Best Music Schools In Michigan | Cost, Requirements, & How To Apply

Because the program you choose can have a significant impact on your future, we’ve developed a number of rankings of the best music schools in Michigan, to help you choose the school that’s best for you.

Music students can often specialize in a subfield such as voice, instrumental performance, theory and composition, performance (on a specific instrument), conducting, or music therapy. Other degree options are available in musicology, musical theater and music education.

Applicants should be aware that some music schools in Michigan may require auditions for admission. To complete their program, students may be required to participate in a final concert.

In addition, graduate students may have to take an oral exam and defend a thesis; they may also have to write an original musical score.

Are There Music Schools In Michigan?

In Michigan, interested students can find music schools and programs at many public and private nonprofit colleges and universities.

Studies are offered at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels, although doctoral programs are often taught to those interested in careers in academia. Certificate programs are also available.

Except for Lansing Community College, all of the schools listed in this article are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music.

Below is a brief overview of the different types of music programs students will find in Michigan, as well as a comparison chart that provides a summary of degrees and tuition.

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What Are The Requirements For Music Schools In Michigan?

Applicants should be advised that some schools may require an audition prior to their admission. Students may be required to participate in the final concert of their program in order to receive their degree.

Graduate students may also be required to complete a dissertation and an oral exam; they may also have to write an original musical score.

  • ACT score of 23 or higher
  • SAT score of 1130 or higher
  • GPA of 3.5 or higher
  • Additional application for music college
  • A personal statement outlining your musical and educational background, goals and career aspirations
  • Auditions at a music college

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What Are The Best Music Schools In Michigan?

1.      Lansing Community College

Lansing Community College offers three certificate and three associate degree programs in music. As of 2013, there were two full-time faculty members and 24 adjunct professors associated with the music department.

Certificate programs provide students with specialized training in music technology, musical theater, or musical arts and require 12-20.5 credits to complete.

The Associate of Arts curriculum includes core courses in aural skills and keyboard harmony, and both classical and jazz students receive instruction in instrumental music or vocals.

Similar coursework can be found in Associate of Applied Arts programs, and students also take music history classes and participate in ensembles.

Future professionals in the commercial music program learn to arrange and write songs, manage a band, and use digital audio technology. Students majoring in music management receive training in accounting, business, and marketing.


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2.      Central Michigan University

On the Mount Pleasant campus of Central Michigan University, the School of Music (College of Communication and Fine Arts) offers four undergraduate and four graduate programs in music. Currently, the teaching staff has about 40 members

Undergraduate students may study music or music education, and additional areas of specialization may include composition and theory, instrumental music, piano or vocals.

There is also an interdisciplinary Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theater program that includes instruction in music theory, stage technique, and theater performance.

At the graduate level, the university offers a 30-36-credit Master of Music degree with concentrations in five areas, including composition, conducting, or performance.

Advanced students must also pass comprehensive music exams and participate in ensembles or solo recitals; individuals who specialize in music education must go through the teacher certification process.


3.      Michigan State University

The College of Music at this public university in East Lansing offers three bachelor’s degrees and ten master’s degree programs in music. In addition to a traditional music major, students can focus on education or performance.

Areas of study associated with individual master’s and doctoral programs include conducting, composition, musicology, performance, and education. The faculty currently consists of nearly 70 members, and the college sponsors more than 150 performances each year.

All undergraduate music programs require studies in music history and literature, ethnic music, and performance. Senior year requirements include a capstone course, a paper, or a solo performance.

Depending on the level of study, graduate studies may culminate in a dissertation, an original composition, a public performance, or an exam.


4.      Auckland University

The University of Oakland is located in Rochester, and its Department of Music, Theater and Dance (College of Arts and Sciences) is staffed by approximately two dozen professors and a large number of adjuncts, lecturers and teachers of applied music.

Unique to the university is the Center for Applied Research in Music Understanding, a research initiative designed to support and advance music education and understanding.

Programs include bachelor’s and master’s certificates, as well as diplomas in education, instrumental music, or vocals. At the undergraduate level, students learn about Western and world music, master keyboard techniques, and participate in ensemble work.

Education specialists undergo an internship. Graduate students pursuing a Master of Music degree may specialize in conducting, education, pedagogy, or performance. Additional requirements may include a dissertation, an oral exam, and a thesis.


5.      Saginaw Valley State University

At the University Center, students in the College of Arts and Behavioral Sciences can earn a liberal arts degree in music or music education. Major requirements for the Bachelor of Arts include topics in music analysis, history and theory, piano, and conducting.

Taught by a music faculty of 5, both majors require attendance and participation in live performances.

The curriculum for the Bachelor of Arts in Music is similar to that of the aforementioned schools, and students also take music lessons and participate in ensembles.

Education majors acquire the skills necessary to teach music at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. In addition to the teaching task, future specialists study courses in pedagogical psychology, tools and methods.


6.      Eastern Michigan University

Eastern Michigan University, located in Ypsilanti, has a Department of Music and Dance (College of Arts and Sciences) with more than 50 faculty members. Students also have access to rehearsal rooms, an organ studio and performance spaces.

The department offers both a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science program that includes ensemble work and music studios, as well as core courses in music history and theory, aural skills, and piano.

Students can also choose electives in composition, digital music, and orchestration, among other areas.

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Students in Bachelor of Music programs can major in music therapy, vocal, or performance, with the latter including specializations in guitar, keyboards, percussion, strings, or brass.

Graduate students can choose from eight master’s degree programs, including piano pedagogy, music education, composition and performance (collaborative keyboards, instrumental music and voice).

All programs require a comprehensive examination, and individual degree plans may include a dissertation, recital, or music recital.


