10 Best Universities for Musically Talented Students

Do you have excellent extracurricular activities in music? Are you a member of your local philharmonic orchestra? Do you have experience performing in Carnegie Hall? If you are one of those musically talented students applying to universities, we have a list of some extraordinary options for you.

Here are some of the most prestigious, highly acclaimed university programs that provide you an opportunity to receive degrees from both music and academic fields.

Columbia-Juilliard Joint Program

Columbia University, one of the most prestigious Ivy League institutions, and The Juilliard School, a leading performing arts conservatory, have partnered to provide musically and academically ambitious students with an opportunity to earn the educational benefits from both institutions. It is important to note that candidates hoping to enroll in the Columbia-Juilliard Program have to be accepted by both schools. For the first three years at Columbia University, you will fulfill the Core requirements and participate in all the academic classes as any other Columbia students, while receiving weekly music lessons from the Juilliard’s professors. After that, you will be a full-time Juilliard student earning Master's degree in music. In essence, the students participating in this program have an opportunity to earn the Bachelor’s degree from Columbia and Master’s degree from Juilliard in 5 years.

Harvard-New England Conservatory

Harvard University, the alma mater of 8 former U.S Presidents, has partnered with New England Conservatory to provide wonderful opportunities for musically talented students.

This Dual Degree Music Program is offered to eligible high school students who are accepted by both Harvard and New England Conservatory through the regular admission process. It enables musically gifted students to earn a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard as well as a Masters of Music from New England Conservatory over a period of five years. Admission in this program requires Performance Applicants to audition and Composition Applicants to interview during NEC’s regular interviewing period of February/March. Throughout the course of a student’s first three years, they are required to concentrate on their Harvard Curriculum along with taking studio instruction for each semester at NEC. During the fourth year of their degrees, students fulfill their Harvard Degree Requirements and commence their Masters at New England Conservatory to be finished by the end of their fifth year.

The Harvard-NEC Dual Degree Program allows talented students to profit from the exceptional facilities of two distinguished organizations which could be a remarkable addition on their resumes as well.

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Yale University

Founded in 1701 in New Haven, Connecticut, Yale University is a distinguished university with a comprehensive Music School. Yale offers an exclusive Bachelor of Art and Master of Music Program for students to enhance their skill, augment their understanding of music, and increase their love for the art. Enrolling in this program specifically designed for exceptionally talented students opens up a world of opportunities for students to build a strong foundation for their career in either field.

One of the most notable aspects of this program is that this is a completely tuition-free program for Master's program entailing no academic costs at all. The program requires students to meet its rigorous standards of Analysis and Musicianship in Music History, fulfill keyboard proficiency requirements along with the nonperformance course distribution requirements. The abundance of various performing opportunities at Yale School of Music including solo recitals, chamber music performances, mixed ensembles, School Orchestra, and Yale Percussion Group, makes it stand out from other musical programs.

Johns Hopkins University - Peabody Institute

Peabody Institute, devoted to music studies, is a branch of the prominent private research university Johns Hopkins. This illustrious Double Degree Musical Program enables advanced music students to simultaneously acquire a Bachelor of Music/Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Peabody Institute along with a B.A/ B.S from Johns Hopkins University.

This program requires students to submit applications to both Johns Hopkins University and Peabody Institute after which they may receive three decisions; one from Johns Hopkins, one from Peabody Institute and one for the Double Degree decision notification. Students admitted to this program will have exclusive access to premium facilities, over 50 clubs and groups varying from dance, music and theatre, acappella groups, ensembles, orchestras and other visual art groups.

University of Rochester - Eastman School of Music

Eastman School of Music, ranked among the top music schools in the US, is a school within the University of Rochester, and this enables students to receive both degrees, BA or BS degree from the University of Rochester and BM (Bachelors of Music) degree from Eastman School. Applicants need to apply for both schools in order to undertake the dual degree program. Financial aids are generously provided for 10 semesters for the students in dual degree programs, since most of the students take more than 8 semesters to complete the requirements of the double degree programs.

Northwestern University - Bienen School of Music

Founded in 1851 in Evanston, Illinois, Northwestern is a private research university with several international campuses. Its branch for music studies, Bienen School of Music, offers a diverse range of music programs that include Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Arts in Music, Bachelor of Science in Music; Dual Degrees in Music and Liberal Arts, Music and Communication, Music and Engineering, Music and Journalism and several others. Northwestern’s strong academic curriculum topped off with a deep musical illumination and its exceptional faculty make it one of the most valuable programs for students with music background. Enrolling in its double degree program allows students to diversify their knowledge, excel in more than one field, broaden their career paths and prospects as well as study the art of music in a comprehensive manner.

New York University

NYU's Music Department offers a diverse range of music courses to undergraduate students. Students have abundant choices of music academic programs to choose from including Music Business, Music Composition, Music Education, Music Technology, Music Theatre, Music Therapy, and many other programs that deal with all facets of the art of music. Additionally, New York is the heart of America’s theatrical and classical performances. Located in New York, NYU presents students with multiple chances to exhibit their talent amid New York’s artistic environment with its internships, hands-on experiences and performance opportunities.

University of Southern California - Thorton School of Music

The Thornton Music School of the University of Southern California allows students to choose a music program that they are passionate about from its diversified range of up to 26 degrees and programs. USC’s commitment to making education cost effective and affordable is exemplary; two thirds of its students receiving some form of financial support and 23% of students receiving merit-based scholarships. USC requires SAT or ACT official scores, Transcripts, Letters of Recommendations and Resume/Portfolio/Auditions/Writing Samples for students to secure their admission. It is important to consider that USC admits most students who rank in the top 10% of their class with standardized test scores ranking in the top 5%. The Thornton School of Music incorporates practical education with its music education in a realistic context. It enables students to acquire hands-on experience of music as a profession with Thorton’s collegiate partnership with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, LA Opera, LA Chamber of Orchestra as well as the GRAMMY Foundation.

Princeton University-Royal Academy of Music

The partnership between Princeton University and Royal College of Music located in London, UK, presents musically talented students with wonderful opportunities to benefit from the two acclaimed institutions. Their international exchange program allows students to gain first-hand experience of the rich cultural and artistic environment of London by spending a semester of their junior year at the Royal College of Music in Great Britain. The multitude of performance opportunities, reputable faculties of both organizations and the option to acquire a foreign education makes this program an experience of a lifetime.

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Vanderbilt University - Blair School of Music

Vanderbilt University, located in Nashville, is a prestigious university with an acceptance rate of 11%. Its music school, The Blair School of Music, offers excellent music education along with flexible joint degree programs, including 5-year Bachelor of Music and Master of Education and 3+2 Bachelor of Musical Arts and MBA Blair-to-Owen program. Additionally, many of Vanderbilt University students undertake music as second major or concentrations.

Vanderbilt University offers an extensive financial support initiative that does not only cover the cost of attendance and travel expenses (for eligible students) but also offers 3 types of Merit-Based Scholarships. Furthermore, Vanderbilt’s 4:1 faculty to student ratio allows students to build strong relationships with their instructors to assist them in enhancing their capabilities and intellect.

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