Best Music Universities In Austria

Last Updated on May 19, 2022

Music is a raw expression, but through the development after the 60s, there have been technological changes in it. Now the composition of music not only needs heart but sharpened skills as well. The expertise can be polished if we learn about them wholly and solely. A degree in music is not only about performing on the stage. Music has history, composition, and theories. 

One reason why people come to Austria is to study music – mostly performance, but also theoretical aspects of it. Music universities, academies and conservatories have an internationally good reputation and attract students from all over the World.

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Bachelor of Music (BM) or Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)

Music schools see the BM or BFA degree as an intensive program that prepares students to be professional musicians. As a BM or BFA candidate, you’ll embark upon your four-year curriculum starting on day one (an important consideration for students considering transferring or changing their major). Music classes will take up two-thirds to three-quarters of your classes, depending on which school you attend.

Music schools offering BM or BFA degrees within universities will require you to take specific music and non-music classes. This pushes you to maintain your writing and reading skills and gives you an opportunity to round out your education. As a BM or BFA candidate, you’ll perform a recital in your junior and/or senior year.

Some schools will give you credit for AP or IB exams taken in high school. You may also be able to test out of lower level requirements. But in general, the BM or BFA degree requirements are lengthy and limit the number of electives you’ll have room for in your schedule.

BM and BFA music students who want to graduate in four years may have a hard time fitting study abroad into the regular school year. They should also realize that friends who are pursuing degrees in other areas may be able to start college as sophomores, thanks to high AP/IB test scores, but that the BM and BFA degrees are typically non-negotiable four-year programs.

Bachelor of Music Education (BME)

The BME degree prepares you for a career in teaching K-12 vocal and instrumental music, along with the preparation necessary to gain state licensure. Be sure to check licensure requirements in the state where you think you’ll want to work, as this may inform your decision about where you’ll want to go to school.

As a BME student, your curriculum will include a combination of music education courses, conducting, music theory, aural skills, and music history. You will study a major instrument, take methods courses, and gain experience through observation and supervised teaching in classroom situations. You will student teach, attend workshops and events for current and future teachers, and gain exposure to a host of professional development opportunities. You will also take a required number of liberal arts courses as well as music technology classes.

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Bachelor of Arts in Music (BA)

If you want to study music but also want the flexibility to prepare for a career in another field or in a field of music not addressed by other programs or departments, you may consider the BA in music degree. Approximately one-fourth to one-third of your credits will be in music, depending on the school you attend. The other requirements will be in musicianship, general education, and electives, based on your interests. Because there is more flexibility with a BA degree, you are more likely to be able to take a semester abroad during the school year, while still graduating in four years.

Bachelor of Science in Music (BS)

The BS degree is offered at some schools where the emphasis is more business-oriented. Music business and music industry majors are likely to find themselves getting BS degrees. Some schools also offer the BS for music education and sound recording technology.

Best Music Universities In Austria

The Mozarteum in Salzburg

Of course I have to start with this one, right in the centre of my hometown. The Mozarteum Salzburg (www.moz.ac.at) is responsible for many happy evenings that I spent in Salzburg as an undergrad and one of Austria′s most famous music universities. It was founded in 1841 as a music school, which was part of a society (“Dommusikverein und Mozarteum“) which aimed to preserve the musical tradition and memories of Mozart. If you have ever been to Salzburg, you will have noticed that they have done a pretty good job on that.

In 1939, the Mozarteum Orchestra branched off the music school and became an independent entity. In 1958, it was made the symphonic orchestra of city and province of Salzburg. The Mozarteum Music School was transformed into an academy first in 1970 and an Art University (“Universität für Musik und Darstellene Kunst”, a legal formality) and teaches music performance, musicology, fine arts and acting.

It is best known for its classical performance training and provides its theatre for the Salzburg Festival. A little known fact is that one specific course includes a thorough training in yodelling (it took an encounter with an Englishman in Cambridge after leaving Salzburg to learn about this myself).

