Anytime one talks about music conservatories, the talk inevitably turns to the East Coast and especially New York's concert scene. But the West Coast boasts a thriving music scene, as well - hello, Hollywood! And California is home to two exceptional music conservatories, as well as a number of very strong university music programs.
- Colburn School: This music conservatory in downtown Los Angeles started life as a small music prep school in 1950 for USC, the University of Southern California. But what began in an army barracks building went independent in the '80s, moved to considerably swankier quarters and began expanding. By 2003, the Colburn conservatory had begun offering full rides, including room and board, to all its students. The Trudl Zipper Dance Institute was added in 2008.
- San Francisco Conservatory of Music: Founded in 1917, San Francisco's conservatory moved to the heart of the city's Civic Center, a heartbeat from the Opera House and Davies Symphony Hall, in 2006. Today, a third of the faculty hail from the San Francisco Symphony ranks and its 390 music students pursue undergraduate and master's degrees. This school uses the Unified App for admissions, by the way.
P.S. If you're looking farther north, check out this parent guide to the Cornish College of the Arts, a Seattle conservatory, as well as some of the west coast's best conservatories-within-a-university programs.