Top Places to get a Music Degree

It depends on where you are in the world, or indeed if you want to stay in your home country to study.

In the UK, you can either choose to do your degree at a University, or at one of the conservatoires. If you are a gifted instrumentalist, but less interested in academic study, the latter would be the better option for you.

Most universities and conservatoires have open days – thinking back 20 years to when I was looking around for where to do my degree, I was most impressed by Reading, Durham and Surrey on the University side, and the RNCM in Manchester, Royal Academy of Music in London and Colchester Institute on the conservatoire side. Your degree will always be what you make it, so look carefully while you’re visiting to see what opportunities there might be to make music, see others perform, what library and practice room facilities are like and so on.

If you have specific fields of interest, such as music recording, you may be better advised to do something like the Tonmeister course at Surrey (although you do need other science based subjects in addition to music for this particular degree).

There are many scholarships available to music students, so don’t forget to get in touch with your local authority, or to Google music scholarships. Studying music is expensive, and you will need to keep up any instrumental lessons, as a practical exam will almost certainly form part of your degree. If, for example, you play two instruments, you may find that a university course will only fund tuition for one. A conservatoire will fund tuition for two, possibly three.

So really do your homework on this one – if, for example, you want any hope of a performing career, then your degree will only be your first step, wherever you choose to do it, as you will need to follow a course of Postgraduate study specifically as a performer.

I would advise also trying to speak to as many people as you can that have done music degrees recently – where did they go? What were the good points? What were the bad? What was the teaching like? Were there opporunities to do your own music making, or were you restricted to the University or college ensembles? It might be worth, perhaps, posting another question to ask who’s done a music degree, where it was, and how they found it. It can’t hurt.

I’ve been there, so good luck on this one!