Top 10 Best Music Schools in California

10 Best Music Schools in California

Just as we have a list of the best and most outstanding music institutions in Chicago, we also got you a list of the top 10 best music schools in California, with other vital information about those schools, you might love to Know. 

Every child that enjoys good sound and wants to dive into the music industry needs a high and quality level of education to scale through, and if you reside in California and want to study music, then the below list of most outstanding music colleges is for you to make a choice from. 

Why Study Music in California? 

California is no doubt, a home to a good number of great and outstanding music schools that are ranking high among the world’s best and have also graduated top figures we know. 

Studying music in California offers you great opportunities to meet new people and also make friends with people that have the same passion, and as well learn from top professionals that will perfect your career as a musician. 

Top 10 Best Music Schools in California

1. Los Angeles College of Music (Los Angeles, CA)

First on our list of the best and most outstanding music institutions in California, is the Los Angeles College of Music (Los Angeles, CA), also acknowledged as LACM. 

This great institution focuses on contemporary popular music, which mostly includes music production, performance, songwriting, jazz, and the whole nine yards, and the institution is an urban campus, with a few students and graduates that are doing great in the music industry. 

Furthermore, the school is, controversially, a for-profit music school. Few of the faculty in the institution are big names not only in Los Angeles but throughout the entire country. 

Los Angeles College of Music (Los Angeles, CA), is one of the few great music colleges in the US where one can major in guitar or electric bass performance and become perfect in it. 

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2. California State University-Northridge (Los Angeles, CA)

When we talk about great music schools in California, then CSU-Northridge should not be left out because of the outstanding academic performance this institution has made over the years. 

This great institution has made a name for itself and as well as a  large influence in the world of music, and the school has graduated a good amount of students that are doing great in the music industry. 

You might love to know that this great school has one of the most known and well-doing undergraduate programs in the country with a focus on two popular areas of contemporary music study – film scoring as well as the music industry, with standard building structures and facilities, which made it get a spot in this list of best and most outstanding music colleges in California. 

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3. University of Redlands School of Music (Long Beach, CA)

Ranking 3rd on our list of unique and best music colleges in California is the University of Redlands, known to offer one of the fine Southern California music programs, including Chapman, UCLA, USC, Pepperdine’s music program, LACM, CSU-Northridge, and more.

The above-named institution does maintain a strong relationship with a regional orchestra appropriately known as the Redlands Symphony Orchestra and has graduated a good number of music students that are doing great in the industry. 

See also  Top 10 Best Music Schools in the World and Locations 

You might love to know that all admitted Students at the University of Redlands have found themselves performing on big platforms because music Education is one of the most popular majors at this institution, and double-degree programs are common in this institution, which offers a choice for admitted students that are interested in both music and academics.

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4. University of California Los Angeles Herb Alpert School of Music (Los Angeles, CA)

Another institution that is doing great as one of the best music colleges in California, is the great UCLA, which has recorded a good number of graduated students who are doing great in the music industry, and the school is especially good deal for in-state students, as the tuition is dramatically lower than comparably excellent music programs.

As sourced from the school’s portal, the great UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music cultivates models for all admitted musical studies that integrate exemplary scholarship and practices, and engage through music with diverse communities on campus, throughout Los Angeles, and beyond.

The school’s vision is to envision a school of music that welcomes all kinds of brilliant students from all backgrounds and provides individual mentorship to ensure their well-being and prepare those admitted students to flourish greatly in an evolving musical landscape. 

The great institution also strives to fulfill the promise of its position at the nexus of practice and scholarship by engaging diverse musical traditions within a city of exceptional cultural vibrancy.

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5. Azusa Pacific University School of Music (Azusa, CA)

Ranking number 5 in our list of best music schools in California, is the Azusa Pacific University School of Music (Azusa, CA), known as a fine school of music based outside of Los Angeles.

According to my research, one unique program Azusa Pacific offers that few other music institutions do is a major in Music and Worship, which also made the school stand out as one of the best in the state and also in the world.  

The Music and Worship offered in this school offers students a degree that would give them an advantage when searching for a job in a religious institution.

You might also love to know that the school offers a Commercial Music major, which is a unique program that prepares all admitted students well for the traditional music industry. 

In addition, the great school’s alumni are working in both the secular and Christian sectors of the music business. 

The uniqueness of this school has placed it among the growing list of great music schools with an Entrepreneurship program specifically for music, which is mostly available at the Master’s degree level. 

The program offered in the above-named institution is designed to help all admitted music students start and grow careers in music business or management.

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6. California Institute of the Arts (Valencia, CA)

Ranking 6th in our list of best music universities in California Institute of the Arts, also known as CalArts. This great school is also entirely an arts-based school; musicians go to school with filmmakers, ceramicists, dancers, actors, and more, to help better learning. 

