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10 Best Music Education Schools in the US

Best Music Education Schools in the US: Everyone is aware that one of the most fulfilling professions is teaching. The same is true for musicians, who can support themselves by playing the instruments they enjoy.

Both of those professions are combined through music education, offering musicians the possibility to share their passion for music with both young children and teenagers.

Youth ensemble directors can be trained by music education programs to teach music in K–12 classrooms. Students in music education can pursue graduate studies as well, where they will conduct research and instruct college-level courses in the subject.

Today, we examine ten of the nation’s top music education initiatives.

Teachers in these programs must not only be accomplished musicians but also be familiar with the basics of education, including classroom management, how to deal with different learning styles, and other topics.

The colleges on this list all have strong undergraduate music programs with ensembles and performing opportunities for their students (schools that only provide master’s degrees are not included on the list).

Also, they offer students teaching certifications for their native states (which are almost always transferable to other states in the U.S.). The placement rates at all of the colleges on this list are actually close to or at 100%.

Continue reading if you’re prepared to start instructing kids in music appreciation and playing.

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Best Music Education Schools in the US

1. UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music (Los Angeles, CA)

Best Music Education Schools in the US
Best Music Education Schools in the US

Students in the music education department at UCLA’s Herb Alpert School of Music learn how to be creative and socially conscious music educators. Students receive a variety of musical knowledge, getting exposed to general music, instrumental music, and choral/vocal music, in addition to the pedagogical skills necessary for every teacher.

Pupils gain from the knowledge of the creative staff of the institution, which includes professor Lily Chen-Hafteck. The Chancellor’s Committee on the Arts recently awarded Professor Chen-Hafteck a $150,000 grant to develop pertinent arts research projects that exhibit creativity and support the university’s greater commitments to sustainability, equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Professor Frank Heuser spent many years teaching instrumental music in schools all over Los Angeles and Orange Counties. He also served as East Los Angeles College’s instrumental music director and taught music education courses at California State University, Los Angeles and Chapman College.

2. Hartford School of Music at the University of Hartford (Hartford, CT)

Best Music Education Schools in the US
Best Music Education Schools in the US

The Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford has one of the most extensive music education programs in the country. It is a hybrid conservatory and educational program. In addition to training potential teachers in general music, choral music, wind and string instrumental pedagogy, the curriculum also introduces them to Kodály, Suzuki, and Orff approaches.

Students can work with initiatives from throughout the University of Hartford thanks to the program. Children in the lower elementary grades are taught by music education majors at the U of Hartford Magnet School, offering them practical experience.

Students in music education are able to instruct high school band and chorus as well as upper elementary general music classes thanks to a collaboration with Simsbury Public Schools.

The course equips students with all of the necessary skills to instruct a range of students across the US.

3. St. Olaf College (Northfield, MN)

The music and education departments collaborate on St. Olaf College’s music education program in Minnesota. Students majoring in music education also receive specialized instruction and study pedagogical studies and literature courses.

The excellent faculty’s expertise is passed on to the students. In addition to leading the Augsburg College Cedar Singers Men’s Chorus, visiting assistant professor Dale Kruse also instructs choral music at Armstrong High School and Wayzata High School, passing on all of his knowledge to the students.

Being the Minnesota Opera’s music director and a frequent performer with various groups, Kruse has a wealth of experience with the impact that music can have.

Dana Maeda, a guest educator, plays with the Rochester Orchestra and founded the WindWorks Woodwind Quintet. She also brings to St. Olaf a knowledge of music performance and instruction thanks to her 14 years of experience instructing high school band.

4. University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre, and Dance (Ann Arbor, MI)

The Department of Music Education at the University of Michigan has trained music educators at every level of teaching during the course of its sixty-year history.

The department provides prospective music educators with the personnel and resources they need to develop a passion and appreciation for music in young people.

With a placement rate of 100%, the University of Michigan sends its alumni to prominent music markets around the country, including New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Graduates can find employment as instructors, directors of youth orchestras, and more.

Students interested in music education at Michigan have a variety of options. Students can choose to specialize in instrumental music education, choral music education, or even the recently added popular music minor.

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5. Vanderbilt University Blair School of Music (Nashville, TN)

Students in Vanderbilt University’s music education program receive conservatory-level training with a liberal arts emphasis. Future musicians develop into top-notch instructors as well as experts in their instruments.

The latter is covered as part of Blair School of Music’s music curriculum. There, they receive instruction from accomplished musicians and take part in recitals and lessons, as well as other performing possibilities available to all music students.

One of the best classical music ensembles in the country, the Nashville Symphony, features many Blair faculty members.

Via practice assignments and student teaching positions, students get real-world experience in collaboration with the Peabody School of Education. Peabody offers students the chance to apply for scholarships as well as a state teaching certificate.

