Ideas for good state schools for music

Greetings all, I’m looking for some last minute state school options for my senior daughter who would like to pursue music or possibly music education. We’ve been looking at privates and would like to expand the search into some public universities for affordability. She’s not sure if she wants to do a conservatory approach that’s why we were looking at need met small liberals with great music programs. She’s a violinist but also has other interests.

Cal State Long Beach has a conservatory!

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SUNY Fredonia has excellent music and music education programs. Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam is also worth a look.


What state is your state of residence?


Helps to know location preference and these won’t be size specific but IU, Florida and Ga ( but too late), Wisconsin, Maryland, Washington, Penn state, USF, Auburn, Oklahoma, Arizona, Temple come to mind. I’m sure there’s many more.

Check app deadlines. You may have missed. Plus I’m sure not every school has every instrument etc.

If you are looking for affordability you want to be in state, at low cost out of state like W Carolina, Wyoming or Southern Illinois, or go to a high merit school like Alabama or Arizona. There are others like U of SC, Miami of Ohio, Arkansas etc but check for merit deadlines…you may be too late.


Two fine state schools for music…

University of North Texas


Two of the largest music programs in the country.

If you live in NY, SUNY Potsdam is good.


If affordability is an issue, then I do wonder what state you are from.

U.Mass Amherst has quite a good music program, as does U.Mass Lowell. At one point I had a guitar teacher who had started at the Berklee College of Music, ran out of money, and finished at U.Mass Lowell (he was paying off his Berklee debt very slowly by giving guitar lessons). Quite a few universities in Canada also have very good music programs (including the well known big ones such as McGill and Toronto as well as a few relatively unknown little ones such as Acadia).

Thanks all-great suggestions. Will investigate!! Prefer East Coast, but we’re open.

SUNY–Purchase, SUNY–Geneseo, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, Florida State.

West Chester University has a really good music/music Ed program.


@shellgirl5: The application deadline has passed for Cal State Long Beach.

Good point. Thanks for correcting this!

I think, because you said merit, you have to go in state, to one of the low cost directional, or go to those that throw merit.

You originally said public u for affordability. I don’t think you said your state yet but that’s a great place to start.

Many of the names given are not necessarily affordable unless you’re from that state or your measure of affordability is mid 50s plus.

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University of Maryland; State University of New York Stony Brook, though apparently better for graduate studies.

Numerous poster have mentioned several SUNY campuses. The OOS tuition costs for many SUNY 4-year colleges are often even lower than the in-state tuition for a state flagship campus. For example, SUNY New Paltz OOS tuition is lower than UMass Amherst in-state.

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Sorry—to correct my post, at $18,264, the SUNY New Paltz tuition is comparable to in-state tuition at numerous flagships. It is not lower than in-state for UMass, but it is $20K less than the OOS tuition for UMass. UMass and many other state schools will grant merit aid to OOS students that will bring those costs down.

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Also…some of these programs require an audition, right? Even many music education programs require one even though the bar is lower than for performance majors.

Seems like it’s getting a little late to add any school that requires an audition.


We don’t know the state but agree with suggestions for in-state, and SUNY’s are relatively affordable for out of staters. UMass costs more than a SUNY but yes, both Amherst and Lowell have good programs. I know kids who have done music eucation at U of Vermont. Most states will have an option,a nd if she does music ed, she may want to study where she wants to work if that is affordable.

Music education can also be done for grad schools if she is unsure. Has she/have you read the Double Degree Dilemma in the Read Me thread on this music major forum? It sounds like she is aware she can do a BM or a BA in music, or do music as an extracurricular with lessons while majoring in something else.

I was confused by the statement that she does not want a “conservatory approach” but wants performance or music education, and suggestions reler to auditions. By “conservatory approach” do you mean a freestanding conservatory? Programs that confer a BM are similiar whether freestanding or campus concervatory, or school of music. Is a BM what she wants?

If not, it may be better for the most part to avoid schools that do offer a BM, since the best teachers and opportunities may go to the BM students.

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Unless you go to a place like the Hartt School or Duquesne which offer music education majors good performance opportunities. But those are both private schools…and both require an audition.

That’s why I wrote “for the most part.” There are many exceptions. This issue needs to be checked carefully.