15 Best Music Schools in the World and Locations

Explore the 15 Best Music Schools in the world and Locations through this post properly compiled for you to chew and digest. For music lovers and interested readers, take your time to check out schools that make this list.

Musicians will tell the aspiring artist that music education hinges upon the nature and quality of the relationship between teacher and student.

The experienced artist does not merely pass on knowledge, but most importantly the musical mentor expresses his or her love and fidelity to musical form and expression.

Thereby helping to direct students in forming an expression of this same language, refracted and transposed through their own cultures and experiences. 

In identifying schools for this list, a primary consideration was faculty to student ratio.

Along with this criterion, faculty, acceptance rate, the age of the school, general reputation, the music school’s links to musical tradition as well as alumni success were considered.

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Interestingly, as will be made clear in what follows, low student to faculty ratio more often than not coincided with the other criteria of identification.

To help you narrow down the search for the right music school, jobreaders.org mapped out this article and create this list of some of the best music schools in the world.

You probably heard for some of these schools, as they are really famous, but you can pick from this list a school tailored for you and your needs, whether it is located in the US or elsewhere in the world.

1. The Juilliard School

The Juilliard School, or simply Juilliard as most people call it, is known as the most prestigious performing arts educational institution in the world, according to a number of rankings doled out every year.

The college teaches students in a number of verticals, including dance, acting, and, of course, music, which it is perhaps best known for.

The school is attached to the similarly prestigious Lincoln Center, which plays host to some of the best live music performances to be found anywhere, with a focus on all things classical and opera.

This option is best for those who one day would like to compose or perhaps play in an orchestra, but it probably isn’t ideal for anyone looking to create more contemporary popular music.

Location: New York City, NY

Founded: 1905

Notable Alumni: Barry Manilow, Yo-Yo Ma, John Williams

Visit here to access official website

2. Berklee College of Music

Berklee College of Music produces more hitmakers than any other school in the world so if you want to make it big in the Top 40 world, this is where you need to go

Unlike many other music programs all around the world, Berklee College of Music is focused on churning out artists who go on to top the charts and own the pop culture conversation.

Many of the most successful alumni aren’t in orchestras or crafting classical compositions, but rather, they have squarely focused their musical efforts in pop, rock, and other modern genres.

Boston is known as a college town and Berklee College of Music is simply one of the best in a crowded area.

Location: Boston, MA

Founded: 1945

Notable Alumni: Melissa Etheridge, Quincy Jones, John Mayer

Visit here to access official website

3. Yale School of Music

Yale needs no introduction, but sadly, many people overlook the music school as the other programs receive the majority of attention.

The legendary university’s musical wing is world-renowned and not just because of the name.

It has truly earned its stellar reputation and it lives up to the Yale brand, producing many incredibly accomplished musicians.

New Haven, Connecticut is a relatively smaller city without all the flash of (fairly) nearby NYC but it will be worth it when you get out of school and have Yale on your resume.

Location: New Haven, CT

Founded: 1894

Notable Alumni: Marco Beltrami, Michael Daugherty, Matt Brubeck

Visit here to access the official website

Related Post: Berklee College of Music Acceptance Rate, Cost and How to Get in

4. Royal College of Music, Stockholm

Royal College of Music, is one of the top music schools. This college is located in Stockholm is apparently the oldest school of music in Sweden, founded in 1771 as the conservatory of Royal Swedish Academy of Music. The conservatory was now isolated to be on its own in 1971.

UniRank ranks this Sweedish university as the 32nd higher education institution in Sweeden.

You can take a degree program in this Swedish conservatory to become a composer, conductor, instrumentalist, or vocalist and join its hundred of notable alumni. Its music department includes Jazz, Classical, Folk Music, Music Education, etc.

Location: Stockholm,Sweden

Founded: 1771

Visit here to access the official website

5. University of Southern California Thornton School of Music

Founded just four years after the university itself, the Thornton School of Music is one of the oldest musical institutions in America. It benefits immensely from more than a century of knowing what it takes to craft a truly wonderful musician.

While the organization focuses on styles like jazz, classical, and earlier forms of music. The school also has a celebrated program for those looking to work in the music industry but who may not be musicians themselves.

Even if you want to be on the more creative end of things as an artist, taking classes to teach you what’s happening in the business can only benefit you and this is a great place to receive such a blended education.

Aspiring Music Business majors should take note of this school. USC also has strong connections to the film music industry.

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Founded: 1884

Notable Alumni: Herb Alpert, James Newton Howard, James Horner

Visit here to access the official website

6. Curtis Institute of Music

While not specifically known as one of the better music cities in America, Philadelphia does have at least one hidden gem, everybody, considering going to college to study the craft should look into: The Curtis Institute of Music.

The school, which is coming up on one hundred years of age, has been quietly producing some of the most accomplished musicians in the world for a long time.

While you might not have heard of it, everybody in the opera field (the school’s specialty) certainly has!

It is notoriously difficult to be accepted, as it agrees to take on less than five percent of all applicants, so you’re going to need to show them something really special if you want to go here.

Location: Philadelphia, PA

Founded: 1924

Notable Alumni: Leonard Bernstein, David Brooks, Lang Lang

Visit here to access the official website

7. The Royal Academy of Music

If you’re looking to travel overseas when you take up your musical studies, the Royal Academy of Music may be exactly what you need.

The school accepts students from dozens of countries so you certainly have a chance of going but you’re going to need to be really, really great to be included in the incoming class this is one institution that can afford to be picky.

The college is also connected to the University of London which can come in handy if you’re looking to study something other than music (in addition to becoming a serious artist, of course).

