Best Music Schools In the World: Exclusive 2024 List

Dr. David Lee FishSCHOOLS

University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna is recognized as one of the best music schools in the world

If you’re a musician passionate about their art and want to further their skills, choosing the right music school can be daunting. It’s an essential step toward achieving your dream of becoming a successful musician. However, with so many choices, it can be challenging to determine which are the best music schools in the world.

To help you search, we’ve compiled a guide listing the best music schools globally. These schools are renowned for their outstanding contributions to the music industry and have produced some of the most successful musicians ever.

Whether you’re interested in classical music, jazz, or contemporary music, these schools offer world-class training and education to help you hone your skills and achieve your goals. So if you’re a musician looking to take your skills to the next level, consider applying to one of these top music schools worldwide.

Best Music Schools Around the World

The Juilliard School, New York City

The Juilliard School is located in the heart of New York City and is known for its rigorous and comprehensive training programs. Founded in 1905 by Dr. Frank Damrosch, the school offers a wide range of musical disciplines, including classical, jazz, and contemporary music. It also has strong programs in dance and drama, and many of its graduates have gone on to successful careers in these fields.

The Royal Academy of Music, London is recognized as one of the best music schools in the world
The Royal Academy of Music, London is recognized as one of the best music schools in the world.

Royal Academy of Music, London

The Royal Academy of Music is a highly reputable music school in London, England, founded in 1822. It offers comprehensive programs, including music theory, performance, and composition education. The faculty at the Academy is world-class, consisting of acclaimed musicians and scholars who are experts in their fields. Additionally, the Academy is home to an extensive collection of historical musical instruments used for studying and performing music from various periods.

Berklee College of Music, Boston

The Berklee College of Music is a private music college in Boston, Massachusetts, known for its emphasis on contemporary music. It provides a broad range of courses and degrees in various fields of music, including performance, composition, music production, music business, music therapy, and film scoring. Berklee is renowned for nurturing talents who influence popular culture and top the charts. Many successful musicians, including John Mayer, Quincy Jones, Esperanza Spalding, and others, have graduated from Berklee.

Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia

The Curtis Institute of Music is an institution that enjoys a prestigious reputation in classical music. Its selective admissions process ensures that only the most talented and promising musicians are admitted annually. With an annual enrollment of just 165 students, the Institute offers a personalized and nurturing environment where students can grow and thrive as musicians. One of the unique aspects of the Curtis Institute is its free-tuition policy, which allows for a truly merit-based admissions process. This policy has made the Curtis Institute an attractive option for aspiring musicians from all backgrounds and has helped to create a diverse and vibrant student body.

Royal College of Music, Stockholm

The Royal College of Music in Stockholm is one of the most prestigious conservatories in the world, providing students with a top-notch music education that prepares them for a successful career in the music industry. With an extensive range of programs that include classical music performance, composition, and conducting, the college caters to the diverse interests of its students. Moreover, the college offers state-of-the-art facilities to support the musical development of its students, including practice rooms, performance spaces, and recording studios.

University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna

Vienna is the “capital of classical music” and boasts a rich cultural history. One of the most prominent cultural institutions in the city is the University of Music and Performing Arts, which has offered comprehensive study opportunities in music, performing arts, and science since 1817. The institution has a strong reputation for its exceptional faculty, well-rounded curriculum, and a large network of successful alumni. Also, students can benefit from the university’s close ties to Vienna’s vibrant cultural scene, which offers numerous opportunities for performances, internships, and collaborations with local organizations. Overall, the University of Music and Performing Arts is a world-renowned institution that provides an excellent education and prepares students for successful careers in the arts.

Norwegian Academy of Music, Oslo

Established in 1883, the Norwegian Academy of Music is a leading music conservatory in Europe, renowned for its diverse programs suitable for students of all levels. Their faculty consists of some of the country’s most distinguished musicians and scholars, providing students with a rigorous and challenging education. The academy also focuses on research and innovation, with several research centers and institutes dedicated to exploring new music education and performance frontiers.

