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The 10 Best Music Schools in Boston

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Music Schools in Boston: Few places, if any, truly merit the moniker of “college town” like Boston. Boston has established itself as the top city for higher education thanks to the presence of the University of Massachusetts, Harvard, MIT, and other prestigious institutions.

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Why Should you Study Music in Boston?

These esteemed institutions ought to offer excellent music programs, but they are rarely mentioned. Few people instantly think of the ensembles and performances that MIT and Harvard offer when they hear about them. Almost always, the school’s other accomplishments are more prominent in the public’s mind than its musical offerings.

Yet as this list demonstrates, Boston is a fantastic location for music students. All of the institutions on this list feature outstanding curricula, accomplished faculty, cutting-edge equipment, and extensive performing chances.

The range of options available to students in these programs includes everything from learning an instrument to music technology and production. These institutions will give students all they need to excel in their jobs, regardless of their hobbies.

Boston should be a top consideration if you’re hoping to pursue a career in music, whether as a producer, singer, or in any other capacity. This list demonstrates that Boston has music programs to suit every need and career aspiration.

So continue reading and get set to start your musical career.

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Best Music Schools in Boston

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

music schools in Boston
music schools in Boston

Most people immediately conjure up images of scientists and mathematicians working creatively in the STEM fields when they hear the name “MIT.” Yet MIT also has a fantastic music program, which is deserving of equal attention to its more well-known siblings.

Not only can students major in music, but they can also attend classes in the program regardless of their major if they are enrolled at MIT. The school’s distinguished music faculty, which includes the composer John Harbison, is available to students. For his work with eminent organizations like the Metropolitan Opera, Chicago Symphony, and Boston Symphony, Harbison has received both a MacArthur Genius Grant and a Pulitzer Prize.

The head of the music and theater arts department, Evan Ziporyn, has written music that has been performed by a variety of groups, including Roomful of Teeth, Bang on a Can, Kronos Quartet, and Yo-yo Ma’s Silkroad Ensemble. At a Carnegie Hall Zankel Creating Music composer’s portrait concert, his compositions were on display.

2. UMass Boston

music schools in Boston
music schools in Boston

Professors and students in the University of Massachusetts Boston’s music program research the crucial part that music plays in the human experience. The program exposes students to both Western and non-Western musical traditions as they create, listen to, respond to, and perform music from various musical traditions around the world.

The department’s music education program deserves special attention. The program prepares aspiring teachers for the challenges of the contemporary classroom with a thorough curriculum that covers all parts of the knowledge, skills, and pedagogical understanding necessary for the culturally appropriate teaching of music.

By participating in established ensembles like Chorus, Chamber Singers, Chamber Orchestra, and Jazz Ensemble, education students can hone their musical abilities in addition to obtaining a teaching license.

With such a variety of options, it stands to reason that UMass Boston is among the best music schools in the area.

3. Harvard University

It should come as no surprise that Harvard University’s music program would be included on this list given that it has a reputation as one of the most prestigious universities in the world. Yet the program doesn’t merely rely on the prestigious reputation of its parent university. With in-depth classes given by some of the best musicians and academics in the world, it lives up to its reputation.

Professor Carolyn Abbate, whose research on opera and philosophy has appeared in prestigious journals, is one of the latter. Artists include Jessica Bodner, a member of the Grammy-winning Parker Quartet, and professor Claire Chase, the first flutist to receive a MacArthur Fellowship.

Harvard offers concentrations in composition and musicology for people interested in graduate study in music. More importantly, everyone who is admitted to the PhD program is fully supported in their academic endeavors.

4. UMass Lowell

One of the greatest music production and recording programs in the country is offered at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell.

UMass Lowell offers one of the few sound recording technology programs in the country, giving students the hands-on experience and academic preparation they need to be successful producers.

The program combines traditional music studies with classes on the art and technology of recording, as well as courses in physics, electrical engineering, computer science, and advanced mathematics.

The major offers a strong internship program that places students in professional settings in addition to eight fully equipped studio lab spaces.

The emphasis on the music business at the institution also places internships at the forefront. This major gives students exposure in the school’s music performance curriculum as well as in-depth training in several facets of the constantly evolving music industry.

Students can concentrate on a range of business areas, including management, marketing, entrepreneurship, publishing and licensing, record and concert promotion, new media, music products, and arts administration, thanks to the courses that are taught by skilled industry professionals.

5. Northeastern University

Similar to the previous institution, Northeastern University’s music degree has a music industry track that concentrates on the industry and provides fantastic internship chances.

Students learn about songwriting, recording, production, technology, goods, label operations, promotion, marketing, management, financing, economics, legal challenges, licensing, and intellectual property through this program. The program infuses the artistic aspects of the music business with entrepreneurial ideas.

Northeastern University offers a variety of traditional performance degree options. The music program employs a cross-disciplinary approach and incorporates classes, theory, performance, and independent study.

Northeastern’s renowned faculty, which includes research scholars, accomplished musicians, and industry specialists, guides its students. In addition to sharing their knowledge and skills with students, these lecturers also offer workshops and networking opportunities.

