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The Top 15 Best Colleges for Singing and Vocal Performance 2023

The Top 15 Best Colleges for Singing and Vocal Performance 2023

If music is something you’re interested in studying in college, there are many remarkable colleges to pick from. The Conservatory of Music, Eastman School of Music, and Juilliard School New England are just a handful of the best colleges for singing and vocal performance.

Imagine you are studying music at one of the prestigious colleges. You’ll get the chance to learn from professionals in their respective disciplines. So if you’re a creative person who loves music and wants to develop your skills to a world-class level. Enrolling in one of the best colleges for singing and vocal performance would be a wise decision.

Typically, there are numerous ways that you can earn money as a vocalist. As long as you’re excellent in your craft, you’ll have a greater shot at penetrating the music industry. Besides, you can even opt to launch your record label as you gain influence.


To help you kickstart your career as a singer, we’ve put together this piece. This post will teach you how to start your career in the music industry as well as the best colleges for singing and vocal performance.

Let’s delve in!

Why Study Singing and Vocal Performance In College?

Lailah Gifty Akita once said; “Without a song, life is a sad tune.” Singing is one of our most amazing abilities, and music is life. Singing can also evoke a range of emotions, from joy to sadness. Hence, it’s an excellent way to communicate with our innermost selves.

Moreover, nothing beats your own singing voice. Because no one else on the planet sounds exactly like you. So, studying vocal performance in college is an excellent way to hone your singing talent to its fullest. Additionally, you’ll leave your voice in the sands of time. Because music never dies, even if the singer does.

Likewise, the Bureau of Labour Statistics forecasts that there will be roughly 20,800 opportunities for musicians and vocalists annually. Hence, if you’re excellent at your craft, there’ll always be a demand for your skill. Even if it’s not an easy task, you might choose to launch your own record company and develop your music brand.

In summary, a career in singing and vocal performance is more like you’re pursuing your passion while raking in a decent income.

Top 15 Best Colleges for Singing and Vocal Performance 2023

The following are our top picks for the best colleges for singing and vocal performance:

#1. Curtis Institute of Music (Philadelphia, PA)

Curtis Institute of Music is the first on our list of best colleges for singing and vocal performance. Typically, making money while creating art is difficult for anyone who has pursued a career in the arts. Singers require as much assistance as they can get as they advance in their careers. As a result, the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia offers its students an edge by offering free tuition to all students accepted into its programs.

Interestingly, Curtis has a relatively small student body, thus, only 40 students are accepted each year. This will make room for interactive classes and communication between tutors and students. Furthermore, students accepted into Curtis have the opportunity to work closely with the world’s best singers.

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#2. Rice University Shepherd School of Music (Houston, TX)

Since its inception, Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music keeps solidifying its position as one of the premier schools for vocal performance. Shephard is one of the most selective music schools in the country, with an acceptance rate of just 10%. Nonetheless, the school’s 5:1 student-to-faculty ratio allows professors to give students the required attention.

Likewise, the school uses its tiny size to better the lives of students rather than just as a way to enhance its reputation. Robin Rice, who has performed at important opera houses all over the world in shows like The Marriage of Figaro and The Magic Flute, is also a tutor at Shepherd.

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#3. Juilliard School (New York, NY)

Founded in 1905, The Juilliard School is a world leader in performing arts education. Juilliard offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in dance and drama programs. For many, the name Julliard is frequently used to refer to the best in the performing arts. The school’s vocal performance program has a stellar reputation, too. Juilliard not only produces some of the best vocalists in the world, but it also has an outstanding faculty.

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Among the faculty members at the school is acclaimed vocalist Robert White Jr. The Metropolitan Opera and the Chicago Lyric Opera are only two of the world’s top opera companies where White’s former students have gone on to perform. Similarly, his academic writings have appeared in publications like The Journal of Voice and The Music Educators Journal.

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#4. Eastman School of Music (Rochester, NY)

Rochester Eastman School of Music is another classic institution among the best colleges for singing and vocal performance. Currently, opera is still a challenging field to enter despite the efforts of philanthropists and officials across the nation. For many, the cost of attending a respected music school and getting the required instruction is overwhelming.

Yet, Rochester’s Eastman School of Music uses its financing scheme to take action to solve that issue. About all of Eastman’s students get financial aid in some form. Eastman distributed $16 million in financial aid in the previous year, the majority of it going toward merit scholarships.

This forward-thinking strategy has allowed Eastman to identify the upcoming opera stars. Graduates include Renée Fleming, who won the National Medal of Arts, and singer Julia Bullock, who the New York Times called “poised for a big career.”

