2. University of North Texas School of Music (Denton, TX)

Arguably the most important jazz program in the country, as well as one of the top classical performance schools worldwide, University of North Texas’ School of Music is an unbelievable value for both in-state and out-of-state students.

Home to the nation’s 1st jazz performance program, UNT’s rich musical background dates back over 128 years to 1890, when the university itself was founded.

Over 1,000 concerts are held each annually at the school. This impressive number is due in part to the enrollment; with over 1,500 students enrolled, UNT avails itself to the scale of the largest university music programs.

UNT is famously known for its One O’Clock Lab Band, the school’s top jazz band powered by the program’s very best students. This ensemble alone has been nominated for an impressive 7 Grammy awards.

UNT also has an amazing music library with over 350k volumes and an additional 900,000 recordings!


1. Queens College Aaron Copland School of Music (New York, NY)

Concert Hall at Queens – photo by Muhammad Ghouri via Wikimedia Commons

Finally, we have arrived at the #1 school on this, the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College.

I previously ranked this school one of the top hidden gem programs in the US, and I stand by this assertion for a few reasons.

First, the value is unbelievable. Many of the faculty at the school hold joint appointments at other top music schools in the northeast, including Juilliard, Manhattan School of Music, Bard, Mannes, etc.

In-state students pay a tuition around $6,500; out-of-state pays only $12,500 in tuition for 15 credit hours.

This level of value is unheard of…

That means that students in the program can get instruction from the exact same professors who are teaching at the more “name-brand” schools! …

At a fraction of the cost.

Secondly, the location just cannot be beat. The music capitals of the country are indisputably Los Angeles, Nashville, and, very importantly, New York City. Queens, being one of the five boroughs of New York City, presents itself as a very attractive option for the prospective music student.

But most importantly, let’s talk about the program itself.

Queens is a tremendous option for the student who wishes to dual major in not just music, but also an academic option.

For many students who wish to have an affordable education with the best of both worlds, this school represents an excellent opportunity to have a well-rounded undergraduate experience.

Although this next point isn’t the most scientific, it’s one that speaks volumes…

Googling the Aaron Copland School of Music, you can see myriads of students leaving exceptionally positive reviews of the school praising it for its affordability and excellence in education. You just don’t see this type of compassion for every school.

Clearly, Queens is much beloved by its own community, and represents perhaps the very best “bang-for-your-buck” value a music school can offer.

These are our pick for the 10 best “Bang-for-your-buck” music schools in the US. Any other great value, affordable music schools you know of? Let us know in the comments below.


Featured Image by Muhammad Ghouri via Wikimedia Commons