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Best Music Schools In Michigan

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Michigan is an ideal place to earn a music degree. Many of the top music schools call the Wolverine State home. So, there are several viable options to choose from. 

We’ve taken the guesswork out of finding the best music school in Michigan by compiling a list. When exploring options, we evaluated the school’s reputation, professors and staff, degree programs, admission criteria, class sizes, cost of attendance, facilities, career support services, and job placement rates after graduation. 

10 Best Music Schools In Michigan For 2020

Below, you will find a detailed review of the best music schools in Michigan for 2020. 

1. University of Michigan – Ann Arbor 

Get a top-tier performing arts education at one of the top schools in the nation. The University of Michigan offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees through the School of Music, Theatre and Dance (SMTD). You will study on the beautiful campus in Ann Arbor, Michigan. 

The SMTD at the University of Michigan also boasts small class sizes and high retention and graduation rates. Classes are taught by internationally renowned artists and scholars that can provide you with valuable nuggets of wisdom.

UM School of Music – University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
4-year / Public / Ann Arbor, MI
  • 44,718 Student Population
  • $15,558 Tuition
  • 91% Graduation Rate
  • 12:1 Student/Faculty Ratio

Degree Programs: 

Undergraduate and graduate degree programs for music enthusiasts: 

  • Chamber Music – master’s degree only
  • Composition – master’s degree only
  • Conducting – master’s degree only
  • Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation 
  • Music Education 
  • Musicology 
  • Music Performance (organ, piano, strings, voice winds and percussion)
  • Music Theatre 
  • Music Theory

Admission Criteria: 

The admissions process for the SMTD is highly competitive. All freshman applicants should meet the following criteria:

  • ACT score of 24 or higher
  • SAT score of 1180 or higher
  • GPA of 3.0 or higher (calculated from unweighted grades earned from 9th-11th grade courses) 
  • Extensive knowledge and experience in the area you plan to study. 
  • Participate in an audition or interview, or submit a portfolio 

* Note: The test score and GPA requirements for students seeking entry into the Bachelor of Science in Sound Engineering program are higher.

Job Placement: 

Performing arts students who choose the University of Michigan have access to a stellar career planning and entrepreneurship resource titled EXCEL (Excellence in Entrepreneurship, Career Empowerment, and Leadership). Students can also participate in Community Engagement programs to gain real-world experience that will prepare them to work in the field. 

Distinguished Graduates: 

  • Lily Baldwin (BFA ‘00, dance) dancer, choreographer, filmmaker 
  • Darren Criss (BFA ‘09, theatre) actor 
  • Sameer Patel (BM ‘04, music theory; MM ‘07, conducting) associate conductor San Diego Symphony 

2. DIME DETROIT: Detroit Institute of Music Education 

DIME DETROIT is an ideal institution for aspiring and current musicians who want to soar in the music industry. You will gain valuable skills and knowledge of musical foundations that are a must to thrive as a professional musician. Students also learn to navigate the business side of the music industry. 

DIME is known for its innovative music programs that prepare aspiring professional musicians for a rewarding career in the music industry. Students are allowed to study and earn a degree in an intimate setting without setting foot on an overcrowded campus. 

Detroit Institute of Music Education
4-year / Private / Detroit, MI
  • 100 Student Population
  • $39,000 Tuition
  • N/A Graduation Rate
  • N/A Student/Faculty Ratio

Degree Programs: 

This school is best for students who seek individualized attention from their instructors. Class sizes are small, and instruction is provided by seasoned music professionals who can provide invaluable insights to help you excel in your career. 

Undergraduate degree programs: 

  • Commercial Music Performance (Guitar, Bass, Drums or Vocals) 
  • Commercial Songwriting
  • Music Industry Studies

Students can also complete summer programs, short courses or take college classes for credit. 

Admission Criteria: 

DIME offers bachelor’s degree programs in conjunction with the Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU). So, you must apply for admission to MSU Denver to be considered for acceptance. Here are the admissions requirements: 

  • ACT score of 17 or higher 
  • SAT score of 910 or higher 
  • GPA of 2.66 or higher (weighted) 
  • Complete an audition with DIME 

Job Placement: 

DIME students can develop their resume and gain invaluable experience through internships and performances. They also network with industry professionals often, which gives them a competitive advantage against others who aspire to break into the music industry. 

