11 Best Colleges in California for Music

The union of lyrics and sound-making symphony so pleasing to the ear is the hallmark of the colleges in California for music.

There are a plethora of great artists that can trace their roots to some of the colleges in California for Music, as it has been an open secret that those who really want to have the best training in the pursuit of their dreams should enroll in any of the colleges in California for music.

The reason? The various colleges in California for music have evolved to match the modern era’s requirements without losing their heritage; they pay particular attention to the development of each student almost like private tutorship in such lights as some of the finest music schools in New York.

It is a common fact that in order to become great you must learn—or in some cases mimic—from the greats; the colleges in California for music have taken this notion to heart by actively mirroring the activities of great music schools all over the world.

What is life without some competition? And that is delivered in the form of the best dance schools in Lagos Nigeria where students are taught how to dance and more importantly have to invent, reinvent, and innovate on existing dance moves. Most people might not see this as any form of competition but believe me when I say that the interrelationship between music and dance breeds this sibling rivalry.

And more conventional competition comes in the shape of the finest Indian schools that teach music, the Indians have taken the music industry and landscape by storm as they showcased their musical prowess through their movies. The growth of Bollywood drew attention to Indian sounds and lyrics and this has seen a sudden rise in interest and love for their music.

How much is Music School in California?

For the colleges in California for music, the tuition can vary depending on the institution and whether they are privately owned or a public institutions. But on average, the tuition payment on average is done in 6 quarters of 18 months which rounds to about $35,820 which also includes other associated fees.

The other fees that make up the associated fees include Student ID $1,800, Issuance & Mailing fee of $20 – $21, and Wire Transfer fee of $200.

How to enter a Music School in California?

Before a student is considered for enrollment in any of the colleges in California for music, they have to be in possession of the following requirements.

Residents/Citizens of the United States

Photo ID: Please submit a high-resolution scan of the photo page of your Driver’s License, State ID, or US Passport.

Academic Transcript: Submit a transcript from your highest level of study to demonstrate that you have completed high school (or the equivalent).

For International Students

Photo ID for International Applicants: Send a high-resolution image of your Driver’s License, State ID, or US Passport photo page.

Academic Transcript: Submit a transcript from your highest level of study to demonstrate that you have completed high school (or the equivalent).

Evidence of English Proficiency: Provide a TOEFL (iBT) score of 50 or higher, IELTS 5.0 or higher, TOEIC 600 or higher, and CEFR Level B2 or higher.

Colleges in California for Music

11 Best Colleges in California for Music

Here, I give you the list of the best colleges in California for Music, also for those wondering, these are degree-awarding institutions.

1.      University Of Southern California (USC)—Thornton School of Music

So, the first on my list of colleges in California for music is the University of Southern California—Thornton School of Music which has a very strong musical reputation and is one of the colleges in California for music that are more selective in their admission process; in fact, they are considered one of the most selective music institutions in the whole of the United States.

On offer, the school presents to students and prospective students the following genres in the field of music; Classical Performance & Composition, Contemporary Music, and Scholarly research.

One of the great benefits this university offers to students is its proximity to the film and studio industries where students can learn portfolio skills that help them in the future in getting work and securing job opportunities in the Music industry. Also, many of the institute’s professors are active professionals in the field of music which helps students learn modern, up-to-date musical knowledge.


2.      University of California Los Angeles (UCLA)—Herb Alpert School of Music

The next on the list of best colleges in California for music is one that Music Performance, Composition, Conducting, Music Education, Musicology, Music Industry, and Global Jazz are all available at UCLA’s Herb Alpert School of Music.

While living and working in Los Angeles, students learn jazz, classical, popular, and traditional music traditions. It’s one of two Herb Alpert schools in Los Angeles, the other being CalArts.


