Another dumb list of ‘best’ music colleges, this one from the Guardian

Another dumb list of ‘best’ music colleges, this one from the Guardian


norman lebrecht

May 27, 2015

Ranking educational institutions on merit is never an exact science. We’ve published a few such attempts before. But this latest list from the Guardian newspaper of the ‘top’ places in Britain to acquire a music education seems wider than most of any kind of mark.

It frankly beggars belief to put the Royal College of Music six places above the Royal Academy (pictured). Each has areas of excellence, but most neutral observers would place the Avademy first. And as for putting the University of Surrey above Oxford and Cambridge…. well, you might as well include Hogwarts, which seems to have a more stable future as Surrey embraces a rush of cuts.



1 Royal College of Music 100
2 Edinburgh 99.4
3 Manchester 99.1
4 Surrey 98.8
5 Oxford 95.9
6 Guildhall School of Music and Drama 95
7 Royal Academy of Music 94.3
8 Sheffield 93.1
9 Birmingham 93
10 Southampton 91.9
11 Durham 91.3
12 Cambridge 90.7
13 Nottingham 90.5
14 Birmingham City 88.2
15 Glasgow 88.1
15 Sussex 88.1
17 Newcastle 86.3
18 Brunel 85.6
19 Bangor 84.7
20 Royal Holloway 84.6
21 Royal Welsh College 84.5
22 Bristol 83.8
23 York 83.7
24 King’s College London 83.5
25 City 82.9
26 Goldsmiths 82.8
26 Queen’s, Belfast 82.8
28 Trinity Laban Conservatoire 81.9
29 Leeds 81.5
30 Hull

royal academy of music




  • Meretrician says:

    Worth noting that Surrey has a quite prestigious Tonmeister degree which offers industry-level training in music production and the like.

    Also, given the data comes partly from student reporting, I’m curious what you feel makes the Academy better than the College. Both have excellent representation in the profession.

    • Al G says:

      I’ve studied at both recently. The experience I had at the RAM was superior to what I got from studying at the RCM. The Academy has great teacher, resources, and doesn’t feel as crowded as the RCM. Anyway, RAM and RCM should both be in the first places of the list. Also, where is the RNCM in the list? It’s an excellent school.

  • Simon Harding says:

    Wot no Huddersfield?

  • Theodore McGuiver says:

    When they say Manchester, do they mean the university or the RNCM? Ditto for Glasgow and the RASMD as well as Edinburgh and St. Mary’s. You can’t take this list seriously.

    Simon Harding has a point, too. Huddersfield Poly (or whatever it’s called now) has an excellent music department.

    As it was the Grauniad the organically-baked tofu in the canteen probably played a part.

  • Alexander Hall says:

    Wot no University of South-East Rutland??!!