Distinguished Graduates: 

  • Jimmy Showers (BA ‘17, creative music performance) touring guitarist
  • Max Preissner (BA ‘18, music entrepreneurship) recording artist 
  • Will Daniels (BA ‘18, creative music performance – drums) drumming instructor 

3. Michigan State University 

Michigan State University is an ideal option if you’re a musician that seeks an exceptional educational experience from a top-rated institution. Through the College of Music, you can earn an undergraduate, graduate or doctoral degree in a host of music-related disciplines. The college has also held the accredited status from the National Association of Schools of Music for over 80 years. 

The College of Music at Michigan State University is known for its nationally and internationally renowned performance and music education programs. They have a track record of training some of the top composers, music educators and performers in the nation. 

Michigan State University
4-year / Public / East Lansing, MI
  • 50,340 Student Population
  • $14,460 Tuition
  • 78% Graduation Rate
  • 17:1 Student/Faculty Ratio

Degree Programs: 

Undergraduate and graduate degree programs: 

  • Collaborative Piano (master’s degree only) 
  • Composition 
  • Conducting (master’s degree only) 
  • Music Education 
  • Music Performance (brass, percussion, piano, strings, voice and woodwinds) 
  • Musicology (master’s degree only) 
  • Music Theory (master’s degree only) 
  • Jazz Studies 
  • Piano Pedagogy (master’s degree only) 

You can also pursue a doctoral degree in Collaborative Piano, Composition, Conducting, Music Education or Performance. 

Admission Criteria: 

Freshmen applicants should meet the following criteria: 

  • ACT score of 23 or higher
  • SAT score of 1130 or higher 
  • GPA of 3.5 or higher 
  • College of Music Supplemental Application 
  • Personal statement that discusses your musical and educational background, goals and career aspirations
  • Audition with the College of Music 

Job Placement: 

Music students can access the MSU Career Services Network to Students to help chart their course to success in the music business. You will receive practical training while on-campus and participate in internships and residencies to hone your skills. 

Distinguished Graduates: 

  •  Henry Butler (MM ‘74, vocal performance) composer, musician and jazz pianist 
  •  Janet Williams (BM ‘82, vocal performance and music education) vocal performance and music education
  • Tage Larsen (BM, trumpet performance) professional trumpet player 

4. Cornerstone University 

Cornerstone University offers faith-based degree programs that are ideal for students who want to merge music with another discipline. This school is also a good fit for aspiring elementary and middle school music teachers and individuals who seek a role as a musician in the church. 

Cornerstone University
4-year / Private / Grand Rapids, MI
  • 2,447 Student Population
  • $25,360 Tuition
  • 54% Graduation Rate
  • 20:1 Student/Faculty Ratio

Degree Programs: 

Undergraduate degree programs: 

  • Commercial Music
  • Music
  • Music Education 
  • Music: Worship Arts

Admission Criteria: 

The admission requirements for incoming freshmen are as follows: 

  • ACT score of 19 or higher
  • SAT score of 1000 or higher 
  • Classing Learning Test score of 64 or higher 
  • GPA of 2.5 or higher
  • Complete a music audition 

Job Placement: 

Cornerstone requires undergraduate students to complete a music internship. You can also connect with the Center for Career and Life Calling for career assessments, professional network opportunities, personal brand development coaching, resume assistance and a host of other valuable support resources. Ultimately, you can use these tools to prepare you for a role as a servant leader.

Also, know that they boast a high job placement rate. Last year, approximately 90% of undergraduates found employment with 6 months of graduation. 

5. Western Michigan University 

Designated as an All-Steinway School, the School of Music at Western Michigan University offers a host of undergraduate and graduate programs. It’s also accredited by the National Association of School of Music. Students receive conservatory-style training for a fraction of the cost. Small class sizes help enhance the educational experience, and you will have access to several facilities to practice your craft.

You should also know that Western Michigan University is the only college in Michigan to offer a bachelor’s degree in multimedia arts technology and a master’s degree in music therapy. 

Western Michigan University
4-year / Public / Kalamazoo, MI
  • 23,227 Student Population
  • $13,017 Tuition
  • 53% Graduation Rate
  • 17:1 Student/Faculty Ratio

Degree Programs:  

Undergraduate and graduate Degree Programs: 

  • Composition (master’s degree only) 
  • Conducting (master’s degree only)
  • Jazz Studies
  • Multimedia Arts Technology 
  • Music Composition 
  • Music Education 
  • Music Therapy 
  • Performance 

Admission Criteria: 

Each year, only 31% of applicants are admitted to the School of Music. To stand out in the highly competitive pool of applicants, you should meet the following criteria: 

  • ACT score of 23 or higher 
  • SAT score of 1090 or higher
  • GPA of 3.4 or higher 
  • Complete basic musicianship exams, a music audition and/or interview

Job Placement: 

Their music programs weave career-building opportunities into the curriculum, which positions graduates for rewarding roles in the music industry. The Career and Student Employment Services center is another viable resource to identify potential opportunities in the music sector. 

