The Top 25 Music Schools 2015

by THR Staff - The Hollywood Reporter

From New York to Nashville (not to mention Seoul and London), a new generation of film scorers, songwriters and music industry execs will come out of these top-ranked schools.

Art vs. commerce continues to be an issue in a world where students studying music hope someday to make a living.

Traditional conservatories such as Juilliard still rank high in the overall picture, even in a world in which many big-name composers and musicians make an impact without any formal training at all. For those who do want a traditional music education, a conservatory is still an effective way to develop skills without the pressures of the business side of the industry.

"I think the school of music was formative for me in that respect," says film composer Marco Beltrami (The Homesman) of his experience at Yale's conservatory. "It was a very academic institution rather than a trade school — it's more about expanding the creative processes of the brain." But composer Jeff Beal, who recently won an Emmy for his work on House of Cards and is creating a program for the Eastman School of Music, says the key to making a living as a musician lies in diversifying.

"I've met so many young composers who've come straight out of Juilliard, and so many of them are wonderful concert composers, but [they] have an interest in doing film. My sense of the future of music-making is that's a line that's going to continue to be blurred."



Berklee College of Music

Notable alumni: Howard Shore, Quincy Jones

With a more generous 35 percent acceptance rate and an average class size of 11 students, Berklee ranks closely to Juilliard in terms of prestige but embraces more mainstream popular music disciplines, jazz and music production, including student-run record labels and concert venues. Composer and orchestrator Kevin Kaska found the school’s connections with the Boston Symphony and Boston Pops helped him work with conductor John Williams and later establish his career in Hollywood.

"When I attended the school in the early '90s they had all the leading technology of the day,” Kaska says. “No other music school in the world could hold a candle to Berklee's dedication to film scoring, music synthesis, contemporary writing concepts, and music production and engineering. I studied film scoring but it was also very exciting to learn about microphones, recording consoles, reverb and mixing from the seven different recording studios they owned."