Anton Bruckner Private University for Music, Drama & Dance – Linz

The “Anton Bruckner University”, (www.bruckneruni.at) as it is more commonly referred to, was named after the romantic composer Anton Brucker, a local hero in Linz and St Florian. The university traces its roots back to a school from 1799 or 1823 (surely only to piss off Salzburg′s Mozarteum), but was made an academy in 1932 and named “Bruckner Konservatorium Linz”.

In 2004, it was officially recognized as a university with a private status. Despite of the private status, which is unusual for Austria, tuition fees are lower than at public universities and more or less symbolic (200 Euros a year).

University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna

This academic institution is called “Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Wien” and teaches fine arts, acting and music in Vienna. It was founded in 1808 and prides itself for organising 950 events a year – concerts, competitions, festivals. The website also lists famous graduates. I admit that I recognised only one of them, who is related with a close friend from Salzburg…

“Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst” in Graz

This University that found the handy acronym „KUG” (www.kug.ac.at) traces its roots back to a society, the “Akademischer Musikverein”, which also founded a school for teaching music.

It lives in the Palais Meran and became a conservatory run by the federal province of Styria. In 1963, it also had fine arts in the curriculum and was made an academy, run by the republic. Only seven years later, in 1970, it was made a university and underwent some more legal reforms (like all art and music unis in Austria).

Today, there are about 1,500 students enrolled at the KUG. It has a good reputation for its Jazz department and ranks highly in “student popularity” among Austria′s Unis. This is likely to be one of the reasons why the number of applicants is constantly increasing.

Konservatorium Wien Privatuniversität in Vienna

The somewhat strange name of this institution means „Conservatory Vienna Private University” (www.konservatorium-wien.ac.at). Fortunately, they don′t teach grammar but music, music performance, dance and drama. It is the only university in Austria with a course entirely dedicated to Ancient Music, Musical Theatre and Ballet. There are about 850 students and 250 teachers at this institution.

The Konservatorium Wien is derived from a school for music founded in 1938. Teaching was re-established in May 1945, despite of severe damages of the school′s buildings. Administered jointly with a school for children′s singing (Kindersingschule) and general music schools, the conservatory was isolated in 2004. It became a private university in 2005

Best music schools in the world

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1. The Juilliard School

 Location: New York City, NY
Founded: 1905
Notable Alumni: Barry Manilow, Yo-Yo Ma, John Williams

The Juilliard School, or simply Juilliard as most people call it, is known as the most prestigious performing arts educational institution in the world, according to a number of rankings doled out every year. The college teaches students in a number of verticals, including dance, acting, and, of course, music, which it is perhaps best known for.

The school is attached to the similarly prestigious Lincoln Center, which plays host to some of the best live music performances to be found anywhere, with a focus on all things classical and opera. This option is best for those who one day would like to compose or perhaps play in an orchestra, but it probably isn’t ideal for anyone looking to create more contemporary popular music.

2. Berklee College of Music

 Location: Boston, MA
Founded: 1945
Notable Alumni: Melissa Etheridge, Quincy Jones, John Mayer

Unlike many other music programs all around the world, Berklee College of Music is focused on churning out artists who go on to top the charts and own the pop culture conversation. Many of the most successful alumni aren’t in orchestras or crafting classical compositions, but rather, they have squarely focused their musical efforts in pop, rock, and other modern genres.”Berklee College of Music produces more hitmakers than any other school in the world so if you want to make it big in the Top 40 world, this is where you need to go.”

Boston is known as a college town and Berklee College of Music is simply one of the best in a crowded area.

3. Yale School of Music

 Location: New Haven, CT
Founded: 1894
Notable Alumni: Marco Beltrami, Michael Daugherty, Matt Brubeck

Yale needs no introduction, but sadly, many people overlook the music education school as the other programs receive the majority of attention. The legendary university’s musical wing is world-renowned and not just because of the name. It has truly earned its stellar reputation and it lives up to the Yale brand, producing many incredibly accomplished musicians.

New Haven, Connecticut is a relatively smaller city without all the flash of (fairly) nearby NYC but it will be worth it when you get out of school and have Yale on your resume.

