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Best Master’s in Music Programs in the US

Are you aspiring to attain greater heights in music? Getting a degree in master’s program will help you to do that because the degree provides several paths of specialization allowing you to dive deep into your area of interest in music.

Here, we’ll be discussing 10 of the best master’s programs in music, including their local ensemble affiliations, and everything else that makes them stand out from other master’s programs.

The U.S. is home to some of the best music programs in the world, especially master’s degrees. In general, students have three pathways in Ethnomusicology, Development, and Performance, tailored for musicians and musicologists.

The Master’s in Music program typically takes around two full-time years to complete. To graduate, Master’s in Music students must complete a musical thesis, such as a performers, producers, teachers and technical experts

These programs are perfect for those interested in becoming educators in music, music director or a music librarians. See Best Master’s in Education Programs

Degrees in master’s of music are available at both conservatories and universities. Which program you choose, and where, should depend on the kind of student life and environment you prefer as well as the specific way you want to explore music.

For example, if you want to learn alongside other aspiring performers and travel the country teaching your instrument, a master’s in music at a conservatory would be better suited to your goals.

The cost of attending is usually offset by teaching assistantships or stipends, some of which can be very generous. There are even some tuition-free doctorate programs.

Below is the list of the 10 best master’s  programs in music

  • Yale University School of Music (New Haven, CT)
  • Curtis Institute of Music (New York, NY)
  • Colburn School (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Juilliard School (New York, NY)
  • Eastman School of Music (Rochester, NY)
  • Northwestern University Bienen School of Music (Evanston, IL)
  • University of Southern California Thornton School of Music (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD)
  • Manhattan School of Music (New York, NY)
  • New England Conservatory of Music (Boston, MA)

Yale University School of Music (New Haven, CT)

Yale University School of Music is the only Ivy League school with a separate school of music. The School of Music graduate program is selective, tuition-free, and accepts only around 10% of applicants.

Yale offers a Master of Music and a Master of Music Arts degree, an extension of the Master of Music degree. See Yale University Acceptance Rate.

The program focuses on performance, and each instrument division has its own annual competitions, workshops, conferences, and festivals, as well as numerous opportunities for solo and group performances throughout the year.

Historic Woolsey Hall hosts orchestral performances and organ recitals—the school offers one of the only graduate programs in Organ.

The Yale University Collection of Musical Instruments provides invaluable resources for Early Music scholars and musicologists.

Proximity to Boston and New York allows students to perform and attend performances in both cities.

Colburn School (Los Angeles, CA)

Located in downtown Los Angeles, Colburn fits the model of a traditional conservatory in some respects. Begun by the University of Southern California as a way for schoolchildren in the community to take piano lessons, the school grew over the last 70 years into a full conservatory by the 21st century.

Master’s in Music students at Colburn study music theory, history, and composition while developing performance skills. Recently the program added a Studies in Conducting track, led by composer Esa-Pekka Salonen.

Anyone with an established Chamber Music group can apply as a group to the graduate program. The Graduate Chamber Ensemble in Residence allows pre-formed groups to pursue graduate degrees or diplomas while serving as a school ambassadors in the community.

Colburn stands as one of the few tuition-free conservatories in the United States. One of the youngest as well, its status increases each year, and it already consistently ranks in the top 30, alongside the giants.

Curtis Institute of Music (New York, NY)

Curtis Institute of Music provides a solid choice for vocalists interested in a rigorous Master’s program. A stellar reputation and exceptional faculty have drawn top students to Curtis for decades.

Curtis maintains a small student body—just enough musicians to make up a full symphony orchestra. Students perform over 200 public shows a year; performance anchors the program. Ensembles and soloists perform locally and tour around the world.

Curtis offers post-baccalaureate diploma programs in instrument performance, conducting, and composition. The Master of Music program track is in Opera only, and it requires extensive voice, acting, diction coaching, and liberal arts courses.

Curtis is a tuition-free conservatory. Students may take courses at the University of Pennsylvania under the schools’ reciprocal agreement.


That was all on the Best Master’s in Music Programs in the US. Our comment section is open to welcome your questions, do well to drop it there if you have.

Last Updated on September 24, 2023 by Admin

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