Top10 Music Schools in the World
The list of schools below offers a variety of learning environments, course offerings and teaching styles, even if you’re not entirely sure what exact career you want to pursue, there are several music programmes that allow you to adapt your class selections each year to suit your developing interests. Some offer dual degrees that allow you to expand your career options beyond the musical realm.
So, let’s take a look at what your options are for the highest quality musical education available.
10. Harvard University
Location: Cambridge, US
Harvard offer both an undergraduate and a graduate program. Undergraduates earn an A.B. with a concentration in music. Graduate students complete a PhD program in musicology, ethnomusicology, theory, composition, or Creative Practice and Critical Inquiry. Harvard College also offers two dual degree programs: one with New England Conservatory where students earn an A.B. from Harvard and a M.M. from NEC over the course of five years. The other is with Berklee College of Music, where students earn an A.B. from Harvard and an M.M. or M.A. from Berklee, also over five years.
Although we do not offer a vocal or instrumental performance degree (such as a B.M., M.M., or D.M.A.), performance is very much a part of music department coursework, and students are welcome to join any of the many extracurricular music performance groups on campus.
9. Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
Location: Glasgow, UK
They have been teaching the performing arts in Glasgow since 1847. Building on our roots as a national academy of music, we have grown over the past 170 years to be one of the most interdisciplinary and collaborative institutions in the world and are consistently ranked within the world’s top 10 performing arts institutions (QS World Rankings, 2016, 2017, 2018). The Royal Conservatoire started life as the Glasgow Athenaeum in 1847, which aimed to “provide a source of mental cultivation, moral improvement and delightful recreation to all classes.” The Athenaeum was formally opened by Charles Dickens, who delivered the inaugural address at the first ‘soiree’.
For the first 39 years, the Athenaeum only offered music classes, and, in 1886, drama was introduced to the curriculum. It was from the Athenaeum’s School of Music that the Scottish National Academy of Music was formed in 1929. This grew in prestige and, by 1944, its international standing was recognised by King George VI, who approved that the prefix ‘Royal’ be added to the Academy’s title, making it the ‘Royal Scottish Academy of Music’. At that time, the then Queen Elizabeth graciously assumed the role of Patron, a role in which she continued as Queen Mother until her death in 2002.
7. Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts
Location: Hong Kong, Hong Kong
The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, established by Government Ordinance in 1984, is a leading tertiary institution for the performing arts in Asia. It provides professional undergraduate education and practice-based postgraduate studies. The study encompasses Chinese Opera, Dance, Drama, Film and Television, Music, and Theatre and Entertainment Arts. Its educational philosophy reflects the cultural diversity of Hong Kong with emphasis on Chinese and Western traditions, and interdisciplinary learning. The Academy awards master’s degree, bachelor honours degree, advanced diploma, diploma and certificate programmes that are accredited by the Hong Kong Council for Accreditation of Academic and Vocational Qualifications.
Besides the main campus in Wanchai, Béthanie, the site of the Academy’s Landmark Heritage Campus in Pokfulam, has housed training facilities for the School of Film and Television since 2006.
7. Curtis Institute of Music
Location: Philadelphia, US
The Curtis Institute of Music is the definition of elite. With an acceptance rate of around 4%, the school offers you education and collaboration with only the best of the best. The typical enrolment of 175 students allows for a full symphony orchestra, opera programme, string quartet and select programmes in conducting, composition, piano, organ and guitar.
The students collectively perform in about 200 concerts every year, as Curtis operates on the belief that aspiring musicians learn best ‘by doing’.
6. Guildhall School of Music and Drama
Location: London, England
As a leader in teaching the performing arts, Guildhall nevertheless attracts students from 60 different countries around the world. Students get the benefit of the school’s state-of-the-art performance spaces as well as London’s culturally rich environment that includes Covent Garden’s Royal Opera House, the Tate Modern and the West End theatres.
