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The harmony produced when theory meets practice

So, you’re thinking about studying music at higher education level. Perhaps your passion is performance, and you want to learn what it takes to grace the world stage from the greats. Perhaps teaching is more your calling, and you seek the qualifications needed to pass on your passion to the next generation of budding musicians. Perhaps you’re excited by the idea of conducting academic research into music and why it’s so timelessly important to the human race, but you need the facilities and coaching to be able to do this. Perhaps you hope to compose original music for films or games. Perhaps you recognise the therapeutic value of music and intend to study it as part of a bigger goal in a caring or medical profession. Or perhaps, quite simply, music is your passion – and you can imagine nothing more wonderful than devoting your college years to being completely immersed within it.

Perhaps you’re savvy enough to realise what countless employers already understand: that the self-discipline, dedication and self-expression required to successfully complete a music degree instils transferable skills that place music graduates among the most employable of the arts.

Regardless of the motivation behind your decision, it’s important that you choose a program and a school that’s right for you and your ambitions. Whether you choose to pursue music as an undergraduate degree, a graduate program, or as a performance certificate; you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to where to start.

The number of music schools in the United States is almost as broad as the amount of career options a music degree opens up – and as we’ve touched on above, options are pretty darn broad! To help you in your research, we’ve written a short profile on five such schools, breaking down the different program options and performance opportunities available at each. If this is music to your ears, you really should read on…

DEPARTMENT OF MUSIC, UNIVERSITY OF CONNECTICUT

The University of Connecticut (UConn) offers an impressively broad range of programs  for prospective students with an interest in music. Regardless of your career goals or specific expertise, you’re certain to find a course of study that suits you here at UConn. With three Bachelor of Arts provisions, three Bachelor of Music programs, four Master’s programs, three Doctoral programs and a one-year performer’s certificate on offer, it really is worth taking the time to research all available options.

Beyond the academic programs, UConn offers many routes for experiential learning — from the numerous ensembles and orchestras that students can take part in to the range of music-based community and outreach programs organised throughout the department. In a field as competitive as music, a brimming résumé is a must — and UConn offers every chance to help make yours stand out.

Please visit UConn’s website to learn more — the institution has a page dedicated to international students, available here.

UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO, FACULTY OF MUSIC

The University of Toronto (UofT) also provides a wide range of programs, including diplomas, certificates, Bachelors, Masters and PhDs; with focuses on either academia or performance depending on your preference.

With state-of-the-art performance facilities, including the famous on-campus MacMillan Theatre, this is a great place to be for anyone hoping to hone their performance skills. If it’s more the research side of music that catches your interest, UofT is at the cutting-edge of musical research and has a number of centers dedicated to this. The Music and Health Research Collaboratory (MAHRC) for example, examines the evidence behind the referenced links between music and good physical/mental health.

If you like what you hear, why not combine research and pleasure by going along to one of the many UofT hosted concerts and events to see the campus and facilities first-hand?

SCHOOL OF MUSIC, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

Among the numerous programs and degrees offered by University of Florida (UofF) are some unique and exciting options for musicians intent on pursuing a less traditional career. For example, the Music for Pre-Health Professionals program equips undergraduate students with the expertise needed to incorporate music into their eventual medical practice.

For those who are passionate about music but not in a position to devote the intense contact hours that traditional performance degrees demand, there’s also the option of an online Masters in music education. For those who are keen to go down the traditional route of performance, UofF has some impressive alumni records, with former students performing on Broadway and at the Metropolitan Opera.

Beyond the books and the practice rooms, UofF offers students the chance to gain real-life experience in the musical field; from the chance to play as part of an orchestra or ensemble, to the chance to undertake a semester overseas.

BUTLER SCHOOL OF MUSIC, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN

Butler offers a range of music courses at both an undergraduate and graduate level, encompassing numerous fields of study. The facilities at Butler are fantastic; from the 150 practice rooms to the 600 performance opportunities per annum on five separate on-campus performance venues; to the 1,000+ instruments available to hire for students – this really is a world of opportunity for the aspiring performer.

Butler is an exciting and evolving campus; outlining its mission is a desire to embrace traditional music, as well as to respond to the ever-changing demands of the music business. With an exciting line up of concerts and events hosted on-campus, it’s difficult to imagine being bored at Butler! The school’s range of community and outreach projects ensures that students have the chance to not only gain from their time on-campus, but also to give back.

MEAD WITTER SCHOOL OF MUSIC, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-MADISON

Mead Witter offers both undergraduate and graduate music degrees across a range of disciplines. Students have the opportunity to take part in ensembles and orchestras, as well as outreach programs where one can travel and teach music in schools and institutions. A full calendar of concerts, events and masterclasses on-campus throughout the year means that one of the main challenges you might face while at Mead Witter is when to actually find time to study!

Joking aside, it would appear that Mead Witter as a school has very good insight into the challenges a student might face. Understanding the unique health problems that often affect musicians, such as vocal strain and postural issues, Mead Witter have a dedicated and customised health service for performing artists. There’s also additional support available on-campus for any other difficulties you may be facing during study; from financial aid to counselling.

Like what you hear? Why not book a campus tour and learn more? Rumour has it there are onsite ice-cream making facilities!

*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International

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