3. Ithaca College School of Music – Ithaca, NY

Widely considered to boast one of the most eminent music education programs in the entire United States, Ithaca College frequently graduates students that, quite simply, get jobs on the local and national scale. In fact, for those who seek jobs upon graduation, Ithaca’s student job placement rate is close to 100%, a number that is only enjoyed by students at top music schools, such as at Northwestern and Indiana.

The program is exceptionally prestigious and well-known in a state that has many competitively excellent music education programs, including those at SUNY Potsdam, SUNY Fredonia, and Columbia University, all of which are on this list.

Approximately one-half of the students at Ithaca are either sole music education majors or are music education majors with a joint degree in performance. At the Master’s degree level, permanent New York State certification is awarded to all successful graduates of the program.

In terms of finding a job after certification, its difficult to beat a prestigious school like Ithaca in New York – students here are able to choose from so many teaching options, from wealthy districts in Northern New York to urban settings in Brooklyn. The practical advantages of a music education from this school are limitless.

The faculty is also among the largest in size of all music education programs in the country. There are 32 members of music education faculty at the Ithaca College School of Music whose interests range from the aesthetic and social functions of music education in schools to the usage of technology in 21st-century music education.


2. Indiana University Jacobs School of Music – Bloomington, IN

Long considered one of the foremost colleges for music education in the entire US, Indiana University’s music education graduates frequently enjoy a near 100% employment rate at various Indiana K-12 schools. The program not only provides an exceptionally well-rounded curriculum to its music education majors, but also allows students to choose a music education focus in one of four major areas: choral, general, band, and orchestra. No matter what your goals as a student are at this major music education hub, you will find a program that fits your interests well.

An exceptionally well-rounded institution we recently qualified as the best overall music school in the US, music education majors at IU never run out of opportunities to perform in music ensembles at the school. There is never an orchestra spot, choir seat, or other specialty ensemble that can’t be filled with an aspiring music teacher. IU is an excellent choice for those who wish to double major in both an elite performance and education program.

Additionally, the schools provides students with the opportunity to work with major music education associations as well as with public music teachers who already have years of experience under their belt. Student apprentice teaching, of course, is a requirement of all music education majors as well.

At the graduate level, the level and depth of research that students explore at IU are fascinating, rich, and exceptionally varied. Some topics that the college’s published Philosophy of Music Education Review include examinations of musical instruction using MIDI (musical instrument digital interface) based composition, the evolution of systems utilized in music education, the implications of free improvisation in the classroom, and the relationships between music and spirituality.

The faculty at the program is second to none, and includes notable music education researchers and professors such as Brent Gault, past president of the Organization of Kodaly Educators, and Patrice Ward-Steinman, a widely published author in the field of music education.


1. Northwestern University Bienen School of Music – Evanston, IL

photo by Daderot via Wikimedia Commons

Northwestern University has been among the highest leaders in music education for the last several decades, producing many thousands of exceptional music teachers that can be found working throughout the US and beyond.

Producing music education studies that are frequently cited by the most widely read publications in the entire world, the depth of research that Northwestern has produced on the subject can only be described as not only admirable but most importantly, exceptionally authoritative.

Students who pursue a music education career upon successful completion of the music education degree from Northwestern University successfully find jobs shortly after graduation. According to Northwestern University, their music education job placement rate is actually 100% every single year.

While this seems like a bold claim to make, this figure actually makes a lot of sense. Northwestern University has connections to over 60 Chicago area public K-12 schools that regularly employ graduates of Northwestern into their program. If you are looking to get involved right away with real K-12 music students at real schools in both a major city as well as suburban Illinois, Northwestern may just provide for you the exact experience you require.

At the PhD level, students also have access to one of the most innovative centers for music education research in the entire country, the CSEME, which stands for the Center for the Study of Education and Musical Experience. Some dissertation focuses the Center has presented in the last two decades include an examination of peer tutoring in the United States, relationships between what music a student likes and what his teacher likes, and an analysis of software relating to the education of jazz music students.

Overall, the program at Northwestern University is among the most innovative, in-depth, and practical of its kind in the entire nation.


Other Top Music Education Schools:

  • Boston University – Boston, MA
  • Florida State University – Tallahassee, FL
  • University of North Texas – Denton, TX
  • University of Northern Colorado – Greeley, CO
  • Berklee College of Music – Boston, MA
  • VanderCook College of Music – Chicago, IL
  • Michigan State University – East Lansing, MI
  • Lawrence University Conservatory of Music – Appleton, WI
  • The Hartt School – West Hartford, CT

Featured Image by Daderot Via Wikimedia Commons