Leading Music Schools in New York City


Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, I have had the pleasure of experiencing some of the best musical talent the world has to offer. From captivating arias at the Metropolitan Opera (Met) to lively musicals on Broadway, to jazz artists in the many clubs that exist, people flock to New York from all over the world to make and enjoy music. 

New York’s music scene is thriving. In fact, some of the most renowned musicians in the world have attended music school in the Big Apple. As a music school admissions consultant, I have dedicated my career to helping aspiring musicians discover, apply, and audition for the top music schools in New York, and elsewhere.

New York City skyline at dusk.

Reasons to Attend Music College in New York City

New York City (NYC) has one of the most vibrant music scenes in the world. The more I learned about music and its various genres, the more I came to realize that New York City is an accurate representation of the global music industry. On any given day of the week, there is more live music taking place in NYC than anywhere else in the world. 

Enjoy or Participate in Live Performances 

You can enjoy opera at the Met, see the New York Philharmonic perform breathtaking classical music, or catch a rock band at Caffe Reggio or The Music Inn in Greenwich Village. If you want to sing along to modern hip-hop, you can visit Webster Hall in the East Village or take the subway to Gramercy Hall. When you attend music school in New York, you get the opportunity to hone your skills during open mic nights or participate in jam sessions at one of the 15 jazz clubs throughout the city. 

Network and Make Connections at the Top Music Schools in New York City 

New York City is home to four highly esteemed music schools in a 100-block radius. The Juilliard School of Music, New York University, Manhattan School of Music, and The New School University offer exceptional opportunities to meet and network with students and faculty. If you dream of starting a band, being in the vicinity of these schools exposes you to potential band members who share your passions and interests. 

Prepare Yourself for the Future

Aside from the many good music schools in New York, living in the city, even temporarily, provides you with a highly realistic view of what your future will look like as a professional musician. Compared to Nashville, which is relatively small, or Los Angeles, which is more spread out and laid back, New York City’s music scene is lively, bustling, and packed with competition. You can count on plenty of exposure since many of the most prominent music publishers, managers, and agents call New York home. 

Pros and Cons of Attending Music School in New York 

For many years, I was proud to call New York City home. I attended New York College of Music, studying classical clarinet, played saxophone for general business gigs in New York City and in the Catskill Mountain resorts, and worked as head of admissions at Berklee College of Music for 40 years. I have experienced everything the music scene has to offer, and I have learned a lot about music schools in New York City along the way. There are pros and cons associated with any college city, and New York is no exception. 


New York City is a haven for aspiring and professional musicians alike. You can find a music venue or street performer every few blocks, giving you an opportunity to experience a wide range of styles and genres. The four renowned music schools located in close proximity puts talented students next to one another everywhere they go, and the cultural diversity is unparalleled. In the time it takes to take the elevator to the fifth floor of a building, you can hear four or five different languages being spoken fluently. 

You can find some of the finest music education schools in New York City, which opens the door to incredibly exciting and fulfilling career opportunities that allow you to work with other people in a variety of settings. If you are pursuing a career as a producer, you can find some of the best Music Production programs in New York, as well. No matter what kind of music career you see yourself in, New York City is the place to learn, practice, and evolve as a musician. 


New York City is home to almost nine million people, and with only 302 square miles of habitable space, and the multitudes of people and pace can take some getting used to. The city is gritty and challenging, and the music industry is quite competitive. Remember, very few students remain in the city where they attend college, so even if the NYC culture isn’t for you, it is not a life sentence. You can come to New York, learn what you can, and carry it with you out into the world – no matter where you go – and be a better lifelong musician for it. 

How to Decide if New York is the Best Location for Your Studies

Taking a look at the four most popular music schools in New York City is an excellent way to determine whether the Big Apple is the best location to earn your college degree. 

The Juilliard School 

As one of the most prestigious music institutions in the world, Juilliard offers dozens of different pathways to explore. These include orchestral conducting, composition, jazz studies, historical performance, instruments, and vocal arts. Musical prodigies often attend Juilliard, and alumni include John Williams, Leontyne Price, Yo-Yo Ma, Henry Mancini, and Sara Chang. 

New York University (NYU)

NYU is probably the largest of the New York City music schools. NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development focuses on music and performing arts with majors in virtually every instrument type, music composition, arts education and therapy, and more. NYU Tisch School of the Arts offers a degree in Recorded Music within the Clive Davis Institute.  NYU alumni include Wayne Shorter, Alan Menken, Carol Bayer Sager, Maggie Rogers, and David Liebman. 

Manhattan School of Music (MSM)

MSM is much smaller than NYU or Juilliard, but it offers a wide range of programs in musical theater, orchestral performance, jazz arts, composition, conducting, contemporary performance, and instruments. MSM focuses predominantly on classical music but also features jazz education. Alumni include Herbie Hancock, John Corigliano, Laura Hamilton, Dave Grusin, Charlie Puth, Jane Monheit, and Paul Katz. 

The New School University

The New School University develops students who are just as passionate about creating an equitable world as they are about music. The New School College of Performing Arts includes both the School of Jazz and Contemporary Music, and the Mannes School of Music which focuses on many genres and styles of classical music. The school even helps students find opportunities to perform and engage with other artists. Alumni include John Cage, Ani DiFranco, Robert Glasper, Frederica von Stade, and many others. 

Hire a College Music Admissions Consultant to Get into a New York City Music School 

Choosing from the many music schools in New York may seem daunting to students and parents, but with so many world-class options available – Juilliard, NYU, Manhattan School of Music, The New School, and others – the city offers incredible opportunities for aspiring musicians. I founded Inside Music Schools to help families and students successfully choose, apply, and audition for the best music schools in New York and around the US. In the last 14 years, we have helped more than 250 families and students. As I tell many students going through the admissions process, there are 52 cards in your deck, and you need to know how to play them all instead of limiting yourself to just a few. Talk to us today to learn more about our expert college music admissions consulting services, or read what other parents have to say about how we’ve helped them navigate the process and assisted with getting their student accepted. 

Founder & President at Inside Music Schools | Insidemusicschools.com

Head of admissions and faculty member at Berklee College of Music for 40 years, Steve Lipman and our team at Inside Music Schools speak music as their primary language. We approach each client contact with open eyes, ears, and minds. As the country’s premier music school consultant, he advised students from the United States, Canada, China, Australia, Turkey, U.K., Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, Japan, Israel, and Italy.