Students receive the best possible level of musical and educational teaching thanks to this dual strategy. They develop into instrument masters and superb teachers who are prepared to enter any school.

6. Indiana University Jacobs School of Music (Bloomington, IN)

At the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, prospective teachers have a choice between choral, general, band, or orchestra as their area of specialization.

Students will have numerous opportunities to perform in front of audiences in IU’s numerous performance venues, regardless of the subject they choose. Every student joins one of the school’s twenty bands, choirs, orchestras, or other ensembles for at least one performance each semester.

Students are taught by a staff of accomplished lecturers and artists, each a pro in their field. Professor Brent Gault not only serves as the department’s chair but has also instructed early childhood music classes across the nation. Professor Gault has also published in a number of early education journals and delivered presentations at numerous professional conferences.

Brenda Brenner, an associate professor, performs chamber music with ensembles all around the country. She also oversees the Fairview Project, which offers violin instruction to first- and second-graders in underprivileged schools.

7. Florida State University School of Music (Tallahassee, FL)

Few universities’ music instruction programs have as much diversity in emphasis as Florida State University. FSU provides concentrations in choral conducting, instrumental conducting, music therapy, and other areas because it adheres to the philosophy that learning an instrument well is essential to music education.

Students can get ready to teach chorus, orchestra, and band in middle and high schools as well as primary and general music thanks to this program. Classes on topics ranging from conducting and ear training to teaching strategies and classroom management give them experience.

In addition, FSU has a summer-only program that allows music educators to complete a standard master’s degree while still working as teachers. Three summers of ten or twelve-hour coursework are completed by program participants, and they are followed by a term at the FSU Study Centre in London, England.

8. University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (Cincinnati, OH)

The University of Cincinnati, one of the top conservatory institutions in the country, has a long history of training music educators for use throughout all of Ohio and beyond.

One of the best in the nation at placing graduates into the workforce is CCM’s music education department. After graduation, there is a 100% employment rate for graduates looking for teaching positions in the field of music education.

Cincinnati’s music education program has a long and illustrious history. In Cincinnati, programs to train musicians to become teachers began in the early 20th century. Many educators today can trace their pedagogical roots to the early CCM program years.

Cincinnati’s music education program offers a master’s degree in addition to an undergraduate one. For their Master’s degree, students can either take courses on campus or during the summer. For enrolled students, graduate assistantships are available.

9. UT Austin Butler School of Music (Austin, TX)

The degree’s name makes it apparent that the University of Texas at Austin Butler School of Music takes a distinctive approach to music instruction. Their curriculum on music and human learning places an emphasis on the connection between musical expression and human growth.

The program’s fundamental tenet is the value of outstanding musicianship. The curriculum for music and human learning offers students many of opportunities to hone their craft in this regard. Like every other member of the school of music, students take part in all of the major performing ensembles. They also work with artist faculty.

Butler only accepts students into its very elite upper-division program who can show superior knowledge and abilities in performance on a main instrument or voice, conducting, music theory, music history, and keyboard. The program then expands on this understanding by providing students with in-depth teacher preparation that includes practical teaching experience in nearby public schools.

10. Ithaca College School of Music (Ithaca, NY)

The Ithaca College School of Music’s music education department is one of the top in the world for a variety of factors. The fact that they value education so much that they employ ten full-time music education faculty members and numerous part-time faculty members may be the most revealing.

These teachers all work in public school music programs and are both educators and practitioners who stay up to date on modern best practices.

Ithaca also offers a variety of resources to help students studying music education, such as the Carl and Helene Wickstrom Music Education Center, which has a number of workspaces and classrooms for both students and professors.

The center’s music education resource room contains a large selection of materials for music majors, including one of the nation’s most comprehensive educational collections of band, choral, jazz, and string method books as well as general music basal series.

Best Music Education Schools in the US
Best Music Education Schools in the US

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I study music in America?

Students have the opportunity to extend their education at the majority of the best music institutions in the US. After receiving your undergraduate degree, you can pursue a Master of Music (MM), Master of Education (MME), or Master of Arts (MA) degree.

What level of education in music is highest?

Doctor of Musical Arts.
The ultimate qualification is a doctorate in music. This degree is typically academic in nature and focuses on subjects like musicology, music theory, and music history. A doctorate in music is a hard and challenging degree that typically requires five to seven years to finish, just like other Ph. Ds.

What value does a music degree have?

A music degree is beneficial, but it's not necessarily necessary. You don't need a degree to have a successful career in music, and this is true especially for occupations that emphasize performing. Those with music degrees are more likely to find employment in public schools, orchestras, universities, and music festivals.

Are music schools attended by all musicians?

According to many musicians, attending school is unnecessary. It's risky that they lack the drive to go college or music school. There are some things that can be learnt in school, even if musicians may have abilities that were developed outside of the classroom.



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