Top music SCHOOLS IN U.S.

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music Degrees

Seeking a music degree is an ideal option for anyone who is passionate about musical performance, history and theory. In order to succeed, the music major must demonstrate considerable dedication. Along the way, they learn to work successfully as part of a team and become adept at managing projects as they consistently hone their skills for performances. Earning a music degree is a wonderful way to prepare for a career as a performer or for working in the industry in another capacity. Of course, some people who earn a music degree decide not to pursue a career within the industry. The credentials they earn are sufficient to qualify them for any job that has a college degree as a prerequisite. For graduates from any of these degree programs, the sky truly is the limit.

Most people who choose a music major have a favored instrument. Whether it is the cello, piano, voice or something else entirely, they have probably already spent years developing their skills. Pursuing a music degree allows these individuals to further their talent and gain proficiency both as a technician and an artist. Through learning at the top music schools in the US, students come into contact with some of the modern era's foremost teachers and performers. They benefit from a rigorous academic setting in which they are encouraged to explore not only music, but also several other subjects so they will be adequately prepared to enter the working world or continue on with a further degree.

The best music colleges are accredited by the prestigious National Association of Schools of Music, or NASM. This organization is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as the authoritative body for evaluating the credentials of music education institutions across the country. Each accredited college is among the best music schools in the US, and provides a thorough, worthwhile educational experience. Music school rankings are at least partially based on whether or not a school has been accredited by the NASM. Prospective students should also look for accreditation by regional accrediting bodies that review the general education credentials of public and private colleges.

Associate of Arts in Music

This two year degree is most often offered at community colleges. Frequently, credits earned in pursuit of an associate degree may be transferred to a four year institution. This is a popular alternative for students who are put off by the expense of attending a university for a full four years. Nonetheless, a properly accredited associate degree program enables students to earn general education credits while also exploring topics related to the music major. Prerequisites for entering an associate degree program are few. Typically, a high school diploma or GED is all that is required, but most instructors will expect students who are enrolled in the music program to demonstrate good depth of knowledge and proficiency immediately. Auditions are rarely required.

In addition to completing general education requirements, students will also study subjects like:

  • Music Theory

  • Ear Training

  • Music Notation

  • Private Instrument Lessons

  • Sight Singing

  • Music Literature

  • Performance Ensemble

Most people who complete the associate degree transfer the credits to a four year school instead of going to work. However, someone holding this degree may be qualified to informally teach young students.

Bachelor of Arts in Music

During four years of full time study, students in a bachelor degree program have many opportunities to add finesse to their performance style and increase their musical knowledge. Many colleges and universities require that music majors choose an area of specialization. These concentrations may include performance, composition or a focus on a particular instrument or group of instruments like brass or woodwinds.

At the bachelor degree level, the college admissions process becomes decidedly more competitive. All of the usual requirements, like a high school diploma and an application, are still necessary, but prospective students should be prepared for auditions and interviews. Some of the top music schools in the US require applicants to submit a video or DVD of a recent performance along with other application materials. Later, they may be called to a live audition before an admission decision is reached. Because of the often intensive nature of these music degree programs, students will need to demonstrate tremendous skill and depth of knowledge prior to being admitted.

Students with a music major must still fulfill a number of general education requirements while also studying subjects like:

  • Music History

  • Aural Training

  • Music Theory

  • Keyboard Skills

  • Musicianship

  • Music Pedagogy

In addition to these classes, students can also expect intensive one-on-one training with faculty in their instrument of choice. Some degree programs will also require students to complete at least an introduction to an additional instrument. For instance, a voice major might also take piano or violin classes. Moreover, the best music schools in the US also require students to perform throughout the pursuit of a degree.

Students who earn a bachelor degree may become a:

  • Musician or vocalist

  • Teacher

  • Composer

  • Music Marketer

  • Producer

  • Arranger

  • Music Agent

Masters of Music

With an additional two years of study, students can complete a graduate degree. General education requirements are typically not necessary for these degrees, leaving students to focus solely on their major. Students may choose from among a wide variety of disciplines at the graduate level. They may decide to continue to study the instrument of their choice or turn to conducting, composition, or music education instead. Depending upon the degree program selected, the student may be required to complete either a recital or a research project before satisfying all elements of the degree.

Curriculum for these graduate degrees varies widely. Students can expect to continue with intensive study of their chosen instrument. Other courses might include:

  • Composition Symposium

  • Choral Conducting

  • Orchestral Conducting

  • Music Bibliography

  • Music History

  • Opera Production