7. University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, MI

An enduring and long-established leader in the field of music education, the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor prepares students for the highest level of teaching mastery at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Known for having an intensive music education program, students are required to successfully learn multiple instruments in order to best prepare them for the real world of education in K-12 schools. Many of the faculty members at the school are equally at home in both music education and performance; the chair of their department, Michael Hopkins, is both a nationally recognized music education expert as well as a conductor and composer of over 40 published pieces of music for orchestra.

Other notable professors include Colleen Conway, a heralded music education expert who has given presentations at international conferences as well as written books published by GIA and Oxford University Press.

Graduates of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor’s Music Education program are frequently placed into real world jobs immediately after graduation in Michigan and beyond.


6. Teacher’s College at Columbia University – New York, NY

photo by InSapphoWeTrust via Flickr Creative Commons

Perhaps the finest education college overall in the entire United States, the Teacher’s College is a graduate-only school at Columbia University in New York City. One of the oldest programs of its kind, students at the Teacher’s College are regularly lauded academicians; one of their Doctoral students was recently deemed the first runner-up for New York State Teacher of the Year.

Students at the Teacher’s College are afforded the opportunity to work with K-12 students with exceptionally diverse backgrounds growing up. Some partnerships the school has taken on to help serve underprivileged youth include the Partnership for the Homeless as well as the Charles Mingus Foundation.

The faculty at the Teacher’s College at Columbia University is exceptionally notable and accomplished; heralded professor Harold Abeles is a widely published music education researcher whose writings focus on a number of relevant, real-world topics, including gender stereotypes in music, arts organizations and their impact on the community, and more.

Although this college is not for undergraduates looking to find a job in music education, this institution is among the most spectacular in the entire world for intensive research and focus into the theory and practice of this very broad field.


5. Westminster Choir College of Rider University – Princeton, NJ

Widely considered to be among the very finest programs in the entire country for vocal music education, the Westminster Choir College is an intriguing choice for the aspiring music ed. major. As the name suggests, the school’s most famous specialties lie within choral music education, choral music conducting, and vocal performance, invaluable strengths that will prepare a musician to be a great teacher to any K-12 student body.

For the past 11 years, the Westminster Choir College’s music education students have enjoyed a 100% job placement rate upon successful graduation. The students at the school themselves are not separated from the performance majors, but rather, are seamlessly integrated into the ensemble and studio classes of the college.

The voice faculty at Westminster is the largest voice faculty of any college in the world, which is a large reason why an emphasis on choral music education at this school exists.

If you are looking to pursue music education either as a stand-alone major or in conjunction with arts management, conducting, composition, or another performance major, with the intent of landing a job in New Jersey upon successful graduation, look no further than this prestigious college.


4. SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music – Potsdam, NY

The Crane School of Music’s greatest legacy hinges on the strength of its superior music education department. In fact, the school’s namesake is derived from legendary founder Julia Ettie Crane, who originally founded the Crane School of Music in 1886 for the specific purpose of training public school teachers.

In the state of New York, many, many music public school music teachers had their training at the Crane School of Music. I have personally read that 10% of all music educators in the United States are pedagogically related to someone who trained at the Crane School of Music. Considering there are hundreds of thousands of K-12 schools in the US with music programs, that is a compelling and ubiquitous legacy that SUNY Potsdam should take pride in.

Like many of the top music education schools, Crane School of Music also boasts a near 100% favorable job placement rate for music education students. Many of the elite-level performance students double major in music education, making this school one of the smarter choices for the well-rounded musician looking to double major.