Not one music school in Lumosity’s ‘smartest’ 50 colleges

Not one music school in Lumosity’s ‘smartest’ 50 colleges


norman lebrecht

April 06, 2014

Lumosity prides itself on cognitive analysis. Every year, it publishes a list of top US colleges based on five areas of performance: Speed, Attention, Flexibility, Memory and Problem Solving.

The scope of the survey is wide. At #36 you will find, for instance, the Colorado College of Mines. MIT is at #2.

But, unless we’re missing something vital, nowhere in the list will you find a conservatoire or college-level school of music. You would have expected musicians to excel at the five Lumosity criteria. So what’s gone wrong.

Read the list here.





  • Matthew Rose says:

    Having attended Curtis for five years I cannot imagine that there is a single educational institution in the world that makes available more resources and possibilities to its student’ retrospect we were completely spoilt there. All of us who attended the 160 place Institue on Rittenhouse Square know how lucky we were (are) and there is a reason that it is statistacally the hardest place of higher education to get into in the world.

  • Perhaps the conservatory students were too busy practicing to do the online questions? But I did notice that two universities with stellar music programs, Northwestern and Rice, are in the top ten!

  • Wes Nance says:

    From the report linked above:

    “Some have also expressed concern that some prominent schools such as Caltech were missing from our analysis. We have chosen to set a minimum cutoff of at least 50 users for all universities included in the survey. As a school with fewer than 1,000 undergraduates, it is not surprising that Caltech was unable to reach our threshold. For the same reason, many liberal arts colleges are not able to be included on the list. We would of course prefer to have more data from these institutions so we could include them in our rankings.”

    There’s your answer. As you say above, you were missing something vital.

  • AR says:

    CMU has a solid program and so does U Rochester (Eastman). As others have pointed out, Rice and Northwestern are also on the list as well as a few other ‘School of Music’ types with good programs. Considering the threshold for undergrads and users, it’s not hugely surprising that the conservatories are underrepresented.

  • Julia says:

    There are several schools on this list with excellent music programs,

    including the aforementioned–Oberlin has one of the finest undergrad bassoon teachers in the US, for example. Let’s not get up on high horses without really looking carefully first, okay? BTW–I hear the piano teachers at Rice are pretty darned good. 😉

  • Kenneth Conway says:

    Headline rather alarmist? For example, the “line” that divides Oberlin College (on the list) from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music (not on the list) is in practice extremely porous if not downright non-existent. In my personal experience, most students enrolled in the one benefit immeasurably from the immediate proximity of the other, and vice versa.