7.      Grand Valley State University

Music programs at Grand Valley State University in Allendale are limited to the undergraduate level, and offerings include degrees in music and music education.

Students in the Bachelor of Arts program study topics in literature and theory, applied music and performance, stage singing, and keyboard playing.

In addition to completing a final project, they may also take electives in medieval and renaissance music, jazz history and theory, counterpoint, and orchestration.

Areas of emphasis associated with the Bachelor of Music program include keyboard, instrumental, and vocal. Students can also receive instruction in topics such as band and orchestral instruments, guitar, and organ.

According to Michigan guidelines, students in the music education program complete 39 credits of certification coursework.


8.      University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor University’s School of Music, Theater and Dance offers Bachelor of Music programs in 16 different fields of study, as well as fine arts and interdisciplinary degrees in jazz and music.

 Among the 14 Master of Music programs are unique studies in chamber and church music, collaborative piano, early keyboard instruments, and improvisation.

The teaching staff consists of award-winning composers, renowned scholars and former members of orchestras and opera companies.

Major student requirements include ensemble studies, musicology, performance, and piano. Performance majors can specialize in any number of instruments, such as percussion and brass, organ, piano, strings, and voice.

Teacher certification is available in the study of jazz and individual groups of instruments.

Doctoral programs are available in composition and music theory, education, and musicology, among other areas.


9.      Wayne State University

Through the College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts, Wayne State University in Detroit offers both a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Music. Currently, the Department of Music is supported by more than 70 full-time and part-time teachers.

The purpose of the Bachelor of Arts program is to provide students with minimal background in music the opportunity to develop new skills and prepare for graduate study.

Advanced music students pursuing a Bachelor of Music degree can choose from 16 specialized areas in composition and theory, business, instrumental music, jazz, and technology.

Core coursework for both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Music programs typically includes topics in composition, history, piano, theory, and technology. Students also participate in ensembles and complete a senior exam or project.


10. Western Michigan University

Located in Kalamazoo, this university offers five bachelor’s and six master’s programs in music, as well as a combined Bachelor of Arts/Master of Arts program.

Areas of study at both levels include composition, education, therapy and performance, and postgraduates can also specialize in conducting. The teaching staff of the 100-year-old music school consists of 41 full-time and 17 part-time members.

Undergraduate music education majors may focus on general instrumental or choral composition. Performance majors have the option to specialize in keyboards, jazz studies, instrumentals, or vocals.

In general, basic undergraduate courses are similar to those offered at the schools mentioned above and may include aural training, introduction to musical styles, keyboard playing, and performance.

Master’s degree programs emphasize the creative, performance, and research aspects of music, while individual programs may require field experience and a thesis.

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How Much Do Musicologists In Michigan Earn?

The median annual salary for musicology job categories in Michigan is $42,000 per year. Just in case you need a simple salary calculator, that’s about $23.41 an hour. This is equivalent to $936 per week or $4,058 per month.

Most salaries in the musicology job category currently range from $30,711 (25th percentile) to $60,936 (75th percentile), with the highest earner (90th percentile) earning $97,498 per year in Nashville

The average salary range for musicology jobs varies widely (up to $30,225), indicating that there may be plenty of opportunity for advancement and salary increases depending on skill level, location, and years of experience.

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How Do I Become A Musicologist In Michigan?

Musicology requires focus, attention to detail, curiosity, independence, time management, and long hours of research. Those with a passion for music, history, and critical analysis will thrive in this field.

Musicologists in academic institutions must have a higher education, usually at the doctorate level. However, it is not necessary to study musicology as an undergraduate to succeed in this field, and in fact, musicology bachelor’s degrees are extremely rare.

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What Are The Best Paying Music Jobs in Michigan?

Musicologists serving as professors must have at least one bachelor’s degree and one graduate degree in music and another field, usually the social sciences.

Musicologists typically begin teaching and conducting research in their field during graduate school, and this continues after graduation when they become adjunct professors or find grant funding to continue their research on their own.

The ultimate goal for most professors is to land a coveted full-time position, but others move on to careers in business, law, software development, or entertainment.

Competition for jobs in academia is high, so in addition to the appropriate degrees and credentials, musicologists need to know how to market themselves in order to stand out from the crowd of applicants for teaching positions at colleges, universities, and conservatories.

In addition, musicologists can seek employment in music libraries, archives, arts organizations, art journals, and music technology groups.

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Music Schools In Michigan FAQs

How Long Does It Take To Become A Musicologist In Michigan?

A Bachelor of Music degree is usually earned after four years of full-time study in Michigan. Many colleges require freshmen to live on campus in a dormitory, which may be more or less expensive than other housing or transportation options.

What Can I Lean In The Music Schools In Michigan?

Within this field, you can find specializations in performance, composition, history, theory, jazz studies, music production, church music, and music technology. Most of the curriculum focuses on performance, music history and theory. A Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree can be earned in four years or longer and typically offers specializations in dance and musical theater. A few institutions offer a BA in Music Performance, but BM degrees are generally preferred.

Who Is A Musicologist?

A musicologist is a person who is engaged in the scientific study of music, musical composition, as well as musical theory. He or she may teach and conduct research on various aspects of music at universities and junior colleges.


Many public and private nonprofit schools and universities in Michigan offer music programs for interested students. There are graduate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs, and people interested in working in academia often enroll in doctoral programs. There are other certificate programs.

A subfield of music such as voice, instrumental music, theory and composition, performance (instrument specific), conducting, or music therapy is often open to specialization for student musicians. There are other degree options in musical theatre, music education and musicology.

References – Music Schools in Michigan with Class and Program Information


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