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#5. Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins (Baltimore, MD)

The Peabody Institute is the nation’s first public conservatory and dates back to 1857. Its alumni include pop music singer Tori Amos and operatic soprano Jessye Norman. Peabody’s reputation has only gotten better when it joined Johns Hopkins University, one of the most prestigious liberal arts colleges in the country.

Similarly, Denyce Graves and other prominent operatic figures are among the Institute’s teachers. Graves gained notoriety as a leading lady in operas like Carmen and Samson et Dalila before accepting the position of vocal instructor at Peabody. Despite its stellar reputation, Peabody does not limit itself to the best of the best. Instead, there are numerous ways for the public to contact the institution.

Its preparatory institution is among the most impressive. These programs provide technical training and enrichment courses to students in and around Baltimore, to instill a love of the arts in children as young as possible.

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#6. New England Conservatory of Music (Boston, MA)

The New England Conservatory of Music is not only the country’s oldest private music school but also one of the best colleges for singing and vocal performance. Since its inception in 1867, the school has produced some of the greatest names in American opera and vocal performance, including contralto Eunice Alberts and jazz vocalist Rachael Price.

Today, the school maintains its proud tradition by hiring some of the best living singers as faculty. Additionally, NECM pushes forward with innovations like the Voice and Sound Analysis Laboratory because it cares about more than just building a strong reputation. The VSAL provides musicians with visual and in-depth representations of their performances using cutting-edge technology. 

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#7. The University of Southern California Thornton School of Music (Los Angeles, CA)

The voice program at Thornton School of Music utilizes its proximity to the world’s entertainment capital to blend the old and the new, which is one of the reasons it is ranked among the best colleges for singing and vocal performance.

Professors like Rod Gilfry are responsible for that fusion. Gilfry has performed eleven lead roles in brand-new operas and has received two Grammy nominations. Additionally, some of today’s top singers have received training from veteran teacher Elizabeth Hynes. With such engaging instructors and the connections provided by its home city, Thornton is poised to welcome students into the music industry.

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#8. Indiana University Jacobs School of Music (Bloomington, IN)

The Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University is one of the best colleges for singing and vocal performance, enrolling more than 1600 students. Students at Jacobs have many opportunities to work together and develop their creativity because of the school’s vibrant community.

Also, the school stages many operas each year, providing students with plenty of chances to polish their performance abilities. Through these shows, students acquire experience working with some of the most significant items in their profession.

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Additionally, Jacobs University’s contemporary vocal ensemble, NOTUS, is available for those interested in contemporary music. Consequently, students collaborate with music by Jacobs alumni and student composers in addition to some of today’s most interesting composers, building the school’s sense of community.

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#9. Northwestern University Bienen School of Music (Evanston, IL)

The Bienen School of Music gives vocalists everything they need to hone their craft and take it to the next level. Its supporters include teachers such as mezzo-soprano Theresa Brancaccio, who has performed as a soloist with Chicago’s Grant Park Symphony. Her work has been praised by critics all over the world, including the Chicago Tribune.

Bienen’s host institution is one of the features that distinguish it from other music schools. Northwestern has a reputation for providing a high-quality education as one of the nation’s top universities. As a result, the school applies the same standards to its music program, providing students with not only the skills to improve their art, but also the well-rounded education to make it matter.

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#10. Mannes School of Music (New York, NY)

Mannes School of Music was founded in 1916, by New York Symphony Orchestra concertmaster David Mannes. Mannes University equips its students with the technical knowledge and practical experience they need to succeed by providing them with these kinds of instructors. As a student, Mannes has access to the resources and tutors needed to create a distinctive educational experience for students.

Amy Burton is among the faculty members. The skilled soprano has sung in front of prestigious crowds throughout the world, including those present at events held at the White House. All these contribute to making Mannes School of Music rank among the best colleges for singing and vocal performance.

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#11. University of Michigan 

The University of Michigan is dedicated to educating individuals who are interested in following a range of different career options, such as singing in a church solo, performing opera, and teaching music. Due to the conservatory-style program’s location within a significant research university, students have access to one of North America’s largest music collections as well as cutting-edge audio recording studios.

Similarly, at the University of Michigan, there are nine choirs, as well as courses in performance art technology, sacred music, opera, and new music. Hence, each school year, the opera track of the school produces workshops, opera scene programs, two mainstage productions, and two studio productions.

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#12. Berklee College of Music 

Berklee College of Music is another world-class school among the best colleges for singing and vocal performance. This school offers vocal students pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Performance the opportunity to skill. 

Consequently, the curriculum provides instruction in a range of genres, such as R&B, country, jazz, and more, enabling students to try out various artistic methods.

