List of Top Music Universities

Written by nicolas arteaga
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List of Top Music Universities
Music conservatories such as Juilliard and Curtis are renowned for their opera programs. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Music schools in the United States fall into several categories. A conservatory, such as the Juilliard School of Music, specialises in musical performance. Other music schools, such as the Princeton School of Music, do not offer musical performance degrees but offer degrees in composition, musicology or music technology. The most prestigious music schools are often privately operated, and acceptance rates to these schools are very low.

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The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is one of the most prestigious music conservatories in the world. According to "U.S News & World Report," the acceptance rate is 5 per cent, making it the lowest in the United States for any private school. Because of the low acceptance rate, the Curtis Institute provides full-tuition scholarships to all of its students, and acceptance into Curtis is entirely based on merit. The Curtis Institute offers undergraduate degrees in keyboard performance, voice, conducting and composition. A master's degree is available for those pursuing a career in opera. Some of America's greatest classical composers and performers, including Samuel Barber and Leonard Bernstein, have been Curtis graduates.


Perhaps the best-known music conservatory in the United States, the Juilliard School in New York City is a performance-based institutions. Besides of its focus on musical performance, the Juilliard School also offers programs in drama and dance. Many of Juilliard's alumni--including Van Cliburn, Yo-Yo Ma, Wynton Marsalis and Leontyne Price--have had spectacular careers as concert musicians and opera singers. The music department of Juilliard offers bachelor's, master's and Ph.D. programs. Degrees are offered in instrumental performance, voice and conducting.


The Princeton Department is well known for its studies in composition and music history. Undergraduate and graduate degrees are offered in composition, music theory, music history and musicology. At Princeton University there are no performance degrees offered, but private instrumental lessons are available on the campus. Princeton University has collaborated with the Royal College of Music in London in offering a five-year degree program that includes a bachelor of arts from Princeton and a master of music from the Royal College of Music.


Not to be confused with UC Berkeley in California, the Berklee School of Music is a prestigious conservatory in Boston, Massachusetts, that specialises in modern music. Often, Berklee is referred to as "the Juilliard of Jazz." The Berklee School of Music offers 12 separate majors, including jazz composition, instrumental and vocal performance, music engineering and more. Degrees offered include bachelor's, master's and two-year diplomas. More than 190 Berklees alumni have gone on to win Grammys, including Esperanza Spalding, Quincey Jones and Branford Marsalis.

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