The future of music

10 Best Music Schools in the UK (Music Universities)

May 2, 2023
music schools in the uk

Today we bring you a list of the best music schools in the UK.

Whether you want to study composition, music theory, or audio engineering, these top-rated UK universities have what you need.

You just need to find a program that suits your career goals.

We made our selection based on the school’s reputation, curriculum, student experience, and other relevant factors.

1. Guildhall School of Music and Drama

Guildhall School of Music and Drama, one of the best music schools in the UK.

Guildhall School of Music and Drama is hands down one of the best music schools in the UK. 

Located in London, this top-rated school offers a Bachelor of Music Honors Degree and a variety of study areas.

Their music programs also include various departments, such as Composition, Electronic & Produced Music, Historical Performance, Keyboard, MA in Music Therapy, Opera Studies, Vocal Studies, and so on.

Guildhall also has an excellent Wind, Brass & Percussion study program.

So, whether you’re interested in studying an instrument or want to focus on more theoretical music studies, Guildhall has something to offer.

Their programs are rigorous and demanding, but the school generally yields amazing results. 

2. University of Cambridge

The University of Cambridge, is one of the best music universities in the UK.

Without a doubt, the University of Cambridge is one of the most prestigious and widely known universities in the world.

It’s also the second-oldest university in the anglosphere.

But more importantly, Cambridge has top-notch music study programs, including a three-year BA Music degree program.

The subjects cover a variety of relevant topics – from music psychology and ethnomusicology to general musicianship.

Cambridge students benefit from carefully crafted courses, an impressive roster of teachers, and excellent facilities.

The university houses a state-of-the-art concert hall, a purpose-built studio, a music library, and music computing laboratories. 

3. Leeds College of Music

Leeds College of Music school in the UK.

Located in the vibrant city of Leeds, this popular college of Music offers undergraduate and postgraduate music programs.

Leeds Conservatoire is ideal for students interested in classical music as well as jazz and pop genres. 

Since they’re industry-focused, they also offer excellent music production and music business courses.

And they offer a rigorous Actor Musician program for actors and instrumentalists who want to learn through devised theater, adaptation, and ensemble practice.

Most applicants are required to attend an audition or interview. 

4. University of Southampton

University of Southampton

The University of Southampton is also considered one of the top UK universities for studying music.

Their Bachelor in Music degree offers a combination of academic and performance-based learning and a broad musical education across all forms and styles.

As they explain on their website, BA music program students sing opera and musical theater and play funk guitar and classical oboe.

So, it’s a versatile study program focused on a variety of subjects as well as the development of professional music career skills.

Moreover, Southampton students have access to world-class facilities, including the Turner Sims concert hall.

5. University of Oxford

University of Oxford

Needless to say, the University of Oxford is one of the most prestigious universities in the UK.

Their reputable Faculty of Music works with music experts with the goal to produce well-rounded, skilled musicians. 

In their music courses, they implement the methods of reading, listening, performing, and composing to teach music. 

And the courses cover a variety of styles and topics, including Western classical, popular music, music of other cultures, community music, and so on.

Oxford students also enjoy performance and composition workshops and play an active part in the life of the faculty.

6. University of Surrey

University of Surrey music school.

Their Department of Music and Media offers a well-rounded curriculum and excellent learning opportunities.

Some of the areas their courses cover include composition, fundamentals of music technology and production, women in music, popular music studies, and medieval music.

The university also hosts musical events throughout the year, so students have an opportunity to perform, collaborate with other students, and much more.

Surrey students undeniably have an excellent studying experience. 

Their top-notch facilities include a concert hall, recording studios, and practice rooms.

7. Royal Academy of Music

Royal Academy of Music

Royal Academy of Music is regarded as one of the most prestigious music schools in the UK for a good reason.

Founded in 1822, the school has a long history of producing successful musicians.

Their former students include Annie Lennox, John Lennon, and Sir Simon Rattle, just to name a few. 

The academy offers music study programs in a variety of fields, including conducting, musical theater, vocal studies, historical performance, and so on.

But the Royal Academy of Music is probably most famous for its Bachelor Of Music (Honors) Jazz degree course. 

8. Durham University

Durham University

If you want to earn a degree in music, you should also check out Durham University’s Department of Music.

They have been rated as the top UK music department for four years running in The Complete University Guide.

And they are known for their interdisciplinary approach and versatile curriculum.

It covers areas such as ethnomusicology, theory and analysis, music psychology, performance, composition, and music technology. 

That said, Durham University is ideal for students who want to get broader musical knowledge and expertise. 