6. Oakland University 

Located in the heart of Detroit, Oakland University provides performing arts students a host of opportunities to flourish. The School of Music, Theatre and Dance is also home to world-renowned faculty that mentor students and impart nuggets of wisdom to help them succeed in their studies. It’s accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), and offers a variety of undergraduate, graduate or certificate programs. 

The SMTD at Oakland University is known for its internationally recognized doctoral degree in Music Education. 

Oakland University
4-year / Public / Rochester, MI
  • 20,012 Student Population
  • $13,346 Tuition
  • 47% Graduation Rate
  • 21:1 Student/Faculty Ratio

Degree Programs:  

Undergraduate and graduate degree programs: 

  • Combined degree in music education and performance (bachelor’s degree only) 
  • Conducting (master’s degree only) 
  • Music Education 
  • Music Technology (bachelor’s degree only) 
  • Performance
  • Piano Pedagogy 
  • Vocal Pedagogy (master’s degree only) 
  • World Percussion Performance (master’s degree only) 

You can also earn a Doctor of Philosophy in music education from Oakland University. 

Admission Criteria: 

Incoming freshmen should meet the criteria listed below to qualify for admission: 

  • Optional if your high school GPA is at least 3.0
  • GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Complete an audition that demonstrates your proficiency in your instrument of choice or your voice 

Job Placement: 

The Career Services Center is available to assist you with setting career goals, resume building and interview preparation. You can also speak with staff who may be able to connect you with prospective employers. 

7. Ferris State University 

The Music Center at Ferris State University helps students sharpen their skills and prepares them for life as a musician after college. You will have the opportunity to join musical ensembles and participate in live performances. Or you can become a part of the Music and Entertainment Business Association (MEBA) and help produce live shows while acquiring training that will serve you well in the global entertainment and music industry. 

Ferris State University
4-year / Public / Big Rapids, MI
  • 14,187 Student Population
  • $13,469 Tuition
  • 43% Graduation Rate
  • 16:1 Student/Faculty Ratio

Degree Programs: 

Ferris University offers a bachelor’s degree in music industry management through the College of Business. It’s a good fit for aspiring music and entertainment business professionals.

Admission Criteria: 

The admission criteria for incoming freshmen are as follows: 

  • ACT English score of 16 or higher; ACT Reading or Math Score of 19 or higher 
  • GPA of 2.5 or higher (high school courses)
  • SAT score of 900 or higher 

Job Placement: 

The Center for Leadership, Activities and Career Services (CLACS)  at Ferris University offers career planning and skills development services to prepare you for a role in the field. CLACS also maintains a directory of internship and employment opportunities and can help you identify positions that may be a good fit. 

8. Eastern Michigan University 

The School of Music and Dance at Eastern Michigan University is designed to help you reach your maximum potential as a musician. You will learn from internationally acclaimed faculty and optimize your artistic foundation

Eastern Michigan University
4-year / Public / Ypsilanti, MI
  • 21,246 Student Population
  • $12,940 Tuition
  • 41% Graduation Rate
  • 18:1 Student/Faculty Ratio

Degree Programs: 

Undergraduate and graduate degree programs: 

  • Composition (master’s degree only) 
  • Conducting (master’s degree only) 
  • K-12 Music Education – Instrumental (bachelor’s degree only)
  • K-12 Music Education – Vocal (bachelor’s degree only) 
  • Music Performance Instrumental 
  • Music Performance Vocal 
  • Music Therapy (bachelor’s degree only) 
  • Piano Pedagogy (master’s degree only) 

Admission Criteria: 

Below are the admission criteria for incoming freshmen: 

  • ACT score of 22 or higher (average)
  • SAT score of 1100 or higher (average) 
  • GPA of 3.28 or higher (average) 
  • Complete principal instrument or voice audition and program interview (music education and music therapy applicants only)
  • Piano placement exam (piano majors only) 

Job Placement: 

Music majors can take advantage of the resources offered by the University Advising and Career Development Center to find suitable opportunities. Career coaches are also available to prepare you for job searches and interviews. 