3.      California Institute of the Arts (CalArts)—Herb Alpert School of Music

CalArts also has a Herb Alpert School of Music, which should be distinguished from the one at UCLA. CalArts, which is located in Los Angeles, provides a variety of specialties in addition to Performance, including Composition and Experimental Sound, Experimental Pop Music, Music Technology, Voice Arts, Jazz, World Music Performance, and Instrumental Arts.

In contrast to many other colleges that provide a Bachelor of Music, they offer a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) (BM or BMus).


4.      San Francisco Conservatory of Music

The San Francisco Conservatory offers undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate education possibilities, including the Artist Diploma, as well as programs in Roots, Jazz, and American Music (RJAM), Historical Performance, Technology and Applied Composition (TAC), Conducting, and Instrumental Studies. They are almost 100 years old and take pride in the quality of their facilities and education.


5.      Stanford University

Stanford University is 35 miles south of San Francisco and twenty miles north of San Jose in the heart of Northern California’s “Silicon Valley,” which is home to numerous innovative enterprises. The Department of Music at Stanford University integrates Instrumental Studies (including Voice) with scholarly research in Performance, Composition, Conducting, Music History, Ethnomusicology, Music Theory, Cognitive Science, Intermedia, and Computer-based Technologies.

Orchestras, jazz and chamber ensembles, taiko, guzheng, steelpan, and choral groups are among the ensembles available.

With other programs and centers within the institution, there is a concentration on interdisciplinary study.


6.      University of California San Diego

At UCSD, music majors can select a course track with a concentration in Composition, Performance, Jazz, Technology, and Literature, as well as audition for groups. There are two majors: Music Humanities and Interdisciplinary Computing and the Arts Computer Music and Music Technology (ICAM).

There are also well-regarded graduate programs available.


7.      Azusa Pacific University School of Music

Undergraduates near Los Angeles obtain a Bachelor of Music (B.M.) while concentrating in Commercial Music, Composition, Music Education, Music and Worship, and Performance. Students can also earn a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Music Theory or Performance while singing and writing for vocal and instrumental ensemble ensembles.

The institution grants master’s degrees and claims that its community is based on the Christian religion.


8.      California State University, Long Beach—Bob Cole Conservatory of Music

Jazz, Choral Conducting, Instrumental and Vocal Music, Opera, and Musical Theater are all taught at the Cole Conservatory.

Cole is home to several award-winning ensembles, choral and chamber groups, as well as an orchestra.

Many alumni go on to graduate school, release acclaimed albums, or perform and tour internationally with famous popular acts. Students can take advantage of critical cultural attractions and professional prospects in the broader Los Angeles area.


9. The University of California at Irvine—Claire Trevor School of the Arts

UCI Claire Trevor School is home to the Departments of Music, Dance, Drama, Art, and Research & Innovation. The Music department strongly focuses on classical music and jazz, with performance groups ranging from small ensembles and chamber groups to a full orchestra and huge choir.

They are a well-known research institute that serves as a Centre for the scholarly study of Clara Schumann’s life and works.

Alumni routinely win contests, and they host their own jazz festival, as well as several concerts.


10. The Colburn School

In addition to a college degree, the Colburn School features a community school and a pre-college academy where children of all ages can take private and group lessons, ensembles, dance, and theater workshops. Students in their Colburn Artists program are prepared for jobs in the music business.

11. California State University, Northridge

The Mike Curb College of Arts, Media, and Communication houses CSUN’s Department of Music. They offer music degrees at the Bachelor of Music (B.M.) and Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) levels.

Music Education, Music Industry Studies, Music Therapy, Commercial Writing, Composition, Jazz Studies, Vocal Arts, and other Instrumental Studies such as Guitar, Strings, Woodwinds, or Brass are among the majors available to students. The Breadth Studies concentration allows students to integrate music with other areas of interest that are related to their professional path.

Northridge is located in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles.



The colleges in California for music are some of the best and most selective institutions of music in the whole of the US, but, they have a rich pedigree of being outstanding institutions that brings forth the best musical talents from students.

Colleges in California for Music—FAQs

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