Location: London, UK

Founded: 1822

Notable Alumni: Elton John, Annie Lennox

Visit here to access the official website

8. Royal College of Music

Speaking of London, if you don’t get into the Royal Academy of Music, there are other options in that great city and the second one on your list should absolutely be the Royal College of Music.

The two similarly-named universities are part of the ABRSM (the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music), four wonderful educational institutions in the U.K. dedicated to teaching the art of performance.

Only two of the four are located in London, which is where you probably want to live if you’re moving to the country for college.

In addition to actually helping people become better musicians, the Royal College of Music does a lot of research into all things related to performance, which further influences teaching methods and how events live are staged and buildings are created.

Location: London, UK

Founded: 1882

Notable Alumni: Andrew Lloyd Webber, James Horner, Vanessa-Mae

Visit here to access the official website

9. Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University

It may not be quite as impressive as some other schools on this list and it doesn’t carry the same reputation.

But the Jacobs School of Music, which is based at Indiana University, offers the greatest chance of acceptance for many up-and-coming artists.

Many of the universities I’ve already mentioned only admit a small group of new applicants every year. While the Jacobs School has almost 2,000 students at any given time.

As a public university, this option is often offered at a lower price than many private choices, especially for those from the region.

Location: Bloomington, IN

Notable Alumni: Joshua Bell, Carl Broemel

Visit here to access the official website

10. Mannes School of Music

Another New York City school, I know but there’s a reason why so many of these colleges are located in the Big Apple.

While it may be difficult to make a go of being a professional musician in America’s largest metropolis, it also happens to be where the majority of the music industry is focused.

Students at the Mannes School of Music benefit not only from excellent Professors who typically have decades of experience. But from being just a subway ride away from countless opportunities for internships, jobs, and places to perform whenever they like.

New York City is to music what Los Angeles is to acting — you’ll be just a small fish in a big pond but at least you’re in the right pond, to begin with.

Also, as part of the New School, which houses fellow artistic college Parsons (known as one of the best in the fashion world), there are plenty of facilities and faculty who will be willing to help in whatever way possible when it comes to making you a success.

Location: New York City, NY

Founded: 1916

Notable Alumni: Burt Bacharach

Visit here to access the official website

11. The University of Music and Performing Arts

You could expect that the country that gave the world Mozart, Shubert, Strauss, and many other composers and classical music instrumentalists would have a music school on this list. 

The University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna is a big school. They are covering everything from all sorts of music degrees to movie and theater degrees. However, you do need to be proficient in German to enroll in this school.

Location: Vienna, Austria

Founded: 1817

Visit here to access the official website

Related Post: Berklee College of Music Acceptance Rate, Cost and How to Get in

12. Conservatoire de Paris

Furthering our stay in Europe, the next school on our list is the famous Conservatoire de Paris.

One of the oldest music schools in the world, this college accepts only 30 students each year, from all over the world, so you should really think before applying to this school. 

But if you do get in, you can be sure that you will learn all the best from the system that gave every big French name in the music world in the last 200 years.

Location: Paris, France 

Founded: 3 August 1795

Official website: https://conservatoires.paris.fr/conservatoires/dukas

13. Moscow Imperial Conservatory

One of two most famous Russian conservatories (another one being in the old capital St. Petersburg), Moscow Imperial Conservatory outlived the empire that gave it its name and still continues to produce world-class musicians and composers to this day.

They are a big college, with more than 1300 students, but you can expect high-quality education from the best music teachers Russia has to offer, and believe us, they do.

Location: Moscow, Russia

Founded: 1866

Official website: http://www.mosconsv.ru/en/

14. New England Conservatory of Music

Another college from Boston, New England Conservatory of Music, unlike its competitor Berklee isn’t that much turned to the contemporary music. 

Here you can study typical classical instruments and the whole schools are more turned to classical music.

Also, you can get a degree from Harvard on a dual degree studying, as these universities have a collaboration.

Location: Boston, USA

Founded: 1867

Visit here to access the official website

Related Post: Durham University Vice-Chancellor Scholarship for Art, Music, and Sports Undergraduate Students

15. San Francisco Conservatory in California

The San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM) is a private music school in San Francisco, California.

About 400 undergraduate and graduate students are enrolled at the school which also includes a Pre-College Division for young musicians.

The San Francisco Conservatory of Music was founded in 1917 by Ada Clement and Lillian Hodghead as the Ada Clement Piano School.

Its first location was the home of Lillian’s parents, at 3435 Sacramento Street. The school opened with three pianos, four studios, two blackboards, and 40 students.

The Ada Clement Piano School quickly expanded. Several years after its founding, the name changed to the Ada Clement Music School. And then in 1923 to the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

In 1956 the Conservatory moved from Sacramento Street to 1201 Ortega Street, the home of a former infant shelter.

It resided there for fifty years, before moving to its current location at 50 Oak Street in 2006.

Location: San Francisco, California

Founded: 1917

Visit here to access the official website


Students are expected to learn from professionals working in the field. More importantly, benefit from the many real-world music industry organizations on campus. These including a radio station, record label, and recording studio.

They also benefit from long-standing internship connections and from regular industry networking opportunities. After all, everyone on campus has or will become a music world connection of some sort. 

If you’re looking for a college experience where you’ll focus on music skills and the entrepreneurship skills. You’ll need to build a career in today’s music industry, Berklee College of Music is a strong choice.

While the school has a 47.6% acceptance rate, making it much easier to get into than conservatory programs like Curtis or Juilliard, the education you’ll receive will be top-notch and well-rounded.

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