San Francisco Conservatory of Music

Founded in 1917, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music is recognized for high education, teaching, and research standards. The institution offers comprehensive courses catering to a wide spectrum of music genres, from classical to contemporary music. The conservatory’s location in the heart of San Francisco provides students with a vibrant and inspiring environment to explore their passion for music.

Eastman School of Music, New York

Established in 1921, the Eastman School of Music is a renowned professional music school based in Rochester, New York. It offers a comprehensive and holistic musical education, producing some of the world’s finest musicians. Eastman offers various degree programs, including undergraduate and graduate degrees in music performance, music education, composition, and jazz studies. The school has world-class facilities, including state-of-the-art performance venues, practice rooms, and recording studios.

University of Music and Performing Arts, Munich

The University of Music and Performing Arts Munich is a leading school in Germany known for its high academic standards. The university has earned a solid reputation with a diverse range of courses covering everything from opera to jazz. The university’s faculty comprises accomplished musicians and scholars dedicated to providing students with a comprehensive education that will prepare them for successful careers in the music industry.

Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, Bloomington

The Indiana University Jacobs School of Music is widely recognized as one of the finest music conservatories in the world. It offers over 200 degrees and programs in various musical fields, including performance, composition, music education, and more. The faculty at Jacobs is renowned for its excellence, featuring many acclaimed musicians, scholars, and teachers. Also, the school boasts extensive performance facilities, including concert halls, rehearsal spaces, and recording studios.

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland offers exceptional music, drama, dance, production, and film education. It attracts students from all over the world to immerse themselves in Glasgow’s vibrant cultural scene. The Conservatoire is recognized worldwide for its multi-disciplinary environment that encourages collaboration across the performing arts. This approach fosters a creative and inclusive community of artists, allowing students to participate in exciting projects and productions.


Ultimately, choosing the right music school is a critical decision that can significantly impact your career and shape your future. If you are passionate about music, selecting a music school that can offer you the best resources, faculty, and opportunities to achieve your aspirations is crucial.

Remember, the best music school for you is the one that aligns with your career goals and nurtures your talent. So, take the time to research and evaluate each school’s offerings, faculty, facilities, and opportunities. You can also speak with current students and alumni to get insights into the school’s culture and support system. With careful consideration, you can make an informed decision that will set you on a successful path.

FAQ About Best Music Schools

What makes these the best music schools in the world?

These top music schools have highly competitive acceptance rates and renowned faculty of accomplished musicians. They offer state-of-the-art facilities for musical practice and performance. Their alumni include award-winning musicians and music industry professionals who have achieved fame and critical acclaim.

What types of degrees do these music schools offer?

These globally top-ranked music schools generally offer undergraduate and graduate degrees like Bachelor of Music, Master of Music, and Doctor of Musical Arts. They also support various music specializations like instrumental or vocal performance, music technology, music business, music education, music theory, composition, and more.

Do I need to know how to play an instrument to get into these schools?

Yes, these top music schools typically require applicants to audition to be considered for admission to demonstrate exceptional skill and technique. So you will need extensive skills and talent to be accepted into most competitive global music institutions, especially for performance-focused programs.

What benefits come from attending a highly reputable music institution?

Graduates from prestigious music schools like these have access to a global alumni network that can provide career assistance. The school names also carry reputations and connections that offer graduates visibility and opportunities. Attending an elite music college vastly accelerates your music skills too.

Doctor Fish of College Music Major

Doctor Fish Says
Need help figuring out where’s the best place to pursue a music degree for you? I’ve helped college-bound musicians win acceptance at top music schools worldwide. The College Music Major team and I can help you, too. Here are the services we offer. Let’s connect!

About the Author

Dr. David Lee Fish

Dr. David Lee Fish, Ph.D. is the founder of College Music Major. A veteran figure in music and education whose extensive career spans decades, he's known for his unique approach to music and for sharing his passion with others. His expertise ranges from performance and songwriting to education and private consulting.