6. Longy School of Music of Bard College

Long recognized as one of the best institutions for the arts in the country is Bard College in New York. Some of the top musicians in the northeast have studied at the Longy School of Music for almost a century. In 2012, the two organizations merged to form a school that emphasizes the liberal arts in musical education.

Via its cutting-edge curriculum, the school integrates musical brilliance with an emphasis on the abilities required of musicians. Students pick up skills in experience design, project production, and captivating audiences with extraordinary musical interactions. The curriculum enables students to seize the reins of their education, allowing them to explore, try new things, and pursue their own interests.

The college provides undergraduate degrees in a variety of subjects, including voice studies, composition, and brass. Graduate students can choose from programs like these as well as MAs in teacher education. Even more innovatively, the university offers an online MA in teacher education that enables students to attend classes from anywhere in the world.

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7. Boston Conservatory

Since 1867, the Boston Conservatory has been educating musicians. However in 2016, the conservatory and Berklee College of Music united to become a stronger organization with programs that prioritize jazz, musical theatre, contemporary music, and classical music.

The new school upholds the illustrious heritage of the two institutions while remaining exclusive and small. Although it is challenging to get accepted because of that choice, those who do receive particular treatment from the school’s outstanding teachers. Members of the prestigious ensembles in the city, such as the Boston Symphony Orchestra, mentor students as they develop their skill.

One of the greatest in the country, according to this new program. The school has received a number of honors recently and has topped rankings from publications like Inside Music Schools, PrepScholar Blog, and Careers in Music.

8. Boston University School of Music

The top courses at many of the institutions on this list are exclusively available to music majors. Nonetheless, Boston University’s School of Music offers intriguing music courses to students in other majors.

Survey courses include the entire history of Western music, from the Middle Ages to the present, while some courses concentrate on specific composers like Monteverdi, Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms. Students can study the philosophical and theological underpinnings of music in other studies, as well as the musical traditions of many cultures.

The Boston University Tanglewood Institute’s summer programs are another way for high school students to benefit from BU’s resources. Aged 14 to 20, musicians, vocalists, and composers can take part in two-week programs to enhance their craft. Students gain new skills while performing with other musicians in courses that are specifically designed for the instruments of participants.

9. Berklee College of Music

The colleges on this list have all received honors and acclaim. But Berklee College of Music, whose 123 graduates have received 310 Grammys, has more Grammy wins than any other institution.

This extraordinary achievement is a result of Berklee’s cutting-edge specialty. Students can pursue specialties in both established fields like composition and music education as well as emerging ones like music therapy and music business/management.

Students attend fundamental classes in arranging, conducting, ear training, harmony, tonal harmony and counterpoint, and music technology, regardless of the specialty they select. These foundational courses are also available to first-year students in a study abroad program at Berklee’s Valencia campus in Spain.

By providing students with a thorough understanding of both the art and business of music, Berklee is truly “a microcosm of the music industry.”

10. New England Conservatory of Music

The New England Conservatory of Music, one of the most prominent in the world and the oldest independent music conservatory in the country, was founded in 1867.

In addition to Boston Symphony Orchestra musicians, the school’s teachers and graduates also include members of the Order of the Arts and Letters, Rome Prize winners, Guggenheim Fellows, and MacArthur Fellows.

The current faculty at NEC carries on this illustrious heritage. One of the top jazz saxophonists in the world is known as Jerry Bergonzi. Bergonzi, who is renowned for his creativity and instrument skill, has performed at all the major jazz festivals and venues throughout the world, both with his own bands and with other jazz greats.

Jason Moran, a pianist, was appointed the Kennedy Center’s artistic adviser for jazz in 2011 and received a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship.

Moran has collaborated with musicians like Cassandra Wilson, Joe Lovano, Don Byron, Steve Coleman, Lee Konitz, Von Freeman, Ravi Coltrane, and Stefon Harris. He has also received commissions from the San Francisco Jazz Festival and Chamber Music America.

music schools in Boston
music schools in Boston

Frequently Asked Questions

What town is famous for its music?

Tennessee's Nashville. Nashville, sometimes known as "Music City USA," is the birthplace of country and western music in the US. The Grand Ole Opry, a country music and variety show that is still recorded live and is known for having discovered Dolly Parton, is the most well-known musical heritage in Nashville.

Is Boston University an Ivy League?

No. Eight universities in the Northeast make up the Ivy League system: Dartmouth, Yale, Brown, Cornell, Columbia, Princeton, Pennsylvania, and Harvard.

Is Boston a city of music?

The state's current music scene, which includes a variety of rock genres as well as classical, folk, and hip-hop music, is significantly influenced by the city of Boston.

For what is Boston renowned?

If you look a little closer, you'll discover a surprising wealth of things that make Boston one of the best cities in America—and the entire world. Boston is best known for its famous baked beans, Fenway Park, The Boston Marathon, and, of course, the bar from Cheers.


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