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Best Music Schools in Arkansas

Considering a music degree from a college or university in Arkansas? There are a few solid options to choose from. 

Audio Assemble conducted extensive research to compile a list of the best music schools in Arkansas for 2020. We analyzed each school’s reputation, professors and staff, degree programs, admission criteria, class sizes, cost of attendance, attendance, facilities, career support services, and job placement rates for recent graduates. 

3 Best Music Schools In Arkansas For 2020

Below, you will find our top picks and a detailed description of what each has to offer. To find more options visit our ranking list of music schools across the country.

1. University of Arkansas

The Department of Music at the University of Arkansas is an All-Steinway School that’s accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music. Students in the undergraduate and graduate degree programs receive instruction from world-class professors and musicians.

It’s also one of the few schools in the nation that offers an online certificate in music education for special needs students. 

University of Arkansas
4-year / Public / Fayetteville, AR
  • 27,194 Student Population
  • $9,199 Tuition
  • 64% Graduation Rate
  • 18:1 Student/Faculty Ratio

Degree Programs: 

Undergraduate degree programs: 

  • Bachelor of Arts in Music 
  • Bachelor of Music with concentrations in Composition, Music Education, Music Theory, Performance, Performance with Business Electives and Performance with Jazz Studies 

Graduate degree programs: 

  • Master of Music 

Admission Criteria: 

Incoming freshmen considering a degree in music should meet the following criteria: 

  • ACT score of 20 or higher
  • SAT score of 1030 or higher 
  • GPA of 3.0 or higher 
  • Complete an audition

Job Placement: 

Gain valuable experience by participating in concerts, recitals or conferences hosted by the Department of Music each year. You can use these experiences to beef up your resume and impress prospective employers.

You can also leverage the resources provided by the Career Development Center. They offer career coaching, job fairs, special events and other tools to help you find suitable employment and get hired. 

2. University of Central Arkansas 

The College of Fine Arts and Communication at the University of Central Arkansas offers an array of degree programs for music enthusiasts. It’s also home to a performance and recital hall, auditorium, music library and music computer lab. 

You will receive individualized attention from distinguished faculty and staff. Plus, small class sizes make it easier to get to know your peers and professors. 

Scholarship opportunities are available for incoming students who exude academic excellence. 

University of Central Arkansas
4-year / Public / Conway, AR
  • 11,487 Student Population
  • $9,188 Tuition
  • 42% Graduation Rate
  • 17:1 Student/Faculty Ratio

Degree Programs: 

Undergraduate and graduate degree programs: 

  • Brass
  • Conducting (master’s degree only) 
  • Music Education 
  • Percussion
  • Piano
  • Strings 
  • Theory/Composition 
  • Voice
  • Woodwinds 

Admission Criteria: 

Below are the admission criteria for incoming freshmen: 

  • ACT score of 21 or higher
  • SAT score of 1080 or higher
  • GPA of 2.75 or higher 
  • Complete the Music Department Application 
  • Attend a live audition 

Job Placement: 

As a music major, you will be taught by accomplished faculty members who provide mentorship and guidance as you prepare for a career in the field. You also have the opportunity to participate in student ensembles and gain hands-on experience that will serve you well when you enter the workforce. 

The Career Services Center is another viable resource to help you prepare for a career in music. They have dedicated career specialists on staff who provide resume reviews, mock interviews, career coaching and job and internship search assistance. 

3. Henderson State University 

Consider the Department of Music in the Ellis College of Arts and Sciences at Henderson State University to continue your educational pursuits. It’s been accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music for over 70 years and prides itself on helping aspiring professional musicians and educators reach their full potential. 

Music majors participate in ensembles and join the Showband of Arkansas® to broaden their horizons. There are also talent-based, performance scholarships available to incoming students. 

Henderson State University
4-year / Public / Arkadelphia, AR
  • 3,551 Student Population
  • $8,811 Tuition
  • 34% Graduation Rate
  • 16:1 Student/Faculty Ratio

Degree Programs: 

Undergraduate degree programs: 

  • Bachelor of Arts in music 
  • Bachelor of Music in instrumental, keyboard or vocal education 
  • Bachelor of Music in performance or composition 

Admission Criteria: 

Future music majors should meet these eligibility criteria before applying: 

  • ACT score of 20 or higher
  • SAT score of 1420 or higher 
  • GPA of 2.75 or higher 
  • Complete an audition 

Job Placement: 

The Center for Career Development helps music major majors polish their career planning and job search skills. Take advantage of free resume and resume assistance, career fairs and interview preparation resources. 

What To Look For When Choosing a Music School

Here are some factors to consider when evaluating your top options.

Required Skill Level 

Most music schools require you to participate in a formal audition before you can be admitted to a degree program. If you meet the university’s academic requirements and can demonstrate a high level of skill, you improve your chances of securing a spot. 

Keep in mind that seats are limited. So, meeting the eligibility criteria does not automatically guarantee that you’ll get a seat in your desired degree program. 

Cost of Attendance

Tuition and fees for undergraduate and graduate music degree programs vary by institution. You want a music school that is affordable and offers rates that are similar to what you’d find from comparable 4-year institutions. 

Scholarship Opportunities

Look for colleges and universities that offer scholarships to music majors. This helps offset the cost of attendance so you can keep more money in your pocket. 


Your top schools should feature degree programs that will help you meet your educational and career goals. 

Professors & Staff 

The best music schools hire accomplished professors and staff with extensive experience in the field. Peruse the biographies of instructors to gauge their track record and level of expertise. 


Does the music school offer facilities that are readily accessible by students? Facilities can be instrumental to your success as a musician as they provide you with a space to hone your craft as you work through the degree program. 

Ready to Earn Your Music Degree? 

Consider one of our top options to earn your music degree and fulfill your career aspirations. These music schools are accredited and feature reputable instructors, small classes and affordable tuition. You can enroll with confidence, knowing you’ll receive an exceptional music education experience. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Do you need a 3.0 GPA to major in music at the University of Arkansas? 

The music program at the University of Arkansas is highly competitive, and students who earn a seat must meet rigorous standards. A GPA of less than 3.0 is not immediate grounds for rejection. However, you want to achieve this benchmark to boost your odds of being admitted. 

How do music majors qualify for scholarship opportunities with the University of Central Arkansas? 

Scholarships are available to incoming students through the UCA Foundation. You must audition to be considered for an award. 

Is it difficult to be admitted to Henderson State University? 

Henderson State University has more lax admission criteria than other music schools in the state of Arkansas. It’s still in your best interest to meet the minimum qualification criteria for admission, as outlined above.