Currently, under the direction of Dean Robert A. Cutietta, the Thornton School of Music has launched the most ambitious fundraising initiative in its history and aims to raise $75 million to support students, faculty, programs and infrastructure.

Thornton provides need-based aid through its financial application and typically awards one-third of its undergraduates $5,000 – $10,000 annually in merit-based awards. (Graduate students can also apply for teaching fellowships). You can find more information about scholarship opportunities at Thornton here.

As with all applications to music school, you should submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to maximize opportunities for receiving financial aid. Grants and loans from FAFSA can help pay for the cost of attending Thornton.

 Is Thornton Right for Me?

As noted, given the breadth of programs offered at Thornton in Classical and Contemporary Music, the school should be extremely attractive to most music students.

Located in Los Angeles, the city is unique and like no other city in the world. The perks are the sunny weather and, for aspiring musician looking to make their mark, the city is the heart of the film and recorded music industry.

The city abounds with parties filled with actors and models in the hills, surf obsessed beach bums, and struggling screenwriters mulling in coffee shops.

Life in LA is not for everyone. Although there is a bus system, the city is built for cars and is not designed as a walking city (LA is more of a connection of sprawling neighborhoods than a typical city), but if you’re spending most of your time on campus, the need for a car and the horrendous traffic might not be much of issue.

As for student life, USC is known for being a stimulating campus both academically and socially.

The school is also on the larger side with close to 19,000 students total; so those looking for a smaller campus experience might want to look elsewhere.

In the end, only you can decide if Thornton is right for you and a visit to the school and surrounding area should certainly be on your list before making a decision.


For Thornton and many other schools, the application process can be confusing and difficult to navigate. There are many parts to understanding how to truly and successfully succeed in the audition process.

If you are interested in attending college for music, and you would like to receive high level assistance in how to audition, interview, and master the college application for Thornton or any other music school, check out Music School Central’s College Consulting Program.

Click here to find out how we can help you or the musician in your family achieve your musical dreams.