholds a rich tradition of not only refining musicians but also contributing to the evolution of musical performance and education. With a legacy that includes luminaries like Andrew Lloyd Webber and James Horner, this college continues to shape the future of classical and contemporary music.

Location: London, UK
Founded: 1882
Notable Alumni: Andrew Lloyd Webber, James Horner
Official Website: Royal College of Music

Enrich your musical journey in the heart of London’s cultural tapestry, where the Royal College of Music invites you to join its legacy of artistic brilliance and scholarly pursuit.

9. Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University

Dive into the vibrant world of music education at the Jacobs School of Music, nestled within the prestigious Indiana University. Founded on a commitment to providing access to quality music education, this school stands out as an inclusive haven for aspiring artists.

While it might not boast the same level of grandeur as some counterparts on this list, the Jacobs School offers a unique proposition – quantity without compromise on quality. With almost 2,000 students at any given time, it opens its doors wider than most, making musical education accessible.

As a public university, it not only fosters artistic excellence but also does so at a relatively affordable cost, making it a compelling choice for many budding musicians.

Location: Bloomington, IN
Notable Alumni: Joshua Bell, Carl Broemel
Official Website: Jacobs School of Music

10. Mannes School of Music

Situated amidst the cultural richness of the Big Apple, Mannes stands out as a hub for nurturing musical talent. Boasting experienced professors with decades of industry expertise, the school offers more than just theoretical learning. It provides a gateway to the vibrant music industry, offering students countless opportunities for internships, performances, and industry connections. As part of the New School, alongside the renowned Parsons School of Design, Mannes not only imparts musical skills but also fosters a broader understanding of the arts. Despite being a small fish in the vast pond of New York’s music scene, Mannes ensures you’re in the right pond for your musical journey.

Location: New York City, NY
Founded: 1916
Notable Alumni: Burt Bacharach
Official Website: Mannes School of Music

11. The University of Music and Performing Arts

Embark on a musical journey in the enchanting city of Vienna, Austria, at The University of Music and Performing Arts. Established in 1817, this prestigious institution has played a pivotal role in shaping the world of music and performance.

With a diverse curriculum covering various music degrees, movie studies, and theater programs, the university stands as a comprehensive hub for artistic expression. However, proficiency in German is a prerequisite for enrollment.

The institution’s rich history and commitment to excellence make it a significant player in the global landscape of music education. As you traverse the halls of this venerable institution, you’ll find yourself immersed in a world where the echoes of Mozart, Schubert, and Strauss continue to resonate.

Location: Vienna, Austria
Founded: 1817
Official Website: University of Music and Performing Arts

12. Conservatoire de Paris

Continue your musical odyssey in the heart of Paris, France, at the illustrious Conservatoire de Paris. Founded on August 3, 1795, this venerable institution stands as one of the oldest and most esteemed music schools globally.

Each year, the conservatoire welcomes a select group of 30 students from around the world, ensuring a rigorous and intimate learning environment. While the admission process is highly competitive, those fortunate enough to join this institution are guaranteed exposure to the rich tradition that has birthed countless French musical luminaries.

The Conservatoire de Paris offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the musical heritage of a nation that has contributed significantly to the world of classical music.

Location: Paris, France
Founded: August 3, 1795
Official Website: Conservatoire de Paris

13. Moscow Imperial Conservatory

Embark on a musical journey to Moscow, Russia, and discover the renowned Moscow Imperial Conservatory. Established in 1866, this institution has withstood the test of time, continuing to produce world-class musicians and composers. With over 1300 students, it stands as one of the most prominent conservatories globally.

The faculty, comprised of the best music teachers Russia has to offer, ensures a high-quality education for aspiring musicians. While the admissions process may be competitive, the rewards of learning in this esteemed institution are well worth the effort. Immerse yourself in the rich cultural and musical tapestry of Russia at the Moscow Imperial Conservatory.

Location: Moscow, Russia
Founded: 1866
Official Website: Moscow Imperial Conservatory

14. New England Conservatory of Music

Let your musical aspirations flourish at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, USA. Founded in 1867, this institution distinguishes itself by focusing on classical music and offering a unique dual degree program with Harvard University.

Unlike its competitor Berklee, the New England Conservatory leans towards traditional classical instruments, fostering a comprehensive environment for students to refine their skills.

The collaborative atmosphere within the institution extends to research and influences teaching methods, providing a holistic approach to musical education. Explore the classical realms of music in the heart of Boston at the New England Conservatory.

Location: Boston, USA
Founded: 1867
Official Website: New England Conservatory of Music

15. San Francisco Conservatory in California

Embark on a musical journey on the west coast at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM) in California. Established in 1917, this private music school has been nurturing talents through its undergraduate and graduate programs, including a Pre-College Division for young musicians.

With approximately 400 students, SFCM offers an intimate setting for musical exploration. Its campus houses industry-connected organizations such as a radio station, record label, and recording studio, providing students with real-world experiences. Aspiring musicians at SFCM not only benefit from exceptional faculty but also from a vibrant network within the dynamic city of San Francisco.

Location: San Francisco, California
Founded: 1917
Official Website: San Francisco Conservatory of Music

Conclusion

Dive into the world of music education with a carefully curated list of the best global music schools. This collection is designed for both music lovers and budding artists, emphasizing the vital connection between teachers and students.