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4. New England Conservatory of Music

 Location: Boston, MA
Founded: 1867
Notable Alumni: Neal E. Boyd, Aoife O’Donovan, Vic Firth

Yes, of course, another Boston college makes this list! With so many schools in such a relatively small area, it’s impossible to avoid including more than one institution from the city on any ranking of great universities. While Berklee does get a majority of the music-focused collegiate attention when it comes to Beantown, there is plenty of room for the New England Conservatory of Music, as the two don’t overlap very much.

Where Berklee is focused on creating hitmakers and pop stars, the NECM keeps its eyes (and ears) on helping those with a passion for playing become some of the best in the world on stringed, woodwind, and brass instruments.

5. University of Southern California Thornton School of Music

 Location: Los Angeles, CA
Founded: 1884
Notable Alumni: Herb Alpert, James Newton Howard, James Horner

Founded just four years after the university itself, the Thornton School of Music is one of the oldest musical institutions in America and it benefits immensely from more than a century of knowing what it takes to craft a truly wonderful musician. While the organization focuses on styles like jazz, classical, and earlier forms of music, the school also has a celebrated program for those looking to work in the music industry but who may not be musicians themselves.

Even if you want to be on the more creative end of things as an artist, taking classes to teach you what’s happening in the business can only benefit you and this is a great place to receive such a blended education. Aspiring Music Business majors should take note of this school. USC also has strong connections to the film music industry.

6. Curtis Institute of Music

 Location: Philadelphia, PA
Founded: 1924
Notable Alumni: Leonard Bernstein, David Brooks, Lang Lang
While not specifically known as one of the better music cities in America, Philadelphia does have at least one hidden gem everybody considering going to college to study the craft should look into: The Curtis Institute of Music. The school, which is coming up on one hundred years of age, has been quietly producing some of the most accomplished musicians in the world for a long time. While you might not have heard of it, everybody in the opera field (the school’s specialty) certainly has!

It is notoriously difficult to be accepted to, as it agrees to take on less than five percent of all applicants, so you’re going to need to show them something really special if you want to go here.

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7. The Royal Academy of Music

 Location: London, UK
Founded: 1822
Notable Alumni: Elton John, Annie Lennox
If you’re looking to travel overseas when you take up your musical studies, the Royal Academy of Music may be exactly what you need. The school accepts students from dozens of countries so you certainly have a chance of going but you’re going to need to be really, really great to be included in the incoming class -— this is one institution that can afford to be picky.

The college is also connected to the University of London which can come in handy if you’re looking to study something other than music (in addition to becoming a serious artist, of course).

8. Royal College of Music

 Location: London, UK
Founded: 1882
Notable Alumni: Andrew Lloyd Webber, James Horner, Vanessa-Mae

Speaking of London, if you don’t get into the Royal Academy of Music, there are other options in that great city and the second one on your list should absolutely be the Royal College of Music. The two similarly-named universities are part of the ABRSM (the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music), four wonderful educational institutions in the U.K. dedicated to teaching the art of performance.

Only two of the four are located in London, which is where you probably want to live if you’re moving to the country for college. In addition to actually helping people become better musicians, the Royal College of Music does a lot of research into all things related to performance, which further influences teaching methods and how live events are staged and buildings are created.

9. Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University

 Location: Bloomington, IN
Notable Alumni: Joshua Bell, Carl Broemel

It may not be quite as impressive as some other schools on this list and it doesn’t carry the same reputation to one day help you get noticed by employers simply because of a famous name but the Jacobs School of Music, which is based at Indiana University, offers the greatest chance of acceptance for many up-and-coming artists. Many of the universities I’ve already mentioned only admit a small group of new applicants every year, while the Jacobs School has almost 2,000 students at any given time.

As a public university, this option is often offered at a lower price than many private choices, especially for those from the region.

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10. Mannes School of Music

 Location: New York City, NY
Founded: 1916
Notable Alumni: Burt Bacharach

Another New York City school, I know — but there’s a reason why so many of these colleges are located in the Big Apple!

While it may be difficult to make a go of being a professional musician in America’s largest metropolis, it also happens to be where the majority of the music industry is focused. Students at the Mannes School of Music benefit not only from excellent Professors who typically have decades of experience, but from being just a subway ride away from countless opportunities for internships, jobs, and places to perform whenever they like.

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