The best colleges are already hard to get into, but the best performing arts schools have a reputation of being even more selective and intense. If you are a high school student serious about your music career, then you might already have an idea where you want to go to college. Below, we present you the most prestigious music schools in the world that will give you the best education and mentorship:

Top Music Schools in the World

1. The Juilliard School

The most well-known and most renowned of all the music schools, Julliard sits at the top of this list. Founded in 1905, this New York City-based university aims to train already gifted performing arts students by providing them the highest caliber education and training so that they may become the best and brightest in their field.

Students interested in getting a Juilliard music degree can choose between 6 programs to follow – Instruments, Vocal Arts, Jazz Studies, Historical Performance, Composition, and Conducting. Most of these courses offer both undergraduate and graduate degrees and diplomas. Whichever they may choose, students are always presented with the opportunity to perform in front of an audience, an aspect of the Julliard education that is highly valued.

2. Berklee College of Music

The Berklee institution itself is made up of 2 separate colleges – the Berklee College of Music, which has three campuses in Boston, New York, and Valencia, and the Boston Conservatory at Berklee. Both are exceptional, but we focus on the Berklee College of Music, which is one of the world’s most renowned colleges of music and is known for its cutting-edge facilities and exceptional faculty.

The college offers high-quality music programs both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. For the undergraduate degree, one can earn a Bachelor of Music degrees in 12 different majors, such as Composition and Film Scoring, or a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Industry Leadership and Innovation. Graduate students can then earn a Master’s degree in different fields, like Global Jazz and Music Business, in the three campuses or even online.

3. Yale University

Yale University is among the top universities for music across the globe, consistently places at the top of university rankings in a wide scope of fields, and that includes music. The Yale School of Music prides itself not only on being the only separate school of music in the prestigious Ivy League but also on being one of the best music programs in the world. YSM’s students get top-tier education with its abundance of resources and state-of-the-art facilities.

YSM offers degrees in 12 areas of study, including Composition and Piano. Undergraduate students who want to get into the B.A./M.M. program must be accepted into Yale College and have a successful audition with the School Music. In the graduate programs, most students are actually under the two-year Master of the Music program to develop a specialty in their chosen field, but there is also a doctoral degree program for anyone who wants to have intensive training along with theory and historical studies.

4. New England Conservatory of Music

  • Department: New England Conservatory (NEC)
  • Degrees offered: Undergraduate, Masters, Doctorate

As the US’ oldest independent music conservatory, the New England Conservatory of Music has established itself as one of the most esteemed schools of music around the globe. Its students are exposed to first-rate education and training by the internationally distinguished faculty, all while being in a dynamic, diverse, and innovative environment.

NEC’s bachelor’s degree delivers excellent music programs around the world that are offered in 11 majors, from Brass to Vocal Performance. Double degree programs with Tufts University and Harvard College allow students who have a passion for music and another field to pursue both interests. Like YSM, most NEC students are also under the Master of Music program which is offered in 17 majors that includes Music Theory and Choral Conducting. Finally, the doctoral degree is created for professional musicians who would like to develop leadership skills as well.

5. University of Southern California (USC)

Founded in 1884, University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music in LA’s oldest cultural institution is an excellent music school in the world that has been continually running. It is considered an elite music school, consistently topping the list of USA’s music schools and conservatories. It offers a rigorous education in the style of a conservatory in an environment where cutting-edge research is performed.

Its undergraduate and graduate degrees are offered in many different majors – some falling under Bachelor of Music and some falling under Bachelor of Science. For the former, students can take studies in 13 majors including Choral & Sacred Music and Music Industry. For the latter, graduate students can choose among those majors with the addition of some others like Arts Leadership, and Early Music Performance.

6. Curtis Institute of Music

  • Department: Curtis Institute of Music
  • Degrees offered: Undergraduate, Masters

The Curtis Institute of Music is one of the top schools for music around the world and is known for its small student body but still world-class music education. Because of its size, each student gets a good amount of attention from the renowned faculty, personalizing their education. Despite its prestige, students at Curtis do not have to pay tuition thanks to its many grants and financial aid. This ensures that the most promising students, regardless of financial status, have the chance to get top-tier education.

The institute offers its undergraduate degree in 6 majors – Composition, Keyboard, Guitar, Orchestral Instrument, Voice, and Liberal Arts. Meanwhile, the two-year master’s degree provides highly proficient musicians the training they need to specialize in the field of their liking. The specializations are in Piano, Composition, Orchestral Instruments, Guitar, Organ, and Opera.

7. The Royal Academy of Music

The only non-US institution on the list, the Royal Academy of Music is an excellent institution for music in the world that was founded in 1822 and is UK’s oldest conservatoire. It aims to push music forward by allowing generation after generation of musicians to create, connect and collaborate. They are known for their top-class curriculum and world-famous alumni such as Elton John and Felicity Lott.

The academy has 22 different departments where students could take their studies in. The bachelor’s degree incorporates instrumental studies, live performances, soft skills development, and academic studies together to produce competent and confident musicians. On the other hand, there are 3 graduate degrees – 2 Master of Arts and 1 Master of Music. The former is for those who want to develop their practical skills, while the latter is for those who want to develop academic or creative projects.

There are many music schools and conservatories worldwide that can offer you quality education and training should you want to pursue a musical career. However, earning a degree from these world-class universities – some of which is household name to even those who know nothing about the performing arts – will get you far ahead of the game and push your career far beyond expectations.


I hope that this article on Best Music Schools in the World was helpful. Make sure to check out the Available Programs for International Students to learn more about studying abroad.

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