Also, more than 350 ensembles meet once a week to practice performing abilities and methods, with interests spanning from blues to modern Indian music. Students can take part in chamber choirs, opera scenes, studio recitals, and other events as a part of the Boston Conservatory at Berklee.

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#13. College-Conservatory of Music

The University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music provides voice and opera students with the intensive focus of a conservatory on a sprawling campus with over 40,000 students. As a result, students receive weekly private lessons with faculty members as well as a comprehensive approach to the profession that includes language instruction.

Also, CCM vocal students have the chance to perform each year in mainstage opera and cabaret shows as soloists, in ensembles, and as a part of those productions. Moreover, CCM offers audition choirs for students and hosts master courses, studio recitals, and workshops for opera scenes every semester.

The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Ballet, Cincinnati Opera, and Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra are just a few of the local institutions the program has connections with. Similarly, CCM holds auditions for various national opera companies, and the school’s cutting-edge Music Hall welcomes performances by performers from all over the world.

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#14. Manhattan School of Music 

Manhattan School of Music is also another school among the best colleges for singing and vocal performance. Typically, voice majors at the Manhattan School of Music can choose to focus on either classical or opera theater training. There is a voice track available in the school’s jazz program. As a result, voice department students study aural skills, diction, and music theory. They are also required to attend concerts both on and off campus each semester.

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Aside from on-campus recitals, students can participate in collaborations with music and arts organizations throughout New York City, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New York Philharmonic, and the National Sawdust.

Similarly, the school organizes juried recitals to evaluate sophomore development and better prepare students for employment in the performing arts. Also, each year on campus, more than 70 master courses with musicians and vocalists from all fields are held, and graduating students wrap up their education with a senior showcase.

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#15. The Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University

The Voice and Opera program at the Bienen School of Music is the last on the list of best colleges for singing and vocal performance. This school is committed to teaching students technical skills through weekly lessons. If you’re looking to expand your education, the Voice and Opera program encourages students to pursue double majors at Northwestern outside the music program.

Additionally, students can participate in studio classes, master classes, recitals, and fully staged operas. Vocal coaches also offer weekly musical preparation sessions. Students are therefore allowed to benefit from performing chances in Chicago, which is just 12 miles away from college. Finally, the Bienen School of Music is happy to host guest musicians and ensembles for lessons and performances with the students.

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How do I Become a Singer?

The following are steps you can follow to become a professional singing and vocal Performer:

#1. Develop Your Singing Skills 

If you want to be a singer, you must practice regularly. As the adage goes, “practice makes perfect.” Singing and practicing regularly can help you improve your technique and stamina as a singer. Consider setting aside time each day to practice your singing. Most importantly, if you are just starting out as a singer, selecting one specific song to rehearse and master will allow you to evaluate your progress and vocal development.

#2. Take singing lessons from a trained professional 

You can improve your singing voice by taking vocal lessons from a vocal coach and learning proper singing techniques. Because learning from a professional can help you improve the volume and tone of your voice. Additionally, trained professional singers can teach you appropriate vocal warmups and breathing exercises for your singing voice.

#3. Consider pursuing a bachelor’s degree

While you don’t always need a music degree to be a singer, a bachelor’s degree program can teach you more about voice technique, performance, and music theory. Hence, look into and apply to universities with music programs that closely match your career objectives. Importantly, a music degree can give you more opportunities to sing and perform in front of audiences while connecting you with other singers in a collaborative setting.

#4. Network with other musicians 

Typically, networking with other musicians can lead to future opportunities for collaboration and singing. Hence, consider following and interacting with professional singers to keep in touch. Because 

#5. Promote yourself and your music 

People reward those they know, like, and trust. As a result, promoting both yourself and your craft is the most efficient approach to letting the public know that you can sing. Consider creating a social media profile to showcase videos of you singing. Finally, you could look for singing opportunities that your neighborhood hotels, eateries, or choirs might provide.

FAQs About Best Colleges for Singing and Vocal Performance 2023

What college has the best singing program?

The Juilliard School is the most renowned performing arts institution and one of the most esteemed faculties in the world oversees the vocal department. 

Can I study singing at the university?

Certainly, there are numerous college programs for singers and those interested in vocal education. By enrolling in any school, you can gain access to a wealth of priceless vocal skills.


A music career will allow you to pursue your passion while earning a reasonable amount of money. As a result, work will be more enjoyable. Furthermore, students interested in attending a music school will have a variety of options depending on the style of music they want to study. If you’re a talented singer who craves the spotlight, it’s time to consider launching a singing career. We trust that this article has provided you with the knowledge you require to get a good start on your musical career

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