Top 10 Colleges for Piano and Music

best music colleges

If you are pursuing a career in piano, there are many colleges to choose from. Some, like Julliard, are focused primarily on classical training while others, like Berklee offer more contemporary choices. Whichever style you are deciding for, it’s important to find out what’s out there and do your research before making any big decisions. A great thing would be to reach out to alumni from any universities you are considering and get their opinions about the experience they had. As musicians, we love to share our knowledge and experience with those starting out to help in any way possible. the list below is just a small sample of some of the choices out there. Please comment below and suggest others.

Before we look at a few schools, I will say this. At the end of the day, although it is a great thing if you can go to a top school, the most important thing in a musicians career is how much passion and love they put into their music. If you find a great local college that is affordable, there is nothing wrong with that. A great school doesn’t guarantee work, but a hard working musician will always find their way.


It is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading music schools, with some of the most prestigious arts programs. Since its opening in 1905, the Juilliard School has earned a national reputation for educational excellence in the performing arts, including music. Admission is highly competitive and if you are considering this amazing institution, you better make sure to be practicing lots and lots. You will be expected some advanced pieces like Chopin Etudes and Beethoven Sonatas. At Juilliard, individuals can pursue a Bachelor of Music (B.M.), a Master of Music (M.M.), a special combined B.M./M.M. or a Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.), and undergraduate diploma programs and graduate diplomas are also available for exceptional music students. Some of the specializations offered at this top music college include orchestral instruments, jazz studies, harpsichord, piano, guitar, organ and voice.

Berklee College of Music

The Berklee College of Music in Boston has a focus on training musicians in contemporary music. You can expect majors in songwriting, performance and music therapy among others. The campus is absolutely stunning and I have had the pleasure of visiting a few times and the setting alone is enough to get you inspired to write some great songs. If you are thinking about scoring films, producing albums and playing a live career, this is one college you should definitely check out.

Manhattan School of Music

Situated in the heart of New York City, the Manhattan School of Music has been offering music education since 1917, serving approximately 800 students every year. Several levels of education are offered, from pre-college-age students taking weekend courses to students pursuing a doctoral degree in music. Undergraduates may major in jazz and classical programs, and students take courses in music theory, history and humanities courses, in addition to performances and competitions. Graduate students pursuing the Master of Music (M.M.) degree have the option of focusing their studies in the Orchestral Performance Program, while those interested in music education can pursue a Master of Arts (M.A.) in that field in cooperation with the Teachers College at Columbia University. A Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.) is also offered.

Name of School Distinction Location

Berklee College of Music

First music school to teach jazz as part of its curriculum in the U.S.

Boston, MA

Bucknell University

The scholarships offered to music majors

Lewisburg, PA

DePauw University

The DePauw opera program

Greencastle, IN

Furman University

The Maxwell Music Library

Greenville, SC

The Juilliard School

The Julliard Manuscript Collection

New York, NY

Manhattan School of Music

The Center for Music Entrepreneurship’s programs, projects and internships

New York, NY

Oberlin College and Conservatory

Oldest music conservatory in the United States

Oberlin, OH

University of Texas at Austin

The Center for American Music’s relationship with the city of Austin, considered to be the ‘live music capital of the world’

Austin, TX

Vanderbilt University

Eight concert series available every year

Nashville, TN

Yale University

International programs in music, including the Musicathlon

New Haven, CT