3. Lawrence University Conservatory of Music (Appleton, WI)
The definition of excellence in a liberal arts college music school, Lawrence University melds a traditional conservatory education with a progressive social outlook.
In late 2017, we did an interview with their Dean Brian Pertl – you can read that article here, entitled Is This the World’s Most Socially Conscious Music School?
What we like about Lawrence is their environment – it is a small, progressive university with an outstanding conservatory of just 300 or so students. The offerings here are the standard fare among traditional conservatories – classical & jazz performance as well as music education and composition.
Lawrence’s newest degree, the BMA – Bachelor’s of Musical Arts – grants a well-rounded musical education in conjunction with a strong liberal arts curriculum. This addition makes sense, as many students at Lawrence have already opted for double-degrees in music and an academic major anyway.
Unique musical opportunities at Lawrence are abundant; they include Music for Food, an initiative raising money for hunger relief, as well as Mile of Music, a four-day music festival in Appleton, Wisconsin.
2. University of the Arts (Philadelphia, PA)
An independent conservatory based in Philadelphia, University of the Arts is a school where collaboration thrives.
The school is, as the name suggests, entirely arts-based; student concentrations outside of music include dance, painting, ceramics, film, theatre, and more.
The result is a conglomeration where multi-disciplinary art thrives.
University of the Arts is an independent arts school, and can certainly be classified as a conservatory. Although students do take academic courses at University of the Arts, the majority of credits are dedicated towards music and arts studies.
We recently ranked their MBET program among the Top 10 Music Business Schools in the country. Another selective program at U Arts is in musical theatre, which accepts a small percentage of applicants each year into their competitive studios.
1. Belmont University (Nashville, TN)
Finally, a school in the nation’s music capital – Nashville, Tennessee!
Belmont is unsurpassed in its contemporary music program; it is among the very best in the country in this particular genre.
Between Belmont’s School of Music and their Mike Curb College of Entertainment, offerings here include an impressive list of unique majors only available in a handful of colleges. These include songwriting, music business, commercial music composition (think film/television scoring), audio production, and more.
The focus at Belmont’s Mike Curb College is less on performance and more about the skills to succeed in the music industry. It is similar to NYU’s Clive Davis program in this regard.
The focus at Belmont’s School of Music is certainly in performance and composition, although their “Commercial Music Major” does have concentrations in business and songwriting as well.
Although Belmont is perhaps best known for its contemporary music offerings, it also has a solid classical music performance program as well.
Located in the capital of music, students here frequently gain internship opportunities in companies on “Music Row” – an area of Nashville where a large conglomeration of music companies have their own campuses.