10 Best Music Conservatories in the USA
Do you dream of studying music abroad but still don’t know where? Well then find out that some of the best music conservatories in the world are in the United States. There are several options for renowned schools there but if you want to make that dream come true in the best of the best be sure to check out this text.
10. Colburn School
Located in downtown Los Angeles, California, Colburn School is a performing arts school with a focus on Music and Dance. It was founded in 1950 as a preparatory arm of the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music. In 1980, it gained independence from the institution and became known as the Community School of Performing Arts. Five years later, he received a large donation from businessman Richard D. Colburn, changing his name in his honor.
The school has its own concert hall, Zipper Hall, which serves both for rehearsals and presentations by students, as well as presentations by external artists. For example, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra have already been there.
9. New England Conservatory of Music (NEC)
Founded in 1867, NEC is the oldest independent music conservatory in the United States and has one of the most iconic presentation rooms in the country, Jordan Hall, which opened in 1903 and receives around 1,000 performances a year. Both the school’s main building and its presentation room, which are located in Boston, are considered historic landmarks by the American government.
NEC develops dual degree programs (Bachelor + Master’s) in partnership with Harvard and Tufts University.
8. Oberlin Conservatory of Music
The Oberlin Conservatory of Music is a world leader in the training of professional musicians in classical music, jazz and electronic music and also in the training of vocalists, instrumentalists and composers. Founded in 1865, it is the oldest conservatory in continuous operation in the USA and the only one dedicated almost exclusively to music degree programs.
It is one of the few American conservatories to be completely linked to a Faculty of Liberal Arts, allowing its students to have the opportunity to graduate in Music and in another major simultaneously through a double five-year program.
7. Jacobs School of Music – Indiana University in Bloomington
Indiana University in Bloomington, which was founded in 1829, only created its music department in 1920. Years later that department became the Jacobs School of Music, which today is the largest conservatory of music in the United States in number of students.
There, all students must participate in a musical group. And the options are several: there are thirteen choirs, four bands, four jazz groups, four symphonic orchestras and a chamber orchestra, among others.
Unlike other American conservatories, Jacobs accepts auditions recorded in its application process. However, face-to-face hearings are encouraged.
6. Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM)
The Cleveland Institute of Music, founded in 1920, is one of seven independent music conservatories in the United States and one of three dedicated exclusively to classical music. The institute’s students benefit from access to world-renowned professors and visitors in the world of music and a great curriculum offered in partnership with Case Western Reserve University .
CIM graduates lead the world’s most celebrated and revered stages as soloists, chamber musicians and members of groups and choirs. In fact, a curiosity is that more than half of the members of the Cleveland Orchestra (one of the five most important in the United States) are connected with the conservatory, either as teaching members or as students and alumni.
5. Manhattan School of Music
The Manhattan School of Music (MSM) was founded in 1917 by pianist Janet Schenck on the Upper East Side, one of the noblest areas of Manhattan in New York. Today it is one of the most competitive music schools in the country, both for its location and the excellence of its faculty, and offers bachelor’s and master’s programs in classical and jazz music, as well as a degree in theatrical music.
Candidates from certain areas of specialization are subjected to a pre-screening process, where singers and instrumentalists send a video recording. Only students who pass this first phase are invited for a face-to-face hearing. For students from other countries, it is not mandatory to take the practical admission test directly at school, simply by listening to video.
The building where MSM is located was once the home of the Julliard School (which will still appear on that list), when it still had another name.
4. Eastman School of Music
As a member of the University of Rochester, the Eastman School of Music has been training talented musicians for nearly a century. Founded in 1921, Eastman has always been one of the most prestigious music conservatories in the United States and offers undergraduate, master’s and doctoral programs. About 25% of the school’s students are foreigners and they can choose a minor at the University of Rochester to be taken alongside the Music course.
Another interesting fact is that the conservatory also has a community music school that caters to residents aged 16 to 80 in the city of Rochester.
3. Berklee College of Music
Originally known as Schillinger House and founded in 1945, Berklee College of Music was the first school to teach jazz in the United States and today is the largest independent school of contemporary music in the world. Although best known for the study of jazz and modern American music, it also offers courses in areas such as reggae, rock, salsa, hip hop, bluegrass and heavy metal. In fact, Berklee’s bachelor’s program in rock and electric guitar is the first of its kind in the world.
Characterized by its small classes of about 12 students, the school also has a branch in Valencia, Spain.
2. Curtis Institute of Music
Established over 95 years ago, the Curtis Institute of Music was founded in 1924 and has always been face to face with the next school on the list vying for the title of best of the best. However, in one thing, the Curtis Institute takes the lead: ALL students accepted there receive a scholarship based on merit. With an admission rate of around 4%, it is one of the most selective higher education schools in the world (in all areas!).
1. Juilliard School
Probably the most recognized name among all the music conservatories in the world, the Juilliard School has been an icon for 115 years (it was founded in 1905). Augustus Juilliard was a wealthy merchant and, when he died, he left a huge donation for music education. The donation curators founded the Juilliard Music School in honor of Augustus’ generosity.
Juilliard is known (and feared!) For accepting only the best candidates and her selection process is very rigorous. The school does not accept virtual auditions and all applicants must attend in person to take their practical test in New York. Only about 8% of them are accepted.
The school does not only offer Music programs, but also in areas such as Performing Arts and Dance. In the music division, however, undergraduate, master’s and doctoral programs are offered in various instruments and musical styles.