These institutions go beyond imparting knowledge; they serve as mentors fostering a love for musical expression shaped by various cultures. The selection process considers factors like faculty-to-student ratios, renowned faculty, acceptance rates, institutional history, reputation, ties to musical traditions, and the accomplishments of notable alumni.

Explore this comprehensive list to find the perfect music school that aligns with your preferences, whether it’s in the vibrant landscapes of the U.S. or beyond international borders.

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FAQ on World’s Musical Schools

Q: What criteria were considered in selecting the best music schools?

A: The selection process involved evaluating factors such as faculty-to-student ratio, faculty expertise, acceptance rates, the school’s age, overall reputation, connections to musical traditions, and alumni success. These criteria collectively shaped the list of the best music schools.

Q: Why is faculty-to-student ratio important in determining the best music schools?

A: Faculty-to-student ratio is crucial as it reflects the level of personalized attention students receive. A lower ratio often coincided with other positive criteria, indicating a more intimate learning environment, stronger mentorship, and a potentially richer educational experience.

Q: How does alumni success contribute to the ranking of music schools?

A: Alumni success is a significant factor as it demonstrates the impact of the institution on its graduates’ careers. Notable achievements by alumni showcase the effectiveness of the school’s education and contribute to its overall reputation and ranking.

Q: Are these music schools limited to specific regions?

A: No, the list includes music schools from various parts of the world, offering diverse options for aspiring musicians. Whether located in the United States, Europe, or elsewhere, these schools provide unique opportunities for students to pursue their musical passions.

Q: Can prospective students choose a school based on their preferred genre or specialization?

A: Absolutely. The selected music schools cater to a range of musical genres and specializations, from classical to contemporary. Prospective students can explore schools that align with their specific interests, ensuring a tailored educational experience.

Q: How can one decide which music school is the right fit?

A: Choosing the right music school involves considering personal preferences, career goals, and the specific offerings of each institution. Prospective students should research faculty, explore the curriculum, and, if possible, visit campuses to get a feel for the environment before making a decision.

Q: Are these schools only for aspiring professional musicians?

A: No, these music schools cater to a broad spectrum of individuals, including those pursuing music professionally and those seeking a comprehensive music education for personal enrichment. The diversity of programs ensures that students can find a suitable path based on their goals and aspirations.

Q: How can one apply to these music schools?

A: Each music school has its own application process. Prospective students should visit the official websites of the respective schools to find detailed information on admission requirements, application deadlines, and specific steps to apply.

Q: Can students from different countries apply to these music schools?

A: Yes, many of these music schools welcome international students. Prospective students from different countries should check the admission guidelines on the official websites of the respective schools and ensure compliance with any specific requirements for international applicants.

What are the movies about Music Schools?

Based on the need to have good mental picture of what a musical school could mean to you, students are want to watch these movies that depict the school experience, history and projections:

Whiplash (2014)

“Whiplash” follows the intense relationship between a young drummer and his demanding music instructor at a prestigious conservatory. The film explores themes of ambition, perfectionism, and the sacrifices made in the pursuit of musical excellence.

Fame (1980)

Set at the fictional New York City High School for the Performing Arts, “Fame” takes viewers through the lives of talented students studying music, dance, and drama. The film showcases the highs and lows of artistic education and the challenges faced by aspiring performers.

The Soloist (2009)

Based on a true story, “The Soloist” depicts the relationship between a journalist and a homeless musician with extraordinary talent. The film explores themes of mental health, friendship, and the transformative power of music.

School of Rock (2003)

“School of Rock” is a comedic take on the music education genre. Jack Black stars as a substitute teacher who transforms his class into a rock band. The film celebrates the joy of music and highlights unconventional methods of teaching.

Mr. Holland’s Opus (1995)

This film follows the life of a high school music teacher, Mr. Holland, over several decades. It explores the impact he has on his students’ lives and the challenges of balancing a passion for teaching with personal aspirations.

August Rush (2007)

“August Rush” tells the story of a musical prodigy who embarks on a journey to find his parents. The film weaves together themes of family, destiny, and the transcendent power of music.

Drumline (2002)

Set in the world of college marching bands, “Drumline” follows a talented young drummer who challenges traditional expectations. The film combines energetic musical performances with a coming-of-age story.

The Red Violin (1998)

“The Red Violin” spans centuries, tracing the journey of a unique violin through different owners. The film explores the emotional connection between musicians and their instruments, offering a rich tapestry of music and storytelling.

A Late Quartet (2012)

Focused on a renowned string quartet facing internal and external challenges, “A Late Quartet” delves into the complexities of artistic collaboration, rivalry, and the enduring power of classical music.

La La Land (2016)

While not exclusively about a music school, “La La Land” follows the lives of a jazz musician and an aspiring actress in Los Angeles. The film beautifully integrates music and dance, celebrating the pursuit of dreams in the entertainment industry.

These movies offer diverse perspectives on the world of music education, ranging from intense dramas to heartwarming comedies, providing a glimpse into the challenges and triumphs of aspiring musicians.

Caveat!

The list of best music schools was curated based on various factors, including faculty-to-student ratio, acceptance rate, the age and reputation of the school, connections to musical tradition, and the success of alumni. The goal was to identify institutions that not only excel in providing musical education but also foster meaningful relationships between teachers and students, emphasizing the importance of mentorship in the world of music.

NB: The rankings of the musical schools does not follow any hierarchical order; rather using the outlined methodology, we filtered based on the available data from hundreds of web sources.

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