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Another unique value of this institution is that it has close ties to Disney, which is always in need of creative types in its productions. Also, Walt Disney himself was on the faculty of the school when it first opened over 60 years ago.

CalArts is a smart choice for a student who does not want to pursue rigorous academics and wants to excel greatly in the music industry.

CalArts is a well-known private art university in Santa Clarita, California, and was incorporated in 1961 as the first degree-granting institution of higher learning in the US created specifically for students of both the visual and performing arts, which makes it the best choice for any students who want to do great in music.

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7. Chapman University Hall-Musco Conservatory of Music (Orange, CA)

Chapman is not just one of the best music schools in California, but also one of the top acknowledged music schools in the world, with outstanding academic performance over the years, and has as well graduated a good number of students who are doing great in the music world.

This great institution is well-known for its film school, the Dodge College of Film and Media Arts and the school does its best to provide an outstanding musical curriculum in a liberal arts environment, and this educational experience prepares all admitted students for vibrant and diverse careers in the music industry at large.

Chapman University Hall-Musco Conservatory of Music offers state-of-the-art facilities and personalized education and includes working closely with world-class faculty to perfect its students greatly. 

All teachers in the institution are full-time faculty or adjunct instructors who have excelled in academics and performance. The institution’s faculty and alumni are also leaders in Los Angeles and Orange County’s music industries. They are an invaluable resource for performance and career opportunities for our students, as sourced from the school’s portal.

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8. University of Southern California Thornton School of Music (Los Angeles, CA)

USC ranks number 8 in this list of best music schools in California because of its great value and uniqueness over the years, and classical performers enjoy access to faculty who perform in the Los Angeles Philharmonic, widely regarded as a top-3 orchestra in the country and likely top-10 worldwide.

You might love to know that USC even has a Popular Music Performance program with an acceptance rate of less than 5%. Alongside other top institutions like the Berklee, Belmont, and NYU Clive Davis, which is widely regarded as among the best, if not the best, in the country. 

Additionally, two other excellent programs offered at USC include Music Industry, essentially a music business program, and jazz performance. The school’s overall acceptance rate in music is less than 20%, and it may not be the right fit for everyone because of its large campus & urban atmosphere which would likely not cater well to a student who desires a smaller, liberal arts college experience. 

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9. Colburn School (Los Angeles, CA)

Next is the Colburn School, also ranked one of the best and most outstanding music colleges in California with good acknowledgments in the state and over the world. The great school only caters to classical musicians; and also caters to instrumentalists and conductors. 

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One recent program Colburn has instituted is the Diploma in Conducting, and the faculty at Colburn is among the nation’s best teachers. Colburn is not only regarded as a great music school in the city, it is literally less than 1 block away from Walt Disney Concert Hall, the home of the LA Phil. 

Furthermore, all admitted students in this great institution get direct access to faculty who also perform in the LA Phil, which makes the school another great choice to make.

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10. San Francisco Conservatory of Music (San Francisco, CA) 

Lastly, one of the nation’s most important music schools, the San Francisco Conservatory, with outstanding features and standard learning facilities that help students greatly. Just like other schools, the institution is also an independent, non-university-affiliated music school. 

This institution also offers a newish program called Roots, Jazz, and American Music (RJAM for short), and this makes SFCM one of the better music schools in the country, that offers music students abundant opportunities for performing in and out of school.

At the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, students are offered the framework and foundation to succeed throughout their studies and careers, creating a path of lifelong learning. The school also focuses on educating the whole person, with an interconnected curriculum that breaks down barriers between the intellectual, artist, professional, and individual. 

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FAQs on the Best Music Schools in California

Is USC or UCLA Better for Music?

In my opinion, USC has the better musical infrastructure which is also a good consideration to keep in mind, but when it comes to a pure groundswell of talented, energetic students making music, UCLA takes the private school cake.

What is the Best University in the World to go to for Music?

We have numerous best music schools in the world, but my top best are listed below:
1. The Juilliard School. 
2. Berklee College of Music.
3. Yale School of Music.
4. New England Conservatory of Music.
5. The University of Southern California, Thornton School of Music. 
6. Curtis Institute of Music.
7. The Royal Academy of Music. 
8. Royal College of Music.

Is a Music Degree Worth it?

100% Yes, a music degree is worth it for most aspiring musicians who want to excel greatly. Music degrees are essential for employment in the music industry as well as building well-rounded musicians, so you need a music degree.

Is Music a Good Career Path?

Yes, Music is a good career path for those who studied it greatly, and we have top musicians all over the world, who are doing great.


Above are our picked schools that offer the best and most unique music programs in California, you can visit those institutions to know more about them.

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