America’s best music college is in … Texas

America’s best music college is in … Texas


norman lebrecht

June 20, 2014

Another day, another journo-list.

But this one, in USA Today, has some good thinking behind it.

It names Southern Methodist College, in Dallas, as the best in music. The reasons? The ‘high amount of financial aid afforded to undergraduates ‘ and the focus it offers ‘on fostering artists’ abilities as both musicians and community influencers.’

That’s music to our ears.




Full list:

1 SMU, Dallas

2 Boston College (highest starting salary for music grads)

3 Princeton

4 Yale

5 Stanford…

… and the rest.


  • Alessio Bax says:

    Yes, SMU! :-)) I have been part of its Meadows School of the Arts since 1994 (!!)

  • John Mackey says:

    My favorite is the claim that Boston College’s music graduates have a starting salary of $60,000/year. “I just got my degree in music performance – and within a week, I’d landed a full time job making $60,000 as a musician! Yay!” – said nobody ever

    And you’re not going to question the fact that nearly half of the schools on this list don’t even offer a performance degree? Columbia? Brown? In their blurb about Columbia, they praise the relationship with Juilliard, but then they don’t include Juilliard on their own list.

    This list should more accurately be called “Top 10 Colleges in the US where you can take a music class.”

  • Eric Melley says:

    SMU is a fine school, but it’s not even the best music school in Texas, much less the United States. Rice, UNT, and UT-Austin all have stronger programs overall. Most of the schools listed aren’t even the finest programs in their respective regions.
    But I’m quibbling: Juilliard? Eastman? Curtis? Northwestern? Michigan? Indiana? All conspicuously absent.
    This list, like so many others of its kind, is absurd.

  • Joel Stein says:

    Boston College isn’t one of the best five music schools in Boston (of course it is in Newton), but this is absurd.

  • Peter says:

    The problem with this list is, although it contains quite some useful information, it is headlined as something that it is not. “Top 10 music colleges” suggests that the list comprises music colleges, rather than universities where you can take some sort of music course, albeit as a joint major or even a stepping stone to a Masters programme in a different subject. Very much an exercise in ranking apples and pairs, and declaring a list of top fruit.
    Reminds me of a student newspaper review I saw, ranking Cambridge Colleges on price of drinks in the bar and convenience of condom machines. Fine to do this as long as the criteria are not used to claim the college to be “top” or”best” in some other respect, eg academically. Of course, among the resident undergrad population, availability of beer and condoms probably is pretty important. Especially the musicians.

  • I attended a six-day cello festival at SMU last week. Wonderful performances but for a VERY well-heeled school they seem to have trouble with staging basics… lights that can’t remember to stay on or off and lights that just make too much noise in general.

  • Norman Krieger says:

    So relieved I do not need to play old re -runs of the Jack Benny Show to giggle !! This will keep me laughing for a long time ….

    An article that is ludicrous and false !!!!!!!

  • Maby this has also something to do with the presence of a superb orchestra led by a star conductor (as the picture already points out)?

    The DSO is apparently thoroughly anchored in the city’s community, providing a symbol of the importance of classical music.