My D is looking for LACs with great academics and great music, and she's very strong in both. We've researched (and visited) universities and LACs with conservatories, and while those are options, she understands and values the LAC concept as a way to explore interests and expand horizons. If she were accepted to and could afford an Oberlin or UMich for example (both high on her list), she feels that approach largely necessitates and "all-in" music focus from day one.
Her academic stats would be competitive anywhere (realizing at the highest levels its pretty much a lottery), and so she's been looking through the lists of great academic LACs trying to figure out the music opportunities there. Yes they're mostly BA not BM, and that's fine as at a non-con LAC she'd likely be double majoring (as opposed to the much more intense double degree in other arenas). Her musical talents/interests include classical voice and piano, MT (a bit less accomplished), and also she is IMHO a very good songwriter/performer in her own right (yes she's looked at Berklee and other "contemporary" or "commercial" programs too).
I understand there isn't one single ranking of music at non-con LACs, and I've seen a very wide array of LACs mentioned here. It seems one measure with at least some meaning could be the number of music major grads. When I look at that data on collegenavigator, I get perplexed that schools like Williams and Swarthmore are often mentioned as LACs with great music but have 1-3 music major grads/year, while schools like Macalaster and Colorado College are mentioned much less often yet have 7-12 music major grads/year.
So I'm taking all the stats (and rankings!) with a grain of salt, I'm still very interested in your thoughts on the significance of number of music majors as an indicator of LAC music program, and place in campus community.