US music college rankings put Eastman on top

US music college rankings put Eastman on top


norman lebrecht

June 24, 2015

This is a supposedly objective list, based on the following criteria:

Teaching Quality / Professor Ratings (10%)

Staff / Student Ratio (15%)

Median Salary of Graduates (10%)

SAT / ACT Test Scores (15%)

Graduation Rate Performance (10%)

Undergraduate Academic Reputation (20%)

Student Selectivity (5%)

Alumni (5%) Academic (Undergraduate) / Research (Graduate) Performance (5%) G-factor (5%).


It gives the following as the ‘best’ music colleges for 2015:

1 Eastman          Rochester

2 Juilliard           New York


2nd best

3 NEC                  Boston

4 Oberlin             Ohio

5 Curtis                Philadelphia

6 IU                      Bloomington

7 U Mich             Ann Arbor

More here.


  • Jeffrey Biegel says:

    All wonderful schools indeed. I still believe, and correct me if I am wrong in 2015, that one goes for the teacher no matter where they are. There are some amazing teachers nestles away in schools not listed.

    • Jerron Jorgensen says:

      I think primarily that is still true, but I find these days it is becoming less and less likely that one goes to school for performance and then winds up stepping into a performance-only career. Therefore, it certainly behooves one to go to a school where they can get both a good education from their individual applied area instructor as well as an overall good education from their other professors (history, theory, repertoire & literature, etc.)

  • Fiddleman says:

    These rankings give more weight to SAT/ACT scores than to teacher quality? What a joke. This list is not at all reflective of where top-tier students are applying and attending.

    • Beckmesser says:

      Maybe things have changed, but when I applied to Juilliard a few years ago there was no mention of SATs! It was all about finding a good fit with a teacher of your instrument.

  • Rich Patina says:

    Yes, all fine schools, and all charging students an arm and a leg to prepare for jobs that don’t exist.

    • Peter says:

      So what? They cultivate the human conduction. Not everything needs to be for the job market, unless we say he job market is the ultimate altar we humans aim our very being at.

      You are aiming quite low, and ballistics dictate your shot will land even lower…

  • schubertian1234 says:

    Any attempt to rank music schools is a farce. As previously mentioned, the almost singular reason people choose schools (assuming they want to be performers) is the teacher. Some of the “finest” music schools are laughably bad for certain instruments, while state schools or schools lower on the list have a track record of producing world-class musicians. The programs for my instrument at the first four schools are well known for being a joke at best. While the schools who turn out these unbelievable players aren’t even on this list.

  • Itsjtime says:

    My alma mater is on the list…i believe SAT scores were not mandatory. If they had been, half of the school would have scored a “genius rating” while the other half would have been categorized as “borderline retarded”.
    … I went to school for the teacher and the schools’ culture of music making.

  • Vince Lee Music says:

    While any music school ranking should be taken with several grains of salt, the page is definitely not objective, at least towards music schools. Their first music school list, released in 2010, plagiarized the last list published by US News & World Report in 1997. The 2011 list added Berklee, but was mostly unchanged otherwise. This 2015 list is incredibly similar to the 2011 list (especially schools 10-30.)

    For anyone curious for more details, I’ve got a full breakdown/comparison here: