University List

List of Top & Best Music Schools in the World

Shobha Kadur

Top Music Schools in The World

As the first step to fulfill your dream of becoming a successful musician, knowing about the best music schools across the world is the smartest way forward. Being aware of the location, acceptance rate, academic environment, faculty, tuition fees and scholarship options, reputation and successful alumni are factors which will help you choose where you want to pursue your dreams. 

The Best Music Schools Worldwide for Undergraduates are:

1. The Juilliard School, New York, United States

A private performing arts conservatory, the Julliard School was founded in 1905 and offers undergraduate music degrees in classical, jazz, historical performance, and vocal arts. The acceptance rate hovers around 6%, which is an indicator of the high standards set by the institution in selecting students. The Julliard School believes in the student’s all-round growth and facilitates creative programs, social activities, leadership opportunities and cultural diversity events.   

Scholarships are given after a student’s admission based on need and artistic merit. While the average tuition fees after aid is $28,000/- cost of living in New York also needs to be considered.

Some illustrious alumni are Robin Williams, Maya Hawke and Kevin Spacey

2. Berklee College of Music, Boston, United States

Founded in 1945, Berklee is the largest independent college of contemporary music with over 6000 students. Set in an urban locale, the 4-year undergraduate music program offers 12 majors leading to a baccalaureate degree (B.M.) or professional diploma. Chances of gaining admission are brighter with an acceptance rate of around 33%.

All students in the full-time degree or diploma programs are eligible for scholarships during admissions. However international students can avail of only merit-based scholarships. Tuition & fees can cost $64000 annually.

Quincy Jones, Diana Krall and John Scofield are some of the notable alumni.

3. The New England of Music Conservatory, Boston, United States

It is one of the oldest - founded in 1903, independent private music school in the USA and offers degree and diploma programs at the undergraduate level in performance and composition, with training in music theory and history, and in the liberal arts.

The acceptance rate is competitive at 35%. While tuition and fees cost $69,756, NEC offers scholarship to more than 90% of students each year. Scholarships are based on merit and need and can be renewed for the degree program

Notable alumni from NEC include John Medeski, Cecil Taylor and Jamie Saft.

4. Moscow Imperial Conservatory, Moscow, Russia

The Moscow Imperial Conservatory is one of the oldest music institutions in Russia founded in 1866 by Nikolai Rubinstein and Prince Nikolai Petrovitch Trobetzkoy. The undergraduate program is 2-4 years full time for a Music Composition degree. The program which focuses on Music Composition includes music history, theory and literature. Students are motivated to hone their creative and intellectual skills in music and thereby become original composers.

Cost of services for foreign students is $10000. Students from Canada and the USA are eligible for need-based grants/financial assistance

Some of the illustrious alumni are Yuri Bashmet, Gidon Kremer and Sofia Gubaidulina

5. University of Music & Performing Arts, at Vienna, Austria

Deemed a university in 1998, this 3000+ student institution was founded in 1817 is the oldest music institution ever and the largest in Austria. The program offers excellent education in instrumental studies, voice and voice performance, music education and research areas. With an acceptance rate of about 30-40%, the institution is selective in accepting applications.

While the University of Music & Performing Arts doesn’t offer scholarships, project funding for international students is possible. Institutional scholarships offer grants based on the student’s country of origin and the level of studies.

Gustav Mahler, George Enescu and Hugo Wolf are some of the notable alumni.

6. Royal College of Music, South Kensington, London

Established in 1882 with a formal grant from the monarch, the Royal College of Music (RCM) offers expert training for undergraduates in Western Music for performers, conductors and composers as also teaches music theory and history. After applying online through UCAS Conservatoires, a student can track his application too. Auditions are available at select venues in Asia and USA.

This year over 60% of students at RCM have got financial assistance through scholarships or awards. Being a non-profit institution, it is with the generosity of charitable trusts, companies and individuals that this has been possible. 

Some illustrious alumni of RCM are Benjamin Britten, Malcolm Arnold and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

7. Yale School of Music, New Haven, Connecticut

Set up within Yale University, it is the only school of music in the Ivy League. Established in 1894, it offers outstanding training in composition, conducting, instrumental studies with an added curriculum of chamber music, music history and theory and performing ensembles.

Considering the prestigiousness of studying at Yale, the school has a very selective admission procedure with an acceptance rate of 10%. However, all students receive full tuition awards and fellowships provided they aren’t availing of funding from other sources.

Aldo Parisot, David Lang and Marco Beltrami are some of the notable alumni.

8. The Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Ohio

Founded in 1865, this is a private institution of music and the oldest operating conservatory in USA. To apply for the 5-year Bachelor of Music program, undergraduates must audition in advance. Oberlin imparts music in modern instruments and offers students the right environment to blossom both as a musician and a liberal thinker.

Oberlin’s acceptance rate is 25% making admissions comparatively easier. The conservatory offers scholarships based on merit as also need-based aid.

Some of the illustrious alumni are Robert Spano, James McBride and Denyce Graves.

9. Royal Academy of Music, London

It is Britain’s oldest conservatory founded in 1822 with patronage from King George IV. Housed in an urban setting, the Academy’s undergraduate music program allows a student to choose and pursue a major referred to as the Principal Study. So each student has just one Principal Study.

While anybody can apply, the acceptance rate is extremely stringent at 0-10%. Students can avail of financial aid with merit or by need. Scholarships are also available to the best students at the audition.

Elton John, Annie Lennox and Simon Rattle are some of the renowned alumni.

10. Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow, Scotland

Founded in 1847, this is perhaps the only conservatory that offers programs in a wide range of performing disciplines – dance, drama, music, scree and production. The music program offers study in instruments, vocals and traditional music. Students also have the chance to interact with professional partners as also visiting artists from abroad.

As a policy, to encourage talented students, the institution has offered financial aid to about 40% students this year. Scholarships help students pay tuition fees and living expenses.

Some renowned alumni are Alan Cumming, James McAvoy and Richard Madden



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