Serious musicians look for serious music programs when they embark on the college search, whether it's at the undergrad or graduate level - and in the same way that universities are divided into tiers, with the Harvards of the world at the top, and less competitive schools lower down, music school rankings are even more extreme, with the best conservatories in the country nestled at the top of the pyramid.
Thing is, the conservatory experience may not be a good fit for everyone. For many young musicians, the better option is a conservatory or top-ranked music program on a college campus, such as Rice University in Texas, for example, which gives musicians the best of both the conservatory and collegiate worlds. These music programs require auditions, concert and recital resumes and a very different application process from the typical college admissions experience.
Every major university has a music program, of course, but some have truly stellar music schools. The key lies in finding a good match for your favorite musician's skill, dedication and passions. But too often, young musicians get so focused on the possibilities offered by New York City, for example, or Boston, that they forget that other parts of the country have marvelous music programs too. There are great music schools in the West, for example, and in the Midwest, but don't dismiss the South. On the following pages you'll find the lowdown on four of the top music schools in Florida and Texas.