9. Institute of Contemporary Music Performance

Institute of Contemporary Music Performance

If you’re interested in entering the music industry, you should check out what the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance has to offer.

It’s an award-winning international music school based in London, offering undergraduate and postgraduate levels as well as short music courses. 

Their music programs include Bass, Guitar, Vocals, Songwriting, Creative artists, Digital Marketing, Music Business, and so on.

Regardless of what your career goals are, this popular UK music school will help you develop your musical identity and gain the skills required to enter the industry. 

The Institute also has excellent facilities, including industry-level recording studios, production facilities, and performance studios. 

10. Bangor University

Bangor University

Bangor University has been ranked 1st in the UK for course satisfaction by the Guardian University Guide 2023.

It’s also known for its world-leading research tackling some of the biggest challenges facing the world today

Therefore, Bangor University is a popular choice for aspiring musicians.

Their music degree programs include songwriting, composition, musicology, solo performance, and music editing. 

Finally, Bangor provides its students the opportunity to attend performances or perform in top venues such as Pontio, Venue Cymru, and Prichard Jones Hall.

How to Choose a Music School?

Choosing the best music schools in the UK wasn’t an easy task. 

There are many outstanding music colleges, institutes, and universities in the UK offering a variety of music degree programs that we had to leave out. 

But all the schools we mentioned today are widely known for their top-quality, rigorous programs, expert teachers, and impressive alumni. 

But you don’t have to opt for a top-rated, reputable school to get quality education.

Many other universities and colleges can prepare you to enter the field. 

You just need to conduct a little research and make a list of the schools that meet your needs.

If you want to graduate successfully and start achieving your career goals, choosing the right study program is essential.

Therefore, when making a list of potential universities, consider the following factors:

  • Tuition fees
  • Admission requirements
  • Location
  • Courses 
  • Student experiences 
person typing on a laptop

Once you’ve narrowed down your list, you can start checking for application dates.

Checking the deadline for each aspect of the application is crucial.

Prepare everything you need in advance, and make sure you don’t send your application at the last minute.

Most music schools require an essay, letters of recommendation, and some kind of music portfolio, and some of them require you to complete an audition.

Applying for music college might feel overwhelming, but if you’re organized and you approach the whole process one step at a time, you’ll realize it’s not as difficult as it seems.

Should You Go to Music School?

Planning to apply for a music study program and dedicating three or more years to your studies is a big decision. 

Majoring in music is not easy, and it requires a lot of time and effort.

However, if you want to expand your knowledge and improve your career prospects, applying for a music study program might be a great idea.

By enrolling in a music study program, you would gain valuable knowledge, experiences, and skills necessary to enter the field. 

Music college would also help you meet fellow musicians and make important connections.

Finally, it would allow you to explore different areas of study – although you would be focused on your field, a good music school will give you broader knowledge that will ultimately make you a more complete musician.

musicians playing violin

Students decide to major in music for a variety of reasons.

Now, not every successful musician has a music degree.

When it comes to music, talent, and skills are much more important.

However, some positions do require a music degree – some technical fields, for example, as well as some research fields like music therapy.

But if you want to be a freelancer producer or play in a band, acquiring the necessary skills and gaining hands-on experience is much more important.

It all depends on your career goals.

Either way, studying music comes with numerous benefits, and if you find the right program (and get accepted), you’ll realize it will be worthwhile in the end.

And if you’re not ready to commit to a full degree program, you can check out certificate programs, shorter music courses, or online degree programs.

Is Majoring in Music Hard?

As we mentioned earlier, majoring in music is not easy, and to get a music degree, you need to put the work in.

However, how difficult it is going to be for you depends on several factors.

For instance, it depends on your unique learning habits and previous experiences.

But one thing is for sure: enrolling in a music study program will help you build learning habits and become more responsible and organized. 

Some study programs require a lot of dedication, and they include a lot of classes, rehearsals, and performances.

But some music degree programs are more flexible and focused on the development of students’ individuality and unique musical identity.

And that’s precisely why choosing the right music school for you is very important. 

You need to be able to focus on your passion and find your own musical path.

That way, you will enjoy your studies even when it gets tough.

Best Music Schools in the UK – Final Thoughts 

The best music schools in the UK are very selective and therefore hard to get into.

But if you’re confident in your abilities, they’re definitely worth a try.

Getting a music degree from a reputable school would undoubtedly equip you with valuable skills and knowledge and improve your career prospects.

And that would only be the beginning of your challenging but rewarding career as a musician. 

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