New York City has a lot going for it when it comes to studying music.
Opportunities are endless, paid gigs are abundant, accomplished musicians are available for networking, and most importantly, a number of excellent college music programs exist in New York City.
NYC is unlike any other music culture I have ever seen; you can find literally anything here. Uptown has the classical mainstays – the New York Philharmonic, Metropolitan Opera, and more.
Downtown has all the jazz clubs, rock venues; any subgenre you could possibly be interested in has representation in New York City, be it electronic, country, hip-hop, or avant-garde contemporary.
What is especially interesting about attending music school in New York City is the faculty at these schools. These are professors who are not only excellent teachers, they are dedicated professionals themselves who are members of the New York City music community.
Take Juilliard for instance. If you study an orchestral instrument, chances are your teacher performs in the New York Philharmonic or has a notable soloist career.
Or, NYU Tisch’s Clive Davis Recorded Music program. Their faculty are among the top in contemporary popular music today.
With such a diversity of programs and musicians, it is easy to see why New York City is such a haven for musicians of all genres.
Today, I outline what are, in the opinion of Music School Central, the ten best music schools in New York City.
First up on the list is Pace University, a choice that at first glance may seem unusual, however has quite a lot going for it.
At the heart of the Pace musical experience is their selective Musical Theatre program. Currently a top-20 school in terms of Broadway placement, alumni of this program are currently performing in hit musicals such as Mean Girls, My Fair Lady, Waitress, Carousel, and more.
Faculty at the school are experienced MT professionals themselves with backgrounds in Broadway as well as throughout the entertainment industry.
Another unique program at Pace is a business program with an especial focus in Arts & Entertainment Management. Although not a music program per se, it is an especially good choice for a student interested in studying music business.
In fact, students in the program in recent years have landed internships and jobs with major music companies, including Warner Music Group, Sony Music, and more.
Pace does have a strong performing arts program, and while it is acting and drama dominated, these two individual programs are excellent choices.
Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music
Brooklyn College Conservatory is a true hidden gem; many of its faculty members also teach at Juilliard, MSM, and the other more well-known music schools in New York City.
This school is among the few in the country to offer a degree in film and television scoring! Known as the Media Scoring program, this MFA degree offers students access to faculty who have produced works for major motion pictures.
This includes Jonathan Zalben, a fairly recent addition to their faculty who has scored music for television shows on HBO, Lionsgate, Discovery Channel, and Sony Pictures Classics. Another faculty member, Ron Bochar, has worked in sound editing alongside numerous directors, including Jonathan Demme and Frank Oz.
However, film scoring is hardly the only offering here. The school is complete with majors in performance, technology, and even jazz. Its location in Brooklyn is ideal, as Brooklyn has become an equal to Manhattan in terms of its artistic breadth and offerings, providing a desirable location for student opportunity both in and out of school.
Queens College Aaron Copland School of Music
I consider Queens College’s Aaron Copland School of Music to be the best value music school in the country when considering the quality of education in combination with affordability.
With in-state tuition costing less than $7,000(!!) a year, and out-of-state costing roughly double that, this school is an absolute bargain for the quality.
Several highly-accomplished musicians adorn the faculty listing at this school. They include Marcy Rosen, cellist of the Mendelssohn Quartet, David Jolley, horn player who also teaches at Mannes and Manhattan School of Music, and clarinetist Charles Neidich, who also teaches at Juilliard.
Historically, a number of titans in academia taught here, such as influential theorist Carl Schacter and Pulitzer-winning composer George Perle. Their legacy has continued to influence the school today, as Aaron Copland theory and composition programs are true hidden gems in the world of music.
Aaron Copland School of Music benefits greatly from its association with Queens College, making it a smart and affordable choice for a music student interested in pursuing music alone or in combination with an academic major.