If you dream of turning your love of music into a profitable career, you may be considering attending music school. While the general public often considers musical ability to be a natural talent, serious musicians know that perfecting their craft takes years of study.
Music schools can be either departments at a traditional four-year college or university or part of a specialized performing arts conservatory. Both options offer advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to consider your career goals carefully as you are deciding what training program is right for you.
Majoring in music at a traditional public or private college or university provides you with a solid background in music theory and performance. You can also enhance your resume by taking classes in business, finance, education, arts management, or videography. This will help you appear to be a well-rounded candidate when you are interviewing for your first job after graduation. In addition, having the opportunity to complete a double major may be useful if your family and friends are not supportive of your goal to start a career in the music industry.
About Music Schools
- What Makes A Good Music Student
- Music School Accreditation
- Rankings Of Music Schools
- Music School Admission
- Music Associations
Getting Into Music School
Paying for Music School
Music School Degrees
Finding a Job
Studying at a performing arts conservatory provides an opportunity to immerse yourself fully in the world of music, but this is a high-pressure environment that is not right for everyone. The Juilliard School, part of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City, is one of the most prestigious performing arts conservatories in the world. The school has about 800 students who study music, drama, or dance. Admission is highly competitive; only about 8% of students who apply each year are accepted. Singer Barry Manilow, cellist Yo Yo Ma, and trumpeter Wynton Marsalis are among some of the noted people in the music industry who attended Julliard.
Whether you want to major in music at a traditional college or university or attend a performing arts conservatory, you should begin preparing for your career as soon as possible. Private lessons are key for people who aspire to become professional musicians, as it is difficult to obtain the skills you need by performing in a high school band or choir. An experienced tutor can also help you learn fundamentals such as how to identify by ear the degrees of a scale being played or sing back pitches played within and outside your natural vocal range.
Financial aid is available for students who are interested in attending music school. Loans and grants are typically based on financial need, while scholarships are awarded on the basis of musical ability. Some scholarships also come with the chance to perform in a special concert or to study with a noted professor – experiences that can end up being even more valuable than the financial assistance itself.
Choosing a Music School
Choosing a music school is a difficult task for any student. In addition to considering factors such as the school’s reputation and curriculum, you must also decide if the school offers an environment that will help you improve your craft. The creative process is different for everyone, so there is no “one size fits all” approach to selecting the best music school.
Music programs at public or private colleges and universities are the most common option for people who wish to study music. The University of California, Berkeley Department of Music is one of the top ranked music schools of this type. Students have opportunities to study music theory and to perform for others. They can work with experienced professors in the field of music, while enriching their education by connecting with scholars in the social sciences, computer sciences, and beyond. This provides a well-rounded education that will position you take full advantage of all available job opportunities after you graduate, including positions as a music teacher, music therapist, or performing arts director.
Studying music at a performing arts conservatory offers a chance to fully immerse yourself in the task of improving your craft. These schools are very expensive and admission is highly competitive, however. The Julliard School, one of the world’s most prestigious performing arts conservatories, admits less than 10% of all applicants. Tuition, fees, room, and board can run in excess of $50,000 per year. Noted people in the music industry who attended Julliard include singer Barry Manilow, cellist Yo Yo Ma, and trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, so this is certainly a viable way for talented young people to begin their careers if they are committed to making the most of the demanding conservatory experience.
Types of Music School
If you’re interested in turning your passion for music into a career, you’ll need to choose whether you want to study music as part of your overall postsecondary education or whether you want to make music the sole focus of your college experience. There are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches, so it is important to weigh your options carefully.
The most common approach to studying music is to take classes at as a music major at a four-year college or university. The primarily advantage of this approach is that you’ll be assured of a well-rounded education. You’ll still need to take all the standard general education classes in addition to your specialized music school courses. You will also have the opportunity to complete a double major if you choose, which can significantly enhance your employment prospects after graduation. For example, double majoring in music and marketing or business administration would make you an attractive candidate for a job as the communications coordinator for a non-profit jazz festival.
While there are many benefits to studying music at a four-year college or university, attending a specialized performing arts academy may be the right choice for some students. A specialized music school lets you focus exclusively on developing your natural gifts and you’ll be surrounded by some of the most talented professional musicians in the country. However, admission to these types of schools is extremely competitive; it is common for only 5-10% of applicants to be admitted in any given year. Cost is also a factor to consider; many performing arts academies have exceptionally high tuition and are located in major cities that have an above-average cost of living. Even with financial aid, it is likely that you will pay more to attend a specialized music school.