Unlike many college courses right across the disciplines, music students will have been preparing for their next step into higher education for many years.
Most musicians start their musical journey at a very young age – perhaps not as young as Ryu Goto who was encouraged to pick up his parents’ chosen instrument, the violin, at aged three – but many music freshmen have been honing their craft since well before their teens.
Such is the commitment shown to their instrument(s) or craft (in the case of the composer or musicologist), that the choice of college is pivotal. After all, there are years and years of lessons, practice, ensemble rehearsals and study which have gone into the would-be music graduate, and all that work shouldn’t be compromised by a rushed choice of academic institution.
The students who pursue music at college already hold plans for the future. While some have set their minds on becoming music educators, the pianist might be aiming for a solo career; others want to join a world-class ensemble, jazz band, chamber choir, world-touring orchestra – the whole globe is open to almost infinite possibilities.
Of course, a music degree opens doors to a huge range of possible futures – and these aren’t necessarily limited to music. Graduates of the discipline are highly sought due to their wide-ranging creative skills and enquiring minds, which can be applied to a variety of fields that will utilize their unique expertise.
The very best music graduates can, and do, go on to tour the world, headlining the household-name concert venues. But if any talented musician is to achieve their dreams, the choice of music school must be made with the development of their personal talent and personality in mind.
Some schools specialize in contemporary classical music, composition, and musicology. Others, by dint of their staff’s specializations, have particular knowledge regarding forms of early music. Some offer a broad swathe of skills; from period baroque instruments through to contemporary electronic sound treatments, and psychoacoustic research.
By studying in the US, students-to-be will soon form part of the melting pot that is American society. The diversity of the country, paired with its status for providing the highest level of academic standards in the world, form a combination which produces unforgettable formative experiences.
From lively street festival scenes to a local music culture that spills through every doorway, students should choose the US music school and location that helps them grow into the creative individual they’ve been working towards for so long.
The diverse city of Houston attracts talented students from equally diverse roots.
Music alumni from the college have gone on to great things – just one year after graduation from the Moores School of Music, class of ’16 graduate, Kenneth Broberg won the silver medal in the 2017 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.
In-state tuition rates can be applied to talented individuals who receive a $1,000 (excluding any amount below $1,000) merit-based scholarship, with the financial aid being offered to gifted students every year.
The Moores School boasts an enviable presence in the local community, with its own dedicated opera house putting on four or five productions each year, from the Magic Flute to Pulitzer prize-winning plays.
Established in 1997, the facility was designed on an amalgam of old-style European aesthetics coupled with cutting-edge acoustic technology.
The Moores School offers programs leading to Bachelor and Master of Music degrees, which can lead to Doctoral study for those students wishing to go the extra mile. There’s also a non-degree post-baccalaureate Certificate in Music Performance on offer.
The Department of Music at the University of Rochester prides itself on its eclecticism and inclusive attitude towards the liberal arts. Music students are exposed not only to Western music in its myriad forms, but to the music of different cultures; contemporary and traditional.
The department is served by internationally-recognized proponents in their fields, from musical theater, African ethnomusicology, and jazz, to women composers from Hildegard of Bingen to Judith Weir.
There is a wide range of ensembles on offer, ranging from West African drumming to full symphony orchestra, plus many vocal groups, some informal, some being academically accredited.
Soloists have the chance to compete as a guest soloist in a public concerto performance with either the University of Rochester Symphony Orchestra, or its Chamber Orchestra, with the winner taking part in a performance in the spring semester.
The music department maintains close ties with the local Eastman School to help increase the range of musical experiences and courses available to students in the Arts, Sciences & Engineering: ensuring that alumni emerge with a fully rounded education.
At the Peabody Institute, students get instruction and guidance from artists and teachers, among them Grammy and Pulitzer prize winners, and Guggenheim fellows, one-on-one where necessary and in groups/ensembles.
Graduates from Peabody make the news on a regular basis, whether, for instance in the field of composition, in the case of faculty artist Judah Adashi’s works being performed and recorded, or Anastasia Pike (class of ’07), a former student of Jeanne Chalifoux, performing at a concert recently with world-class soprano Renée Fleming.
But while the school prides itself on its musical (and academic) excellence, potential students with an interest in outreach programs will be interested to learn that the Conservatory works a great deal with the local community, taking live music to community organizations, hospices, and schools. The Creative Leadership Immersion Class, for instance, involves Conservatory students working with Baltimore City schools’ students to create and perform an original composition during Peabody’s Spring Break.
Whatever your challenge and specialization, Johns Hopkins’s Department of Music will be sure to bring out your individual talent and nourish the creative spark.
Located in Ann Arbor, this School of Music is part of the highly prestigious University of Michigan, and students can take courses from a wide range of subjects right across the syllabus.
Graduates have gone on to pursue graduate-level study at institutions like the Juilliard, Harvard, NYU and the University of London, UK.
Alumni have won both domestic (Jeanette Fang won the gold medal in the professional division & the President’s Medal at the Seattle International Piano Competition recently) and international accolades (Elizabeth McLain was awarded a prestigious Lucy Fellowship for research in France during the 2014-2015 academic year).
The school actively promotes the performance skills of students, presenting more than 450 concerts, recitals, and staged performances in Ann Arbor, and wider afield.
Various ensembles specialize in early music, electronic music, contemporary classical music, jazz and improvisation, and many eclectic styles of music including Klezmer, mariachi, Japanese music, and Javanese gamelan.
Students with eclectic tastes or highly-focused career targets will find that study in Michigan enables them to enjoy their time spent in study, practice, performance, and research.
The School of Music at this famous Illinois institution offers a small, yet highly-selective music program within a largescale university. There are options in most specializations, including performance, composition, teaching, research, and music & audio technology.
There are around 700 music majors at the school, taught by a dedicated team of around 80 full-time members of staff.
Public performances – in which the student body is actively encouraged to take part – centers around the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts . The Center houses five indoor stages, including Foellinger Great Hall, which is known as one of the world’s premier acoustic environments where both modern and ancient music (and performance art pieces) are performed.
Courses on offer include Bachelor-level degrees in Arts (BA) and Music (BM) as well as, for the didactically-minded, a Bachelor in Music Education.
As well as electronic music classes available to those courses, the school also offers a Bachelor of Science degree (BS) comprising of a highly-directed mix of music and computer science. Electronic composition techniques are taught, in addition to modern staples such as acoustic theory and technique. Students are also schooled in system architecture, programming languages, and database structures – with digital knowledge feeding the creative side of the course’s students.
*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International