9. Adrian College 

Adrian College offers an array of programs for musicians to continue their studies. (include degree programs) The degree programs are in accordance with the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) standards, and feature top-faculty from around the region. 

Adrian College
4-year / Private / Adrian, MI
  • 1,684 Student Population
  • $37,809 Tuition
  • 53% Graduation Rate
  • 13:1 Student/Faculty Ratio

Degree Programs: 

Undergraduate degree programs: 

  • Arts Management – Music 
  • Music Education 
  • Musical Theatre 
  • Performance 

Admission Criteria: 

If you are an incoming freshman pursuing a music degree, you should meet these requirements: 

  • ACT score of 19 or higher
  • SAT score of 940 or higher 
  • GPA of 3.29 or higher 

Job Placement: 

Music majors at Adrian College are invited to join the Music Educators National Conference (MENC). This professional organization lends professional development resources and networking opportunities. 

10. Grace Christian University 

Grace University is the perfect fit for musicians who want to work as worship leaders, traveling musicians or live sound directors. This faith-based school is also home to many state-of-the-art facilities, including a chapel, iMac Lab and studio. There are also several practice rooms that are equipped with upright pianos so you can hone your craft. 

Once you’re enrolled, you can also apply for the MWT Scholarship to offset the cost of attendance. This award is available to students who maintain a GPA of 2.5 or better in music courses. 

Grace Bible College
4-year / Private / Grand Rapids, MI
  • 1,012 Student Population
  • $20,850 Tuition
  • 36% Graduation Rate
  • 13:1 Student/Faculty Ratio

Degree Programs: 

Grace Christian University offers a worship arts degree. Students can specialize their degree by concentrating in music, technology or worship. 

Admission Criteria: 

To be considered for admission, you should meet these criteria: 

  • ACT score of 20 or higher
  • SAT score of 940 or higher 
  • GPA of 2.5 or higher 

Job Placement: 

Grace Christian University features dedicated faculty who mentors students and play an integral role in helping them decide which job opportunities are most suitable. 

Graduates of the worship arts degree program work as bandleaders, music business owners, music lesson instructors, professional musicians, studio recording artists, traveling musicians, worship leaders and worship pastors. 

What To Look For When Choosing a Music School 

Here are some factors to be mindful of when choosing a music school: 

Required Skill Level

You will have to audition and complete an entrance interview for admission into most music schools. But that may not be enough to impress the panel of evaluators. Some schools also require you to have a certain level of expertise to qualify for admission. 

Cost of Attendance

It’s no secret. Music school requires a hefty investment of your time and money. So, you want a school that delivers on its promise to prepare you for life after college as a musician. That doesn’t mean you should spend thousands more at a school with steep tuition and fees — you can get the same experience and end result by scoping out your options and choosing a music school with competitive tuition rates. 

Scholarship Opportunities

Does the music school offer scholarship opportunities? Even if they’re only for small amounts, a scholarship offsets costs and allows you to keep more money in your pocket. 

Curriculum

What degree programs does the music school offer? Are they known for a particular area of music? Do the courses align with your interests and career aspirations? Are there several electives to choose from that can enhance your knowledge of a particular topic you’re interested in? 

Professors & Staff 

Music schools that feature both accomplished and distinguished professors and staff. They can pass on knowledge and tips you won’t find in the textbook while serving as a mentor to help you navigate challenges. Reputable professors and staff can also connect you with members of their network and help you get hired after graduation. 

Facilities

The best music schools boast impressive practice facilities that are easily accessible by students to help hone their craft.  

Ready to Earn Your Music Degree? 

There’s no better time than now to pursue the music career you’ve always dreamed of. Check out music schools from our list of top recommendations, compare your options and select the perfect fit. You can enroll with confidence, knowing you will receive an education from a reputable institution while working towards achieving your career goals. 

Frequently Asked Questions: 

What level of skill do you need to qualify for admission into the SMTD at the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor?

Admission into the SMTD at the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor is highly selective. Therefore, applicants should be experienced and able to perform at a high skill level in their intended area of study. 

Is it possible to be admitted to the College of Music at Michigan State University with a GPA below 3.5? 

It depends on the pool of applicants. However, a 3.5 GPA gives you the best chance of being admitted to this highly competitive College of Music. 

Are DIME DETROIT students required to take courses on MSU Denver’s campus? 

No. Courses are held at DIME DETROIT’s campus.