Azusa Pacific University School of Music (Azusa, CA)
Along with the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music, the Azusa Pacific University School of Music is perhaps the most prominent music school in the US with a strong religious affiliation.
In fact, one of the school’s majors is very unique, both appropriate for the religious theme of the school as well as for finding a job in ministry or ecclesiastical music. The school’s Bachelor’s in Music and Worship is an intriguing undergraduate degree that not only places a specific emphasis on learning the Church music repertoire, but also how to be a leader in Masses and other religious services.
I have talked before in some of my articles how finding a full time job in a church can be provide a substantial living. Perhaps this degree-granting Bachelor’s track would be a good option for those looking to make it into this field.
Additionally, the school is also home to an impressive symphonic orchestra that has become known for public performances of both modern and classic repertoire. Here is an impressive, newly-released YouTube recording of the orchestra playing the Shostakovich Symphony here.
A rising and young school of music, Azusa Pacific’s School of Music only became accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music less than a decade ago, in 2007.
University of Denver Lamont School of Music (Denver, CO)
The Lamont School of Music should be considered among the top music schools in the country more frequently, particularly for instrumental & jazz performance.
The Lamont School of Music, which has been recognized by the city of Denver in multiple years with the Mayor’s Award for Excellence In the Arts, is prominently located in one of the cities with the best music scenes in the country.
Two well-established classical music organizations, the Colorado Symphony & Opera Colorado, call Denver their home. Some students even participate in these ensembles, gaining professional, real-world experience while completing their undergraduate degrees.
Jazz students at the University of Denver Lamont School of Music are provided the opportunity to perform at a number of local music venues and establishments, including the Marquis Theater, Dazzle Jazz Club, and Summit Music Hall, among many other fine live venues.
The faculty at the school is first-rate, with many of their teachers being prizewinners of major international competitions as well as past faculty members at many other prominent music schools.
Additionally, the school is also home to one of the nation’s most impressive Performing Arts Centers in the entire country, the Robert and Judi Newman Center for Performing Arts. This performing arts center boasts over 150,000 attendees annually, a 1,000 seat opera house, 500+ concerts every year, a black-box theatre, and more.
This Performing Arts Center is also widely known as a haven for living performing artists and composers, frequently commissioning many original works every single year.
The school’s enrollment is kept to a strategic minimum of just about 300 – with a first-rate performing arts facility, prominent college faculty, high-level performance-intensive programs, and a very small student size, this school is a true hidden gem in the landscape of excellent American music schools.