The undergraduate programmes feature intensive one-on-one teaching sessions in subjects like composition, chamber music, electronic music, music therapy, strings, harp and guitar. While many schools focus on composition and orchestra coursework, Guildhall is also a great choice for students who hope to pursue a singing career. A master’s in vocal studies is available in addition to the BMus.
5. New York University
Location: New York City, US
Founded in the first half of the 19th Century, New York University (NYU) currently educates 50,000 students at its 19 schools and colleges and 11 international classroom sites as well as degree-granting campuses in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai.
In addition to music, NYU ranks highly in accounting, mathematics and law, and those concerned about their employability fresh out of school can be assured that NYU graduates are highly favoured by recruiters. Famous alumni include actor Alec Baldwin, pop star Lady Gaga and playwright Tony Kushner.
NYU offers programmes in all degree levels for a variety of music career paths, including music theory, composition, education, theatre, music therapy and musical theatre writing. The university suggests students take advantage of the vast array of New York City concerts, opera, theatre and other performing arts attractions as well as pursue internships with those organisations, recording companies or local music magazines.
4. Royal Academy of Music
Location: London, England
A constituent college of the University of London, the Royal Academy of Music is Britain’s oldest degree-granting music school. Dedicated to all facets of performance, composition and academic study, the academy offers degree programmes for undergraduates, postgraduates and those seeking additional professional development.
In addition to providing opportunities for performance experience on campus and throughout London, the Royal Academy of Music prides itself on fully preparing students for their career in music. The school offers coursework, events and activities related to understanding the music business, studio recording, editing techniques, self-promotion and marketing, writing CVs, making funding applications, and more.
3. Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien
Location: Vienna, Austria
One of the largest performing arts schools in the world, the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien, also known as the MDW, provides training to 3,000 students in 105 degree programmes and 68 supplementary programmes run by 24 departments. The MDW is dedicated to cultivating the unique talents and perspectives of each individual artist.
Students can pursue a range of music careers, including coursework for composition, conducting, keyboard instruments, church music, ethnomusicology and five forms of music education. Additional performing arts degrees are available in acting, film, digital art and directing. The university also offers classes on learning the German language, as students must be proficient in both German and English to be accepted to the degree programmes.
2. Royal College of Music
Location: London, England
The College of Music was founded in December of 1945 by the late Dr. Jemyung Hyun and was named the Kyung Sung School of Music. In August 1946, the School was reorganized and included into the Music Department of Seoul National University’s School of Art. In 1953, the school was once again revamped and became known as what we have to day, Seoul National University College of Music. In the beginning, vocal music, composition, and instrumental music were the only majors offered. Beginning in 1959, Korean traditional music was offered as a major. From there, the area of traditional music branched out into three more areas: instrumental performance, composition, and music theory. In 1981, the composition major branched out into more indepth studies of theory and composition. On the other hand, Instrumental music branched out and the studies of piano, strings, and wood-wind were established as separate majors in 1982. In 1984, the study of Korean traditional music expanded by offering a major in vocal performance. Every facet of music is studied at Seoul National University College of Music. Owing to its eminently qualified professors and excellent students, the College of Music has become the center of music education in Korea.
1. The Juilliard School
Location: New York City, US
Juilliard is committed to the diversity of our community by fostering an environment that is inclusive, supportive, and welcoming to all. In working toward this environment, we recognize that we must not only examine steps forward in our internal community but also address the institutional structures of systemic injustice that shape our industry. It is only through a central commitment to anti-racism that we can fully deliver on our mission of providing the highest caliber of artistic education to students and actively shaping the future of the performing arts. Our path forward is meant to be holistic and intentional, with Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging included as a core value and priority of the school, as President Damian Woetzel shared in his inaugural message to the community July 2018, and further described in his first Convocation address in September 2018.
Below, you will find an outline of the EDIB initiative and work of the Taskforce, including the steps we have outlined so far, and the work ahead. The rollout of our strategic plan is still in progress, and we recognize that there is much work to be done listening and learning. It is in that spirit that we also include a resource list and